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When Is The Best Time To Run A Whole House Fan?

The best time to run a whole house fan is during periods when the outside air is cooler than the inside air, typically in the evening, at night or early morning. This is most common in climates where the temperature drops significantly after sunset.

Here are some specific recommendations:

Evening, Night, and Morning: Start running the whole house fan in the early evening when the outside temperature starts to drop. Continue running it throughout the night, and turn it off in the morning when the outside air starts to warm up.

Warmer Months: Use the fan during the warmer months of the year, when the outside air is more likely to be cooler than the inside air.

Open Windows and Doors: Make sure the windows and doors are open in the rooms you want to cool  when you’re running the whole house fan.

Monitor Temperature: Keep an eye on the indoor and outdoor temperatures. If the outside air becomes warmer than the inside air, it’s time to turn off the fan.

Use in Conjunction with AC: In some climates, a whole house fan can be used to complement air conditioning. You can use the fan to cool down your home in the evening and at night, and then close up the house during the day and use the AC if needed.

Remember that whole house fans work most effectively in climates where there is a significant temperature difference between day and night. In hot and humid climates, they may be less effective and may even increase indoor humidity levels. Always ensure proper ventilation in your home.

Help The Planet, Improve Indoor Air Quality & Save Money

By installing and using a whole house fan you can improve indoor air quality, reduce your homes carbon footprint and save money on AC bills.

Energy Efficiency: Whole house fans provide a cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative to air conditioning. They work by pulling cool air from outside and exhausting hot air from the house, creating a natural breeze that cools the interior. Compared to air conditioners, whole house fans consume significantly less energy, reducing the demand for electricity and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions associated with power generation.

Reduced Air Conditioning Usage: By using a whole house fan during cooler parts of the evening, night or early morning, you can lower the temperature inside your home without relying on air conditioning. This reduces the need for air conditioners, which are energy-intensive appliances. By reducing your air conditioning usage, you can decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to the conservation of energy resources.

Improved Indoor Air Quality: Whole house fans can help improve indoor air quality by continuously ventilating the house. They help to expel stale air, pollutants, and odors from the home and replace them with fresh outdoor air. This natural ventilation process can reduce the reliance on artificial air fresheners or chemical-based air purifiers, which can have environmental impacts.

Decreased Use of Refrigerants: Air conditioners rely on refrigerants, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. HFCs contribute to climate change when released into the atmosphere. By utilizing whole house fans and minimizing air conditioner usage, you reduce the need for refrigerants and indirectly help in reducing their environmental impact.

Utilization of Renewable Energy: If your home is equipped with solar panels or other renewable energy systems, you can power your whole house fan using clean energy. By utilizing renewable energy sources, you further reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of whole house fans may vary depending on the climate, weather conditions, and insulation levels in your home. They are most effective in regions with cooler evenings, nights and mornings, where the outside temperature drops significantly compared to the inside temperature.

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Can a whole house fan improve indoor air quality?

Yes, a whole house fan can improve the indoor air quality of a home.

When a whole house fan is turned on, it pulls air in from open windows and doors and exhausts stale, dirty air out through the attic or roof vents. This process helps remove pollutants, allergens, and other contaminants from the air in your home, which can improve indoor air quality.

Indoor air is typically more stagnant and contaminated than outdoor air, especially in homes that are poorly ventilated. Indoor air can contain a variety of pollutants, including mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, paints, and other household chemicals. Exposure to these pollutants can cause or exacerbate respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.

With the average person spending up to 90% of their time indoors, indoor air quality can have a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing. By taking steps to improve indoor air quality, you can reduce the risk of respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues associated with poor indoor air quality. Ultimately, by prioritizing indoor air quality, you can create a healthier and more comfortable living space for you and your loved ones.

How to choose the correct whole house fan?

When choosing a whole house fan, there are several factors to consider:

Size: The size of the fan should be determined by the size of your home and the amount of ventilation in your attic. A fan that is too small will not be effective, while a fan that is too large may cause over pressurization issues in the attic.  At a minimum, you want one CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) for every square foot of living space.

Motor: A fan with a high-quality motor such as a Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motor will be more efficient and durable.

Noise level: Some whole house fans can be quite loud, so you want to choose one that is quiet enough to be used without disturbing your sleep or daily activities. Look for ducted whole house fans with a low decibel (dBA) rating of 51 or less.

Energy efficiency: Look for fans that are energy efficient. Traditional or older style whole house fans can use more than a kilowatt (1000 watts) of power, while the new ducted style fans can use significantly less energy.  This will help you save money on your energy bills.

Installation: Consider the ease of installation. The newer ducted style whole house fans are designed to fit within most ceiling joists (16” on center or larger).

Controls: Look for fans with remote controls or wall-mounted controls for easy operation. A remote control will eliminate the need to run wires down the wall, making for an easier installation. It will also make the fan more convenient to use.

Brand and warranty: Choose a reputable brand and make sure the fan comes with a good warranty.

Overall, it’s important to choose a whole house fan that is appropriate for the size of your home, has a high-quality motor, is energy efficient, and is easy to install and operate.

A photo of a CentricAir 1.5 whole house fan on its damper box

Are whole house fans cheaper to run than air conditioning?

Yes, running a whole house fan is generally less expensive than running an air conditioning system. Whole house fans pull in cool outside air through open windows and exhausts hot indoor air through the attic or roof. They work by creating a draft of air that can cool down your home, especially during the evening, nighttime or early morning when temperatures are cooler.

In contrast, air conditioning systems cool the air by removing heat and moisture from the indoor air. They require electricity to run compressors, fans, and other components, which can result in significantly higher energy bills.

