Whole House Fans – Everything You Need to Know
Although whole house fans are not as well-known as air conditioning units, they have many advantages that are causing them to gain popularity today.
Whole house fans are very simple in concept, yet they can have a significant impact on both the temperature of your home and your energy cost because of the way they are designed and built. Rather than cooling the air in your home, they work by moving cool, fresh air from the outside in.
There are several different types of whole house fans on the market, and deciding which one best suits your needs can be challenging. To help you understand more about whole house fans, we have created a complete guide to the best whole house fans, as well as answers to other commonly asked questions about the product.
Best Whole House Fans
Below is a list of some of the best whole house fans for your reference. To achieve the best results, choose the brand that addresses your particular needs.
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QuietCool Whole House Fan
The QuietCool QC CL-1500 provides whole-house ventilation by delivering cooler outdoor air into your home and attic area, effectively cooling and ventilating both the home and attic. It has a capacity of 1,472 CFM and only uses 117 watts, allowing you to save on your energy bills.
It incorporates an acoustical duct and an R5 damper box. As a result, there is nearly no noise vibration and the operation is almost silent. You can’t even tell it’s turned on, allowing everyone in the home to relax. Plus, the R5 dampers ensure there will be no cooling loss between the home and attic, allowing the house to stay cool even on a hot day. Another benefit is that the fan may be used in conjunction with a smart switch. You can use the auto-on and timer feature to regulate the temperature in your home to your liking.
Because of its energy efficiency, optimum cooling capabilities, and quiet operation, we rated this as the best overall.
Tamarack Whole House Fan
Best for energy efficiency
Based on our experience and testing, the Tamarack Whole House Fan is one of the best energy-efficient fans which can circulate up to 1000 CFM of air per minute and can help save up on heating and cooling costs. Despite its power, it’s surprisingly quiet, making it great for those who are sensitive to noises at night.
Plus, due to its detailed instructions and simple design, this fan is user-friendly and straightforward to install.
AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7
Best for small spaces
Although it is not suitable for larger homes, the AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 is a great cooling solution for small spaces. It comes with a wall adapter, programmable controller, and LCD display with smart thermostat control and adjustable fan speeds.
Even in spaces with strong odors, AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7 can totally eliminate the musty odor and cool the space shortly after turning on the fan. Additionally, basements can be excessively humid in the summer and too hot in the winter. The AC Infinity AIRTITAN T7’s programmable controller lets you customize the temperature of your basement to your liking.
Cool Attic CX24DDWT Direct Drive 2-Speed Whole House Attic Fan
Best for maximum cooling
The Cool Attic CX24DDWT Direct Drive 2-Speed Whole House Attic Fan has a steel venturi air blower and precision-balanced galvanized steel fan blade assembly for added durability. Because of how this fan is designed and built, we considered this the best for maximum cooling, especially during hot days.
In hot weather, you can cool the interior and attic early in the morning or at night. Due to its power (3,200 CFM on the low setting and 4,600 CFM on the high setting), it’s possible that you won’t need to use the fan after it is turned off for the day. If so, it has a ceiling mount with an automated shutter that closes when not in use, ensuring that no cool air leaks out. This product also includes a wall switch with dual high/low and on/off settings.
Centric Air 3.4(R5) Ultra Quiet & Energy Saving Whole House Fan
Best for low operating costs
We found the Centric Air 3.4(R5) to be one of the most cost-effective fans. Centric Air whole house fans employ a German-engineered fan that has a CFM of 3,242 while being quiet. It consumes 382 watts of electricity and costs only $0.08 per hour to run.
When compared to utilizing an air conditioner to chill your home, you will undoubtedly save money with Centric Air 3.4(R5). Due to its cost-effectiveness, we consider it a good investment if you’re looking to save.
What Is a Whole House Fan?
A whole house fan is a cooling system that circulates air throughout a home and offers enough attic ventilation and cooling. Whole house fans are energy efficient, less expensive than air conditioning, and capable of cooling the entire home when needed.
Depending on the design of your house, whole-house fans come in four types that you can choose from:
- Ceiling-mounted: These types are installed in the ceiling that divides the attic from the living area of the house.
- Ducted: Ducted fans are distant from the ceiling, such as in the rafters, and are used to remove heat from many different areas of the house.
- Rooftop-mounted: Whole house fans are put on the roof in homes without an attic.
- Window-mounted: These fans are placed in a window frame and draw in cold air from outside.
How Does a Whole House Fan Work?
A whole house fan works by producing negative pressure at home. The fan draws air in through open windows, bringing fresh, cold outdoor air into your house. As negative pressure in your home rises, positive pressure rises in the attic. As the pressure in the attic rises, it is relieved by blowing air out through the soffit vents in your eaves or other attic vents. The air is then recirculated via the home’s vents, where you can experience a steady stream of cool air within your home.
