What is a Whole House Fan?
At the beginning of every day, you're probably already wondering how to stay cool through the night ahead, since there's nothing worse than waking up sweaty in the morning. If you struggle with this problem, then you might think about getting a whole house fan.
Whole house fans (also known as attic fans, roof vents, solar-powered attic fans, and ridge vents) are designed to help reduce your cooling costs by using efficient natural ventilation to keep your home cooler in summer months when temperatures can really rise. It is typically installed into an existing gable or you can find models that attach to the side of your home. As it starts running during nighttime hours, hot air is exhausted outside through strategically placed attic vents throughout your attic space. So where does this cool air come from?
You see, whole house fans use the rising heat of the sun during daytime hours to naturally suck fresh air into your home and then exhaust hot air back outside through your attic area. As this happens over and over again, the air in your home is slowly pulled out and replaced with cooler outdoor air through open windows and doors. This process can drastically lower your costs because you no longer need an additional air conditioning system blasting away at full strength as long as you keep all those windows and doors closed throughout the day as usual. When temperatures become more moderate overnight, whole house fans automatically stop since there's no more hot stale air left inside to remove. Not only does this allow for a comfortable sleep before evening hours arrive but it also saves you money by cutting down on the need for a second cooling system.
Additionally, you no longer have to worry about coming home to a sweltering hot house every day! If your house is running at full speed and you remembered to close all your windows and doors before going out for the night, then your whole house fan will work its magic to make sure everything feels nice and cool when you arrive back home. In fact, because of how well these fans can lower indoor temperatures without any extra help from air conditioners or fans, many local energy companies actually offer special rebates as an incentive for using them.
Whole House Fan Working Principle:
Whole house fans work by drawing in a large amount of cooler air from the outside through open windows and/or doors.
This cooler air is usually pulled in from the lowest open window or door in the room, but it can also be pulled in through any other opening such as a garage, attic, or basement doorway. This warm stale air is then pushed out through attic vents placed throughout your attic by an electric-powered whole house fan system.
The air being pushed out of these vents acts as exhaust to replace air inside your home that has been naturally heated during the day. Imagine the exhaust created by cooling down an entire room with an air conditioner - now imagine doing this for every room in your house! Since heat rises, it makes sense for whole house fans to remove hot air first before exhausting cooler outside air back up into your home's warm upper levels.
Whole house fans can be used year-round to keep homes more comfortable and save energy costs. It is best to start running them in the evening hours as temperatures cool down outside so that your home will be cooler before you arrive back from work or school. You can also turn them off during cooler mornings and evenings so they don't overwork while it's not necessary.
It is important to remember whole house fans rely on airflow and natural convection to help kickstart the process of cooling down your home - this means that you will need to open any closed windows or doors in order for these fans to do their job properly. While leaving all your windows and doors open throughout the day might seem like a great way to let lots of heat in, the air being pulled into your home is actually more cool than hot.
Whole house fans are also extremely quiet when they're on - you won't even notice them running during the day! This makes them very popular with people concerned about noise pollution or who just want to enjoy nice weather without constant background noise. Whole house fans usually range in cost from $200-$1200 depending on the size of your home and which one you choose to purchase (smaller, less powerful whole house fans are obviously cheaper). Installation costs will vary based on how much work needs to be done inside your walls before installation can begin - if there's already an existing wall vent system then expect installation costs to be lower. Bates Electric can give an installation quote over the phone before sending someone over to your house.
Whole House Fan Ratings:
Energy Used: between 200 and 700 watts (Vs 3,500+ for AC!)
Sound Level: 45-65 decibels (similar to running water)
Fan Price Range: $200 to $1200+
Pros of Having a Whole House Fan:
- Keeps your home cooler throughout the day
- Can be used year-round to make homes more comfortable and are energy efficient when compared with a traditional air conditioner, saving money on energy bills
- Very quiet when in operation (white noise) - won't interfere with conversations or TV watching/listening
Cons of Having a Whole House Fan:
- Costs and installation prices vary depending on which whole house fan you choose and the amount of work that needs to be done beforehand
- Reduces cost, but doesn't eliminate them entirely (you will still need an air conditioner for days with unusually high temperatures & humidity)
- Can't be used at all times - you will have to turn the whole house fan off during the nighttime and open your windows if it's warm outside
Whole House Fan Maintenance:
In order for a whole house fan to operate efficiently, it should be inspected regularly by a professional contractor familiar with its upkeep. Whole house fans use belt drive systems to power them so it is important that these belts are replaced once every year or so so the whole house fan can continue operating smoothly without skipping a beat. When a whole house fan needs repairs, this is usually indicative of an overworked condenser so contractors may recommend replacing the air conditioning unit as well as the whole house fan. When it's time for a whole house fan to eventually be replaced, homeowners often invest in more powerful larger fans that move more air volume and are capable of cooling down larger homes.
