With recent years showing some of the biggest temperature extremes on record, a lot of homeowners are looking for ways to stay comfortable without breaking the bank. One option that some might choose is to install a whole-house fan to keep cooler air flowing. These fans may not be right for every home, but a lot of homeowners find a significant amount of relief from whole-house fans. If you’re wondering whether one might be right for you and your home, here are some things to consider.
Whole-house fans work by creating air flow within the home, pushing hot air up through the ceiling and eventually out of a roof vent while pulling cooler air into the living areas of the house. The cooler air is supplied by opening the windows, creating a draft of air from the outside that travels through the rooms and eventually out through the fan vent. This is especially effective if you live in an area that grows hot during the day and cool in the evenings; when temperatures start to drop you can cool off the house from the heat of the day in just a few minutes by turning the fan on.
There are a number of advantages to using a whole-house fan as a cooling solution. The cost of cooling your home is significantly lower than using an air conditioner, estimated at around 1/10th of the cost. The time that it takes to cool the house is also significantly less than the time it takes to initially cool with an air conditioner. Additionally, once the house is cool you can then close the windows and the house will remain cool well into the next day.
Whole-house fans do have their drawbacks, of course. They are most effective in areas where the temperature drops significantly in the evenings, so if you live in an area that has warm nights, then you aren’t going to enjoy nearly as much of a benefit. They also can’t do much to combat warming during the day, such as from large windows or doors that see a lot of traffic, since operating the fan on a hot day will just draw in more hot air. Depending on the model of fan, some whole-house fans also generate a significant amount of noise, and in some cases may rattle or vibrate as well.
To install a whole-house fan, you may need to make some structural changes to ensure that the fan is properly supported and has vents in the attic to properly disperse heat. Fans should be installed with rubber or similar supporting materials to absorb vibrations and reduce noise from the fan. If you live in an area with cold winters, then you’ll also need to install an insulated door or cover that can go over the fan during the winter to prevent your home’s heat from leaking out through the fan.
If you’re looking for a way to save money on your home cooling, and live in an area where you have notably cooler evenings during the summer, there are definite benefits to installing a whole-house fan. In the end, though, it comes down to personal preference and the type of environment that you live in. Not everyone will be able to get the full benefit of a whole-house fan, so be sure to take the local climate and your personal temperature preferences into account when making the decision.
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