Attic followers versus air-con – Information – ThisWeek Neighborhood Information

Whole house fans (AKA roof fans) were first used in the USA a century ago, but fell out of favor as air conditioning became more widespread. Now homeowners take a second look at this method of home cooling, which, in addition to some disadvantages, also offers a number of advantages. Let’s compare the roof fan to the air conditioner so that you can make an informed decision.

How does an attic fan work?

First, a brief introduction to the operation of the entire house / roof fan. To begin with, a powerful fan, usually in the attic (surprise, surprise), is installed over a grille in the floor in the approximate center of your house. You turn this fan on at the end of the day when the outside air drops below the inside temperature. Open multiple windows on the ground floor at the same time. The fan draws cool outside air into the house and releases hot inside air through the roof vents. When the outside air warms up in the morning, turn off the fan and close the windows to stay cool.

By the way, don’t confuse attic fans with powered attic fans. Powered to vent hot air from the attic, powered attic fans often pull conditioned air upstairs from the lower floors (where you want it) to the attic (where you don’t want it). They also have a strong tendency to withdraw fuel-burning devices, which creates the risk of carbon monoxide in your home. These devices have proven so energy efficient and potentially dangerous that they are actually banned in the state of Georgia.

Fan vs. Air conditioning: cooling capacity

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A whole house fan can cool a hot house faster than an air conditioner. You don’t need to leave your fan on all day as recommended for your air conditioner (although the air conditioner can be set to a higher temperature if you are away from the house for more than several hours). However, the entire house fan only works effectively when the outside air cools down at night to a temperature that is significantly lower than the inside air.

The air conditioning works regardless of the air temperature. In addition, your air conditioner has a dehumidifying component that will help your house feel cooler.

Fan vs. Air conditioning: energy efficiency

On average, a roof fan uses an impressive 90 percent less electricity than an air conditioner to cool a home, which means your utility bills are likely to be significantly lower. Talk to a local HVAC professional about optimizing the use of roof fans in your area. For example, if you live in a city like Jacksonville, Florida, with its extremely hot and humid summers, your roof fan can replace air conditioning in the spring and fall (saving you energy and money) while you rely on air conditioning. C system from June to September.

Fan vs. Air conditioning: indoor air quality

Fresh air is drawn in through your open windows and circulated throughout the house by an entire house fan. However, if the local outside air quality is poor – for example, due to high allergen levels, heavy traffic nearby, or forest fires – air conditioning is preferable, especially if someone in your family has allergies or other breathing problems.

Fan against air conditioning: maintenance

To keep your entire house fan clean and smooth, wipe the blades occasionally (please turn off the power beforehand). Maintenance of the air conditioning system is more time consuming: changing the filter, cleaning the condenser and evaporator coil, etc.

Fan against air conditioning: costs

The purchase and installation of an entire home fan range from approximately $ 700 to $ 1,500. The cost of buying and installing central air conditioning (for a house that is already piped) ranges from $ 5,000 to $ 7,000. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the expected life of an entire home fan is 15 to 25 years compared to 7 to 15 years for the central air conditioner.

Disadvantages for whole house fans

Before you buy a whole house fan, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of. In addition to the above limitations in very hot climates, installing an entire house fan requires cutting a hole in the ceiling, which must be closed and well insulated in winter. There is also the risk that fuel-burning devices such as gas-powered water heaters or wood-burning stoves will be tightened.

– Laura Firszt writes for

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