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What Is a Whole-House Fan and How Does it Work?

Posted by Air Health on Jun 21, 2021

Are you trying to keep your family comfortable at home this summer while also keeping a lid on energy bills? Running the air conditioner 24/7 in hot weather can really put the pressure on your wallet. But going without can put an even bigger strain on your family’s comfort and happiness.

Air Health is committed to helping everyone breathe easier with cool, clean air that’s easy, stress-free and affordable. Our whole house fans offer a simple solution to cooling your home more efficiently for lower energy use that keeps you out of the hot seat.

Thinking about Whole House Fan Options

Our experts answer these questions:

  • What is a whole-house fan?
  • How does a whole-house fan work?
  • Why choose a house fan when I have air conditioning?
  • Which fan is right for my home?

What Is a Whole House Fan?

At its simplest, a whole house fan is an electric fan system that helps cool and circulate all the air in your entire house. It differs from an air conditioning unit in that it does not include any refrigerant or coolant chemicals. Because of this and a lower overall electrical usage profile, whole-house fans are often a much more cost-effective way of cooling your home. A house fan can be used as a home’s sole means of cooling, or it can be used in tandem with your current system, like an air conditioner or supplemental fan system. The effectiveness of one of these fans depends on many factors, including the home’s floorplan and the size of the fan.

How Does a Whole-House Fan Work?

The fan is generally installed in the attic in a centrally located spot in the home. The process works overnight by drawing in cool outside air through open windows into your home’s living spaces. Simultaneously, the warmer air inside your home is displaced and sent up to the attic. Many homeowners choose to add an attic fan, as well, whose purpose is to blow accumulated hot air out of the home’s uppermost level through a ceiling vent. While a whole-house fan can provide up to 30 air changes per hour throughout your home, an attic fan supports efficiency by further reducing overall temps in the home.

Why Choose a House Fan if I Have Air Conditioning?

Cooling a home in Vermont is very different from cooling a home in Texas. And wherever you live, the climate and seasonal patterns dictate what your home needs for maximum comfort with minimum impact your power bill. In more temperate climates that experience shorter summer hot spells, a whole-house fan might be sufficient for year-round comfort. Hotter climates generally demand a more layered approach between your AC system and a fan. When the nights provide relief from sizzling daylight temps, a whole-house fan makes great sense by using the principle of Free Cooling to remove stale, warm air from living spaces and replace with fresh night air. This pre-cooled air gives the air conditioner a nice break and gives you a nice break from paying the bills associated with running the AC unit. Running the fan is more efficient at maintaining a cooler indoor climate, rather than working hard to chill down hot, steamy air. Matter of fact, a fan can save up to 90% of the cost of running the AC unit.

Whole House Fan for Family

Which Fan Is Right for My Home?

Choosing the right fan for your home may seem complicated. We simplify the decision with our whole-house fan calculator that boils it down to air flow based upon certain factors of your home. Once you enter your home’s square footage and ceiling height, our calculator generates a Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) number you can use to select the appropriate fan for your needs. Plus, there are options for fans based upon budgets. We have a cost effective fan (Cascade) that offers great efficiency and longevity and another fan (Everest) that offers even greater efficiency and longevity. 

Remember to consider how to use a whole-house fan together with other cooling methods, like your home’s attic fan or air conditioner. Also you want to consider adding a home air purifier either in the duct work or as a stand-alone portable unit which can create a healthier space for your whole family to live, work and breathe.

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