Depending on where you live, a whole house fan can be an economical and green way to cool your home in the summer. However, when you use these fans, several considerations must be taken to best benefit from their usage. Best for those who live in cooler climates with low humidity, whole house fans use less electricity to run than a central air conditioning system, cutting your cooling costs significantly. However, special venting must be arranged as these fans have a very strong suction ability. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we have been hired to clean up sooty messes in homes with whole house fans because the owners did not realize steps they should have followed before turning their fans on in their homes. We would like to share some whole house fan usage considerations suggested by Whole House Fan, a website dedicated to informing the public about this alternative to air conditioning.
Be sure to close your fireplace damper before turning on your whole house fan.
Weststar Chimney Sweeps is very familiar with this rule as the sooty messes we were hired to clean up where results of homeowners neglecting to close their fireplace dampers. Since the suction of a whole house fan is so strong, it can draw outside air in through any available opening, including a chimney. When the air gets sucked in through the chimney, it brings in soot and ashes from your flue. This influx of chimney air can also pose a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because exhaust is brought into your home. If you have a fireplace and a whole house fan, be sure you have a fireplace damper with an air-tight seal that will close out any outside air while the whole house fan is in use.
You must seal and insulate your whole house fan during the winter.
If your whole house fan is not insulated or sealed, cold air from the attic will be able to leak into your home’s living space. Similarly, warm air from your living area can escape, which will negate the money you save on cooling your home because you will have such expensive heating bills. Fortunately, there are models of whole house fans with motorized insulated doors that automatically open when you turn the fan on and close when you turn off the fan.
People who suffer from allergies should not use whole house fans.
Since whole house fans bring outdoor air inside your home, anyone with pollen allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions should not use a whole house fan to cool their homes, especially if they live in an area with heavy pollen and/or pollution.
People who live in areas with high humidity also should reconsider using a whole house fan.
A whole house fan would bring the humidity into your home, which makes the temperature rise and the air sticky and uncomfortable. Living in a hot and humid area makes central air conditioning a necessity, not an option.
Have questions about using a whole house fan? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to ask us anything about this topic.