The exact cost savings will depend on various factors such as the size of your home, the efficiency of your cooling system, and local climate conditions. However, in general, whole house fans can save you up to 50-90% on your cooling costs compared to running an air conditioning system.

In summary, if you live in a region with mild to moderate temperatures and humidity, using a whole house fan can be an effective and economical way to cool your home. Not only does it reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills, but it also provides a natural and refreshing way to ventilate your indoor spaces. Ultimately, the choice between a whole house fan and air conditioning will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Is spring a good time for a whole house fan?

As the weather starts to warm up in spring, many homeowners begin to think about ways to keep their homes cool and comfortable without relying solely on air conditioning. One popular option for cooling a home during the spring is a whole house fan. Whole house fans work by drawing cool fresh air from outside into the home and exhausting the hot stale air from inside, providing a natural and energy-efficient way to cool your home. However, whether or not spring is a good time to use a whole house fan depends on a variety of factors, such as your local climate, your home’s ventilation, and your personal preferences.

In many parts of the country, spring temperatures are mild, and the weather is pleasant, making it an ideal time to use a whole house fan. If you live in an area where temperatures are not too hot or humid, and you enjoy fresh air, then a whole house fan can be an energy-efficient and cost-effective way to cool your home.

However, if you live in an area where spring temperatures are still too cold or too hot, or the humidity is high, then a whole house fan may not be the best option. In these cases, you may need to rely on other forms of cooling, such as air conditioning or a heat pump, until the weather becomes more suitable for using a whole house fan.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use a whole house fan in the spring will depend on your specific climate and your personal preferences. It’s a good idea to consult with a whole house fan professional to determine if it is a good solution for your home.

EPA supports whole house fans to help protect against COVID 19

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whole house fans can help protect people indoors from airborne transmission of COVID-19 because they increase ventilation with outside air to cool indoor spaces. When used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating a whole-house fan can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family.


How Does A Whole House Fan Save Money?

A whole house fan can save you money in several ways:

Energy savings: A whole house fan uses much less energy than an air conditioning unit, so it can significantly reduce your energy bills. While an air conditioning system consumes up to 90% more electricity than a whole-house fan, it only cools the house, while a whole-house fan also brings fresh air and lowers the temperature.

Reduced AC usage: By using a whole-house fan in the evening or at night when the temperatures outside are cooler than inside the home, you can cool down your home without using your air conditioner, which means you can use your AC less often, and for shorter periods of time, when it’s absolutely necessary.

Increased comfort: A whole-house fan can also improve your comfort level by reducing the temperature and improving the air quality in your home, without relying solely on your AC. This means you’ll feel more comfortable, even when the AC is off or set at a higher temperature.

Longer lifespan for your AC unit: Using a whole-house fan can reduce the workload on your air conditioning system, which can extend its lifespan and reduce the frequency of repairs or replacement.

Overall, a whole-house fan can save you money on your energy bills, increase your comfort, and extend the life of your air conditioning system, making it a smart investment for homeowners who want to save money and improve the quality of their indoor air.

What is the return on investment for a whole house fan?

A whole house fan can be a cost-effective solution for reducing energy consumption and maintaining a comfortable indoor environment during the warmer months. However, homeowners may be hesitant to invest without knowing the potential return on investment for a whole house fan. The ROI for a whole house fan can vary depending on a number of factors, including the cost of the fan and installation, the energy savings it can provide, and the climate of the area.

A whole house fan can provide a significant energy cost savings during the warmer months of the year, by reducing the need for air conditioning. The energy savings can be significant, especially in areas where air conditioning is used frequently. The initial cost of a whole house fan can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the size and features of the fan.

Assuming an average cost of $2,400 for the fan and installation, and energy savings of $400 per year, the return on investment for a whole house fan would be about 17% per year. This means that it would take approximately six years for the energy savings to pay for the cost of the fan and installation. However, the ROI could be higher or lower depending on the specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that ROI is just one factor to consider when deciding whether to install a whole house fan. Other factors to consider include the climate of the area, the size of the home, and the homeowner’s energy usage patterns. Additionally, a whole house fan may not be effective in humid or climates that remain hot at night, so it’s important to consider whether it is a good fit for the specific location.

A decorative image showing a house made of $100 bills.

What is the difference between a whole house attic fan and an attic fan?

Attic fans are a common solution for reducing heat buildup in attics, particularly during hot summer months. They are designed to cool the attic space and improve air circulation. There are two main types of attic fans – the traditional attic fan and the whole house attic fan. While both types of fans serve a similar purpose, there are some key differences between them that are important to consider when deciding which type of fan is best for your home. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between a whole house attic fan and an attic fan.

A regular attic fan is a standalone unit that is installed in the attic and is used to ventilate that space specifically. It helps to remove hot air and moisture from the attic, which can help to prevent damage to the roof and insulation, as well as reduce the overall temperature of the attic.

On the other hand, a whole house attic fan is installed in the ceiling and vents into the attic.  It is designed to regulate the temperature in the entire house, not just the attic. When the fan is turned on and the windows are open, it pulls cool fresh air from outside and forces the hot air from the interior of the house by pushing it outside through the attic and attic vents. This can help to reduce the overall temperature in the house and reduce the load on air conditioning systems, leading to energy savings.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between a whole house attic fan and an attic fan is important in determining the most appropriate solution for your home. A traditional attic fan is good for cooling the attic space only and improving air circulation, while a whole house attic fan is designed to cool both the attic and living space and is most effective in dry climates that have cool evening, night or morning temperatures. When deciding which type of fan to install, consider your climate, the size of your attic, and your cooling needs.