Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I told you I had questions!! The old house we moved into has a whole house fan, circa 1991. We have central air as well with that unit being about 7 years old. Not sure which came first or what may be a replacement of what, all it means to me is that we have options.
My stepfather was thrilled when he heard about the house fan. He had such great memories of the one in his house when he was a young'n and excitedly told me to only open one window on the first floor and letter rip with the fan on the top floor. Yea, well, I didn't get the excitement. All I got was noise. I've tried various schemes such as all the windows open, some open. I've tried using it only after the sun has really set. I've also heard that it's not helpful unless the outside temp is below 78.

Does anyone have a house fan and is able to use it successfully? Please tell us what we're doing wrong! We're almost ready to rip it out so we can use the hole as attic access (the second floor supplies are up there, so we would have good reason).

Thanks!! Stay tuned for my next question tomorrow!!

:D
 

·
Original recipe!
Joined
·
14,044 Posts
Whole house fans are wonderful. One great way to use them is to pull cool early morning air into your home and then close the house up for the day. If you have a basement that is dry and funky smell free..you can use the house fan to pull basement air up into the house during the day. It will please you more in the fall as the days get crisper. I don't know if the newer ones pull as hard, but the one we had twenty years ago would pull the papers off of tables all over the house. If we lived in cooler climes, I would have one now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
I have a whole house attic fan and do indeed use it so successfully that I haven't used my central air-conditioning since 1997. I typically open two windows, one open pretty much all of the way and the other open just a couple of inches. You can also open several just a tad so that air is pulled into the entire house from different rooms and directions. I pull in air from the north side only because it is shaded and cooler.

Does your fan draw air at all? Is the location it vents to freely open in order to expel the air easily? Perhaps there is something blocking the screens of attic vents such as webs, insulation fibers, or other material.

Perhaps your fan is simply sized wrong and is too small to do the job adequately.

Is it the direct drive model or a belt drive unit? The typical belt drive unit is larger and moves much more air. It is also much quieter. Personally I'd rather do without than to have a noisy fast turning direct drive unit.
 

·
writing some wrongs
Joined
·
6,873 Posts
We have one, and it works great! We leave all the windows open while it's running. As soon as we turn it on, there's a great WHOOSH of air flowing through! It's wonderful.

I don't know what's wrong with yours...as Windy said, maybe it doesn't vent properly or is too small. But I do have a tip.

If you have a woodstove or a fireplace, don't do what your stepfather said and just open one window while the whole house fan is on. Also make sure all the flues, doors, etc. are shut and you might even want to have the chimney cleaned before using the fan in the springtime. Trust me on this one. A friend of our family did this once, turned it on with the flue open and not enough open windows, and covered the basement family room in soot! When ours is running, even with our fireplace insert shut properly, the lower level smells like a campfire. Not a bad aroma, I guess, but I'd prefer not to smell it in July. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,285 Posts
Try shutting all the doors to your unused rooms. Make sure your outside doors are shut. Of course you want to make sure that all doors are open that lead to the fans location as that it has to be able to pull air out of the house. Now open the windows in the room your going to be in about 5 or 6 inches. There should be a breeze coming in.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,285 Posts
jerzeygurl said:
i wonder tho, the size of that fan is bigger than the ac fan, do they actually save much money when they run
Sure it saves money. The main cost of an air conditioner is when the condenser turns on to make the cold air. In addition the long term maintinence cost are cheaper with a fan because they have less parts and are cheaper to fix or replace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,076 Posts
jerzeygurl said:
i wonder tho, the size of that fan is bigger than the ac fan, do they actually save much money when they run
My current electric bill for my entire electrical usage is $26.12 for 272 KWH for the month. That is up from last month by about $4.

Typically my whole house fan is running 12 hours each night bringing in cool air which in turn cools the thermal mass of the house and contents. When the house is closed up in the morning the thermal mass begins pulling heat from the interior air so that it remains cooler and more comfortable. Too bad that it wouldn't also remove humidity from showering and cooking.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,296 Posts
DO these as implied just put air up into the attic? I "whole house fan" just by putting 2' square box fans into 2 (3 might be better but only have two fans) windows upstairs and opening as many windows as I can downstairs once the temp is 70 or below (can only do this when it is not so humid outside that going from 80 F and dry inside courtesy of the AC feels worse than 70 or whatever and 90% humidity we get the house to with outside air).

As travln says I bet there is not enough air movement if it just goes into the attic.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,825 Posts
We have one in our upstairs hallway at the top of the stairs. We love it and wouldn't be able to sleep up there at night with out it as we do not have central A/C. Open the windows and it pulls volumes of air through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I have quickly read most of everyone's responses to my question and really appreciate all of the advice. The fan is a direct drive, good and noisy!! It vents into the attic, and yes, I have often thought that the attic vents to the outside might not be large for the fan. Only thing is, I have no other attic access other than taking the fan out of the ceiling! We've only lived here for less than two years and are working on projects one by one. We have often discussed taking the fan down so we can familiarize ourselves with the attic as well as with the AC supply. Until we get into that, I will try some of your methods to see if I can get any better results. Maybe I just haven't given the fan enough of a chance? Aside from chickenista using hers in the morning, do any of you run the fan in the late afternoon or do you wait until the sun has gone down? I've only really run it around 5pm and since I don't seem to notice a difference, the noise gets to me and I give up.

Thanks.

-Taratunafish
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,812 Posts
okies I gotta question too, our house we bought last year has a whole house fan and it has been boarded up BUT it comes on you can hear it come on when you turn the switch, anyhoo it is in a hall right in front of the bathroom, where the hotwater heater is and I am wondering if it would cause the pilot light to go out and that is why it was boarded up...so would it cause the pilot light on the water heater to go out if the fan was running??
 
Joined
·
6,651 Posts
chickenista said:
Whole house fans are wonderful. One great way to use them is to pull cool early morning air into your home and then close the house up for the day. .
this is what I do at my business. I have a large dairy barn exhaust fan installed in the back wall.

I own another large exhaust fan at home that I bought from a dairy going out of business. I want to put it in as a whole house fan, but I dont know how to seal it closed for winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
When we had one we always used it with the window open on the shaded side of the house. After dark just waht ever room we were in. We have talked about putting one in our current home but have enough other projects for the time being:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
They are great to have. In order for it to work right, you must have good, cool inlet air (like after 6:00pm to 8:00 am) and enough attic gable vents to exhaust the air pushed through the attic. You only need to run it for a few minutes to cool the house down. Basically it pushes all the air in the attic that has been heated all day out into the outside, so it won't heat up the upstairs all night long, and then it draws cooler air from outside into the living space so the inside matches the outside temp. In order to be useful you need to have a climate that has temp drops into the lower 70s at night, in order to get the cooler air to draw into the house. Also, it helps to raise the window/open door in the most shaded/coolest northern side of the house so that you are pulling in the coolest air outside. If you run it about 6-7 in the morning it will really cool down the house and attic, then shut everything up for the day.

I would say that the exhaustion of hot attic air is the biggest benefit of the fan, then the cooling of the inside air. Because if the hot attic air stays there all night long it will be 2-3 in the morning before it cools down enough to stop heating up the upstairs rooms. So make sure you have enough attic gable vents to allow the air to leave, as many times people cover the vents up with vinyl siding, etc.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top