Whole House Fan vs. Attic Fan

It’s here! I’m referring to the Philadelphia Regions first heat wave of 2013. In the last few days, I’ve heard from two customers asking if a whole house fan will help cool the house and shrink their energy costs. I’m going to be estimating these jobs tomorrow but there is information to share about the benefits of a whole house fan.

The concept of the whole house fan is not new, it’s been around for decades but improvements in technology has made them much more useful than you may remember. It is important to distinguish a whole house fan from an attic fan, as many consumers get them confused. There is also a big difference between AC and a whole house fan but they work together nicely.
Think of air conditioning as a closed system, where air is drawn into the unit, chilled with a refrigerant and returned to your home at a lower temperature. A whole house fan pulls air from outside through the open windows and doors, draws it into your attic and leaves it there to be pushed back outside. Consider that whole house fans:

  • Typically cost pennies to the dollar vs. AC in electricity
  • Newer whole house fans evacuate hot air out of your attic, making your home cooler longer
  • Many people prefer the fresh air generated by a whole house fan vs. the AC air
  • There are some energy companies who will provide rebates for whole house fans

An attic fan affects only the air in the attic. Attic fans are sometimes called gable or eave fans but either way they’re designed for daytime use. They draw air from the attic vents and push that air back through other attic vents. Attic fans simply circulate the air in the attic and do little to cool the attic air.
A whole house fan system will draw air from your opened windows and doors into your home. It will then disperse this air through the attic. Typically the attic air will be 200 hotter than the air inside your home. Based upon historical data found on wunderground.com, the night-time air outside of your home is about 200 cooler than the air in your home. By bringing in the cool fresh air into your home and up through the attic, a whole house fan can cool your home and your attic.

In considering a whole house fan, consider the size of your home, the noise level you can handle and the budget you’ve allotted for the project. There are fans that can meet any budget but the quieter fans made today are smaller, energy efficient and deliver the airpower necessary to cool your home.

Warmer temperatures are here and have you taken a look at your electric bill! Whole house fans are an investment worthy of your consideration. A whole house fan may be the most cost effective way to cool your home.

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