A whole house fan cools the home fast and effectively while using less energy, allowing you to avoid operating the air conditioner, which is nearly always more expensive to operate than the fan.
A whole-house fan also has controls that let you set your thermostat and timing according to your preferences.
Read our detailed guide for more information on how whole house fans work.
How To Use a Whole House Fan?
Whole house fans function by pulling cooler air in and pushing heated air out through rooflines or vents. Therefore, when the outdoor temperature is significantly greater than the internal temperature, whole house fans won’t be as effective.
Here are things you need to consider in using a whole house fan:
- Use your whole house fan only when the outside air is colder than the air inside your home.
- To allow the fan to work properly, two or more windows should be opened halfway or wider. If you have many windows, you may be able to crack them open a few inches. Either way, this will allow the fan to pull air from outside.
- Since the purpose is to cool the entire house, not just the air, run the whole house fan all night. By ventilation throughout the night, the house is cool the next day, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
- Keep in mind that there is always a risk while the whole house fan is running if you have a gas-burning appliance, such as a water heater, kitchen oven, furnace, or boiler. That’s why it is very important to make sure a sufficient number of windows are open while the whole fan is turned on.
- When the entire house fan is switched on, always close the fireplace dampers. Most fireplaces and flues are clogged with dirt, ashes, and debris, which should not be blasted into your home by the whole house fan.
How Much Does a Whole House Fan Cost?
According to Costimates, a whole house fan can cost anywhere between $600 to $1,200, depending on the quality of the unit, location, and add-ons. The cost of installing a whole house fan also varies based on whether it is a direct or indirect mount, the size of the fan unit, and whether or not permits and inspections are necessary for your location.
How Much to Install a Whole House Fan
Installing a whole house fan on your own with a wall switch can cost roughly $350 for a simple fan and shutters. However, if you hire a handyman or professional electrician, it will cost between $850 and $1,100 for whole house fan installation.
What Size Whole House Fan Do I Need?
It is advised that you install a whole house fan with a CFM rating of 2 to 3 times the square footage of your home. CFM stands for cubic feet of air per minute of operation and is used to describe the output rate of an air compressor. So, for example, if your home is 2,000 square feet, you’ll need a whole house fan with a CFM rating of 4,000 to 6,000.
According to specialists at the Department of Energy, the number of air changes necessary in a residence is used to calculate whole house fan size. A whole house fan should produce 3 to 6 air changes every hour. One air change means completely replacing the air within the residence with fresh air. That is, in essence, the volume of the house’s living spaces. So, if your house is 2,000 square feet and you have an average height of 8 feet, the total volume of air that has to be changed is 16,000 cubic feet.
Whole House Fan vs Attic Fans
While both a whole house fan and an attic fan assist to ventilate and cool a house, there is one significant difference: the areas they address. A whole-house fan pulls air from every room in the home and moves it through the attic vents. An attic fan extracts air from the attic and exhausts it outside. If the temperature outside is cooler than the temperature within your home, whole house fans are more effective at cooling your home than attic fans since they move air throughout the house.
Attic fans, on the other hand, are easier to install compared to whole house fans. If you have a power supply in the attic, attic fans can easily be installed.
Whole House Fans Pros & Cons
- Lower usage of energy: In comparison to air conditioning, whole-house fans consume less energy. This results in lower energy expenditures, which is especially beneficial during the summer.
- Fast and effective: Whole house fans can cool homes within a few hours (or even less in small homes) by releasing heated air and pulling in cool air.
- Affordable and cost-effective: When compared to air conditioning, whole house fans are cheaper to install. Whole-house fans also require less maintenance and are inexpensive to operate.
- Replaces stale air: Since whole house fans push air from the outside in, the fresh air will replace stale indoor air.
- Easy to install: Most whole-house fans come with complete and detailed instructions for DIY installation.
- They can be noisy: Some whole house fans, especially older ones, can be loud.
- Requires open windows: This can be a disadvantage for some, particularly in locations where insects and allergens can easily enter the house through windows.
- Not suitable when the outdoor air quality is low: If the outdoor air quality is low, a whole house fan will push that into your home, which may cause health problems.
- Not effective for all climates: Whole house fans are perfect if the outside temperature is cooler than the inside of the house. In really hot locations, they will not save as much energy and will not be practical to use. In humid weather, it may wind up bringing the humidity into the house.
Whole house fans, without a doubt, provide several advantages. You don’t have to have your air conditioner running all the time because of the speedy cooling of a whole house fan. The cost of the installation and full operation of a whole house fan is very affordable, and it provides several advantages. Finally, because of the way a whole house fan operates, your home will be healthier, as it will replace stale, polluted indoor air with fresh, outdoor air.