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 whole-house fan when I have air conditioning?
  • Which whole-house 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 cost-effective way of managing climate control. A whole-house fan can be used as a home’s sole means of cooling, or it can be used in tandem with other systems, like an air conditioner or supplemental fan system. The effectiveness of a whole-house fan depends on many factors, including the home’s floorplan and the size of the fan.

How Does a Whole-House Fan Work?

A whole-house fan is generally installed in ductwork in a ceiling that is centrally located 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 Whole-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 utility use. 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. When the nights provide relief from sizzling daylight temps, a whole-house fan makes great sense by using the principle of Free Cooling to jettison stale, warm air from living spaces. This pre-cooled air gives the air conditioner a break and makes it more efficient at maintaining a cooler indoor climate, rather than working hard to chill down hot, steamy air.

Whole House Fan for Family

Which Whole-House Fan Is Right for My Home?

Choosing the right whole-house fan for your home may seem complicated. We simplify the decision with our whole-house fan calculator that boils it down to air flow. 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. 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 consider how adding a home air purifier can create a healthier space for your whole family to live, work and breathe.

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