Whole House Fans & Indoor Air Quality:
Whole house fans do not affect indoor air quality (unlike other types of cooling systems). Whole house fans lower the temperature inside your home without reducing humidity levels unlike air conditioners, so there is no need to worry about creating the perfect environment for allergens and other irritants.
While air conditioners in a home are a great convenience, they can be a significant contributor to less than optimal indoor air quality because of the way they work. By drawing in large volumes of outdoor air and pushing it through the living space, an AC will suck in not only fresh air but also pollen, dust, and other airborne debris from outside. In addition to possible allergens, this can lead to excess humidity in the house when the AC is running - which may result in mold growth or worse.
Whole house fans address these issues by pulling cool outside air into the house before it has a chance to heat up inside. Rather than directing all of that hot air out of vents throughout your home, whole house fans pull air in through open windows and allow the incoming air to flow straight up into the attic. The hot air rises naturally toward the attic, leaving lower areas of your home cooler than they would be with an AC running.
Do Whole House Fans Help With Humidity?
A whole house fan can be part of a home cooling system, especially in areas with high humidity (Such as St Louis). Since the fans are mounted on the ceiling, they push hot air toward the floor where it enters the attic and is cooled off by the attic's own forced air ventilation system. The fan then pulls cool air into the room to replace that which was pushed out.
Whole house fans are usually installed in an open window or door but may also be installed through an exterior wall to reduce interior temperatures further.
The question for homeowners who live in high-humidity climates has always been whether using a whole house fan adds to—or even reduces—the relative humidity inside their homes compared to using central air conditioning alone. To answer this question, let's look closer at the potential effects of using a whole house fan in terms of humidity and energy costs.
In high-humidity climates, the result of running a whole house fan will be to reduce interior relative humidity levels. Homes in such climates rely almost exclusively on air conditioning to control indoor temperatures during hot weather. While whole-house fans may provide some relief from overheating and humidity during nighttime hours (when dew points are lowest), homeowners who go for days without running their AC units can expect their homes' relative humidity level to rise significantly when they do turn on the fans.
Whole house fans are most effective when run early in the evening after sunset before central air conditioners have had a chance to do their work. Once the air conditioner has already lowered the air temperature, homeowners should use window fans or portable units instead.
Whole House Fans & Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause illness or even death. To avoid accidental CO poisoning, whole house fan installations must be done correctly by an experienced contractor. The National Fuel Gas Code states that all new construction should have dedicated ventilation for appliances to remove "the products of combustion through the roof." In addition, the whole house fan must be shut off before any appliance which produces CO is used.
Effects on Energy Costs
Depending on how much electricity is involved in running them, whole house fans can cost anywhere from $5 per month (for a basic unit that operates only when the central AC system is active) up to $100 or more per month (if homeowners leave the fan turned on constantly while they're at home). If you're looking for ways to conserve energy costs, whole house fans are not your best option.
If you want to use a whole house fan but don't like dealing with setting individual timers and switches for multiple ceiling fans throughout your home, consider installing a whole house fan timer on your central air conditioning system. This will allow you to control the whole house fan with the flip of one switch, allowing you to conserve energy costs while still getting relief from the humidity and hot conditions during the summer months.
Whole House Fan Installation
To ensure a home's safety from carbon monoxide poisoning, a whole house fan installation should follow the following requirements:
- A dedicated exterior or nearby ventilation opening with a self-closing door that opens to the outdoors
- The opening must connect directly to attic space and not be covered by insulation
- It can connect at most four feet away from the outside wall of the house in either direction if there is no habitable area directly above it. If there is a habitable area above it, then at least one foot of airspace separates it from living areas. For example, if you have an unfinished attic over your garage then you could put your fan there. If you have an unfinished attic over your bedroom, however, you may not use this area for whole house fan installation.
- A whole house fan installation must be airtight, so rain or snow doesn't enter the home through the ventilation opening
- The 24-hour timer of the whole house fan must be accessible to disconnect power to it if necessary. Even with a CO alarm in the home, homeowners should still keep watch on their appliances and CO levels just to be safe.
Install A Whole House Fan System:
The average time to professionally install a whole house fan system is around 2-3 hours, but this will vary depending on how much work needs to be done inside your walls beforehand. The actual fan itself usually takes around 30 minutes but this also depends on the brand and model of the whole house fan you choose (less powerful fans are obviously faster to install). Keep in mind that noise levels will increase slightly during the day as soon as your whole house fan has been installed so it's a good idea not to have any long conversations or hang out with people who aren't used to hearing a lot of white noise.
In order for a whole house fan to work properly, you should have all of your windows open throughout the day when it's warm outside. The cool air pulled into your home from the outside is then pushed out through vents in your attic by the whole house fan installed inside. This airflow creates natural ventilation and helps lower the temperature inside your home before you arrive back from work or school at night - lowering energy costs and saving energy in general!
Contact Bates Electric in St Louis Today To Install New or Replace Your Existing Whole Home Fan (Attic Fan) At: 636- 242-6334 or contact us below.