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Whole-house fans


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By Randy in Dunlap, TN on 4/4/2007


    Anyone recently used whole house fans?

Randy

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By Mark in Provo, UT on 4/4/2007


Randy,

    Glad you asked the question. I want to put one in the ceiling of the upper hallway over our great room. Today we had insulation guys in blowing extra insulation into our attic. They said they see the WHFs rarely and that they leak out warm air in the winter. I assumed one would remove the louver cover and stuff a foam "pillow" in and replace the cover for winter.

    In the summer, particularly in the shoulder seasons, I believe we could avoid the use of AC quite a bit by drawing up cool air from the crawlspace and the north side of the house. Meanwhile, you can exhaust all that hot air that builds up inside the house.

Mark

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By P in North, FL on 4/5/2007


We have a whole house fan in one of the properties we own. It is great. We don't live in the house, so we don't keep the air conditioning on. We only turn it on when we are at the house. The WHF really gets rid of the hot and stuffy air. We use the WHF for about 10 minutes, before cutting the AC on.  When we turn on the AC, the house cools down very quickly.

 


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By Randy in Dunlap, TN on 4/5/2007


Mark,

If I lived in your neck of the woods I would definitely install one.  Below is a link to the guys I'm thinking of buying my unit from. They are very knowledgeable about the product and its limitations.  You are right about the shoulder seasons and the use of the fans.  They are obviously optimized in dry mild climates but they will work in hot humid climates as well, they just don't replace AC during the summer in hot humid climates.  The unit I'm looking at is easy to install with stick framing and is very energy efficient. 

Randy

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By Mark in Provo, UT on 4/6/2007


Randy:

    Excellent website - I learned a lot. I liked the installation video, and the sound demo that gives you an idea how loud it is (extremely quiet). It is a little tougher to put in retrofit like I would, but very doable. It's just one of those things that an O-B can do more easily when they first build, by providing wiring and perhaps lighting in the space where the install happens. A normal 120-volt plug will do. Also, an O-B can anticipate the venting requirements of the unit and provide ample roof venting at initial construction. Looks like less than $1,000 will do an average house.

Mark

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By Joan in Annandale, AL on 5/24/2009


I'm planning to get the Attic Aire Whole House Fan, I'm just wondering if this easy to install. Please advise.


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By Rachal in Janesville, CA on 5/29/2009


This is something that I hadn't even considered. This product looks perfect for my needs. Thanks so much for bringing this topic to our forum!! 

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By Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/4/2009


After researching the price, effectiveness, and types of whole house fans, I bought one. The fan does not have the doors that are insulated, but it does have internal doors that are supposed to form an airtight seal when it is turned off. The airtight seal is supposed to give an R-rating of 7. I think double-paned windows are rated around R-7 to R-9.

I won't be installing it for a long time, but I am excited about its potential. I was actually surprised at the difference in power from one company to another. I settled on less power because our evenings are very cool in my neck of the woods. I think as long as I leave it on at night and then promptly close up the house in the A.M. it will work fine.

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By Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/4/2009


I haven't installed one yet, but as long as your trusses are 24" on center it shouldn't be a problem.

Right?



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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 8/4/2009


I'm in hot, humid Alabama, and I am considering installing a whole-house fan. One word of warning. In humid climates, removing the latent heat of the humidity is where most of the AC energy is expended. Even if it is a cool evening, opening the windows to cool down the house does not always make economical sense. It is often better to keep the house tight with an air exchanger running that prevents the humidity from entering the house. 

When you open the window and suck in cool high-humidity evening air into the home, the AC is going to have to work harder the next day to remove the latent heat of the humidity. To avoid wasting energy, a WHF should only be run at times (and for that matter windows should only be opened) when the humidity is below acceptable limits.


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By Arnold in Annandale, VA on 8/26/2009


I'm close to purchasing the Attic Aire Whole House Fan and I was wondering if you have tried it yourself.

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By Rachal in Janesville, CA on 8/26/2009


I bought the Airscape WHF: airscapefans.com/whole-house-fans

I bought this fan because I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and our air-conditioning needs are minimal. What I did need was a unit that sealed my unconditioned space from my conditioned space. This one accomplishes that. In the house I live in currently, every year I have to climb on the roof to stuff my swamp cooler with pillows and wrap it with an airtight canvas cover. I wanted to get away from the constant maintenance required. 

I promise that I will post if it works well or not, but that may have to wait until next summer.

My builder says that he knows of a person who installed a WHF and ceiling fans and he never needs air conditioning. 

You live in Virginia. If the weather is anything like it was in West Virginia (where I lived)  I would suggest getting a sealed fan. The winters weren't as severe as they are here in the mountains, but when it was cold, it was really cold!

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By Dustin in South Jordan, UT on 3/7/2010


Just thinking out loud here.

At work we have a "dirty" room, we call it. Buffers, central vacuum, sand blaster. We have an inline fan and 8-inch duct tubing to exhaust the air out.  We mounted the fan right below the top of the roof (the further away the quieter). Sometimes we leave the fan on because we forgot its running ( very quiet)

Anyway, they generate about 450 CFM each. A 6-inch one about 400 CFM.  

Someone threw out the figure of 1,000 dollars plus installation for one of these whole-house air systems. 

You can buy these inline fans on eBay for less than 100 dollars. Tubing is cheap (Home Depot) and would be easy to install. 

So take my current house for example. Rambler 1,500 feet up and 1,500 feet down. Very efficient, but heat always rises up. I LOVE our ceiling fans we run in the summer. So I install two of these inline fans. One in the bedroom half of the house, and one in the living quarters half of the house. At night in the summer I would probably only need to run the one by bedrooms.

It would seem you would want the air exhausting into the attic where a lot of your hot air is sitting to move it out of your attic as well. For even further noise reduction, I wonder if I mounted the fan towards the top of the attic near the roof, and then after the fan created a T juncture, so it evenly blew the air out both attic vents. I bet I could install that for less than 150 dollars.

In the winter, you could install a separate one (or run the other one backwards possibly) for blowing heat from your attic back into your home. I wonder if you installed one with a thermostat so when the attic got warm enough it blew the warm air back into your home or central heating ducts.   You probably would want to put a filter on the intake side of this one so you did not get attic insulation blown back into your house. 

When I was a kid, my parents lived in this house with a built-in greenhouse on the south side of the house (I think they call it a solarium) at the back of it. It was covered with large black pipes that would fill up with heat in the winter. Then a fan would pump that heat into the house when they got warmed up.

What do you think? What are my flaws? What am I not considering?

- Dustin

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