How to Use a Whole House Fan

How to Use a Whole House FanDo you know what a Whole House Fan is? I didn’t, until I moved into my current home. It came with one, and my real estate agent explained how it pulls the hot air up through the attic and forces it out through the attic vents—a handy way to cool things down quickly in the summer.

Here’s the thing: There’s actually a bit of a trick to using it—you shouldn’t just turn it on like a ceiling fan. So here are some quick tips to make your summer a breeze—literally!

Windows

If you’re going to pull air out of the house, you will need air to come in and replace it. Make sure you have a few windows open before you turn it on, or you could create something of a vacuum, causing your ears to pop and other potential discomforts.

You’ll find that how many and which windows you open is a bit of a balancing act, as well. If you only open one, you’ll create a wind tunnel way stronger than you intended. On the other hand, if you open too many windows, the air-pull will be too spread out and won’t cool as effectively. It will take some trial and error (as every home is different), but once you find a good balance, you can enjoy a beautiful light breeze.

Timing

Whole house fans are best to use when it is hot and dry—not when it’s humid. If you live in a dry climate, a whole house fan could save quite a bit off your electric bill compared to air conditioning. If you live in a climate that splits between dry and humid, stick with the A/C on humid days, and you can still save a healthy amount on the dry days with your whole house fan.

You’ll also want to use the whole house fan when it is cooler outside than inside, like when you get home from work and the house feels stifling because the sun has been beating down on it all day. Open a few windows and switch the fan on, and it’ll cool right down.

Lastly, don’t forget to clean it at least once a season, much like you would maintain an air conditioner.

Happy cooling!