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Old 03-24-2012, 11:31 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
5,289 posts, read 6,304,699 times
Reputation: 1978
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
Interesting notes from Wikipedia...

Attic fan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with whole-house fan.

Whole-house fan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Whole-house fans were mainly popularized in the Southern United States through the 1950s-60s, as they were much cheaper and easier to find than air conditioners and still cooled relatively well.


- 10 points for relying on Wiki.

Never heard the term 'whole house fan' until the '90s. An attic fan was a fan in the attic...ours happened to serve the 'whole house'.

I didn't know of anyone(before the '80s, at least) who had a 'fan in the attic' strictly for exhausting the air from the attic. That's what gable and soffit vents were for.

Mayhaps we should ask jane X 5 to which one she refers. I'm guessing it will be dependent on her age as to which term means what. She's probably a 'kid' but if she knows what an 'ice box' is, she may well be talking about an attic/whole house fan.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:21 AM
 
474 posts, read 574,693 times
Reputation: 229
I am talking about attic cooling fan, not the fan part of our a/c unit.
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,330 posts, read 20,247,122 times
Reputation: 6373
Energy conservation engineers that I have worked with in the past told me that attic fans (not whole house fans) rarely saved as much energy as they used. You are better off making sure your attic has decent passive ventilation, adequate numbers of air inlet louvers along the eaves, soffits and exhaust vents along the ridges or near the top of the roof peak. These work great without using any electricity and have no motors or moving parts to wear out. As the sun heats the roof, the air in the attic heats up and rises, drawing cooler air in at the eaves and exhausting the hotter air at the vents near the top.

Last edited by CptnRn; 03-25-2012 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:05 AM
 
83 posts, read 89,012 times
Reputation: 57
Attic fan motors tend to wear out faster as well because of the heat they operate in
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
27 posts, read 31,242 times
Reputation: 31
I have a KB Home with TechShield radiant barrier. (it's about an inch thick) I'm not sure how it affects my bills. But right now I am paying $66/month with Bounce Energy for a 1400 sq ft house in Houston. It is about 80 right now and I leave the thermostat set at 74 degrees cool. It runs nearly 24/7.

I can go up into the attic and it is warm and bearable versus my old house (felt like 120 degrees).
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Old 05-19-2013, 12:20 PM
 
Location: NW Austin
1,133 posts, read 2,710,961 times
Reputation: 164
What about the solar powered attic fans? It seems like it would make sense to lower the heat trapped in your attic...

Also, my new AC unit is on the south side of the house exposed to hot sun -- should I have it fenced in so it has some cover? I read about that somewhere else and it hadn't occurred to me that maybe I should shade it from the brutal sun.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Central
3,576 posts, read 2,171,396 times
Reputation: 2307
Sealed attic, spray foam...attic stays almost as cool as your living room and much lower energy bills.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
5,289 posts, read 6,304,699 times
Reputation: 1978
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlanta hope View Post
What about the solar powered attic fans? It seems like it would make sense to lower the heat trapped in your attic...

Also, my new AC unit is on the south side of the house exposed to hot sun -- should I have it fenced in so it has some cover? I read about that somewhere else and it hadn't occurred to me that maybe I should shade it from the brutal sun.
hope!...you're back!!! Missed you!

If the vents are working properly, the attic will exhaust the hottest air and bring in ambient air(not always a big difference in temp, but worth something). Moving that air 'faster' doesn't necessarily have any benefit...PLUS, the fan can only exhaust air as quickly as that air can come in the soffit vents. OFTEN, the fans will exhaust air that is coming in the gable vents, rather than the hottest air...so it's bringing in somewhat cooler air but forcing it out quickly. What we're looking for is convection, so it's important that the intake venting is of proper size(and not blocked by leaves, insulation or squirrel nests).

I've finally come to realize the 'micro-climate' around your outside A/C unit isn't really worth 'cooling'. Sure, a shade tree would be of some benefit as long as it doesn't interfere with the air flow. Protecting the various A/C components from the direct, blazing sun 'could' prolong their life a bit, but the units are designed to be outdoors. Dropping the air temp by 5-10 degrees right at the unit has little effect with the amount of air moved by the fan. In other words, the air it's working with hasn't been in the 'shade' long enough to cool down. Most important is to maintain free air-flow around the unit(some attempts at shading actually cut down on the efficient air-flow and reduce the effectiveness of the unit).
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:01 AM
 
Location: NW Austin
1,133 posts, read 2,710,961 times
Reputation: 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10scoachrick View Post
hope!...you're back!!! Missed you!

If the vents are working properly, the attic will exhaust the hottest air and bring in ambient air(not always a big difference in temp, but worth something). Moving that air 'faster' doesn't necessarily have any benefit...PLUS, the fan can only exhaust air as quickly as that air can come in the soffit vents. OFTEN, the fans will exhaust air that is coming in the gable vents, rather than the hottest air...so it's bringing in somewhat cooler air but forcing it out quickly. What we're looking for is convection, so it's important that the intake venting is of proper size(and not blocked by leaves, insulation or squirrel nests).

I've finally come to realize the 'micro-climate' around your outside A/C unit isn't really worth 'cooling'. Sure, a shade tree would be of some benefit as long as it doesn't interfere with the air flow. Protecting the various A/C components from the direct, blazing sun 'could' prolong their life a bit, but the units are designed to be outdoors. Dropping the air temp by 5-10 degrees right at the unit has little effect with the amount of air moved by the fan. In other words, the air it's working with hasn't been in the 'shade' long enough to cool down. Most important is to maintain free air-flow around the unit(some attempts at shading actually cut down on the efficient air-flow and reduce the effectiveness of the unit).
Ok -- good to know. Thanks!

I have super-duper insulation and all new ducts so I guess I've done what I can do. I thought I might try to store things in the attic but it just is SO hot when I go up there that I was trying to figure out what I could do to make it usable storage space. Guess I just need to purge more stuff!

So Rick -- How are you? How's life in CP?
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:01 PM
 
570 posts, read 431,146 times
Reputation: 456
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
Energy conservation engineers that I have worked with in the past told me that attic fans (not whole house fans) rarely saved as much energy as they used. You are better off making sure your attic has decent passive ventilation, adequate numbers of air inlet louvers along the eaves, soffits and exhaust vents along the ridges or near the top of the roof peak. These work great without using any electricity and have no motors or moving parts to wear out. As the sun heats the roof, the air in the attic heats up and rises, drawing cooler air in at the eaves and exhausting the hotter air at the vents near the top.
Agree, and there are some strong arguments out there that a fan may pull cool air from inside of your house if the attic floor is not completely insulated and the eave vents aren't frequent and clear.
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