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Old 05-28-2010, 10:57 AM
 
68 posts, read 100,763 times
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As long as you don't have blown insulation you should be fine.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
789 posts, read 1,552,586 times
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One of the main benefits of a whole house fan is that it pumps the hot air out of your attic so the heat won't radiate down to the rooms below. Since your attic is finished, a whole house fan may not be as effective unless there's a way to rid that area of heat.

I had these fans installed when I lived in Southern CA.

QuietCool - Whole House Fan System - About the QC-1500

QuietCool - Whole House Fan System - About the QC-4500

They were very effective at circulating air and worked quite well, except for the middle of summer when it just wouldn't cool down at night.
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Old 05-28-2010, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
21,873 posts, read 23,176,756 times
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We have a whole house fan (older and loud)....it really does work well. If we were doing it now, I'd certainly go for the newer, quieter models. Well worth it. We try to keep our blinds shut during the day, then once the sun (and temp) goes down, the attic fan runs for awhile. We turn it on again when before bed. It really helps and I'd much rather have fresh cool air than the a/c (unless it is really hot out or if allergies are particularly bad).
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:45 PM
 
299 posts, read 630,626 times
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I just went to Grainger and bought an Air King window mounted whole house fan. There's a window right at the top of the stairs to the 3rd story - perfect positioning. It's a simple mount so if it's no good I can return it.

This will give us a chance to test out the whole house concept without too much risk!
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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Another suggestion is to have UV film applied to windows on the west and south side of your house. We rented a new house in Castle Rock a couple of years ago. It was popular for the builder to install clerestory windows, which could not easily be covered, in two-story living areas. We had film installed shortly after we moved in. It's not very expensive, but it can make a huge difference.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:04 PM
 
299 posts, read 630,626 times
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I've heard of that approach. The thing is that I think if we just had a way of bringing outside air in, we'd be ok. The house doesn't get THAT hot during the day, it just doesn't cool off during the night (unless there is a breeze). Hopefully if the fan can bring cooler air in from outside we'll be ok.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:09 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,770,786 times
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Don't hesitate to go with the fan. It will be well worth it, and you'll wish you had done it sooner!
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Old 05-28-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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We installed a whole house fan in our Denver house in 1996. It worked great! It was on a simple dial timer. So we usually just dialed it for a couple hours so it didn't go all night. To make it work, you need to leave some windows opened for the fresh air to enter the home. It was in the center hallway of a 1200 sq foot older home. I'm sorry I don't remember who installed it -- but I think the total cost was about 800. We both worked during the day and so we just wanted to cool the house in the evening. It worked great. Of course, 5pm - 7pm it was still pretty warm, but it certainly worked once the outside temp dropped.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:51 PM
 
299 posts, read 630,626 times
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Well, the experiment with the in-the-window house fan had mixed results. The fan was noisy and didn't have the power to pull air from the whole house, but we expected that. However, it really illustrated the ability of a well placed fan to do the job - I can really see how it would work well with a well-placed and powerful fan in the attic. I can return the window fan, which I will this weekend.

We are 90% sold on the whole house fan. That is, until my neighbor made a comment. He pointed on his roof where he has a top of the line Breezeair swamp cooler. He basically said that the swamp cooler could be used as a whole house fan when it's on vent (no cooling) mode, but it had the option to cool if you wanted to use it in the daytime. He also said that the swamp cooler was on the roof and he could barely hear it during the night (Breezeair is very quiet, evidently).

This really made sense - it brings the features of the whole house fan but with the option to cool during the daytime if needed. The downside is you have to install it to the roof and maintain it, but it's not particularly expensive or hard to do the maintenance and I enjoy stuff like that.

We are still mostly sold on the simplicity of the whole house fan, but the ability to use the swamp cooler in the same way never occurred to me.

Any more opinions around here?
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:23 PM
 
68 posts, read 100,763 times
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Whole house fans suck air up, which is to say blow air from your house into the attic and then out. Swamp coolers work in reverse and blow air into the house from the top down.

The results would be very different.

A 100 dollar fan from Home Depot set up blowing out from a top floor window with a window or two open on the lower floor would be effective for all but those in the room it was pulling the hot air into. This reminds of how we used to handle things in my old two bedroom brick house. The second bedroom had the fan facing outwards and while my bedroom would get downright cold at night the guest bedroom could be sweltering hot until the entire house cooled down enough.

These days when I don't want to run the AC I use a couple of quiet fans and cross ventilation which seems to suffice in most situations when run during the night.

I love swamp coolers. Although they are not as effective as they were when our climate was a bit more arid they are still a viable and affordable option for most hot days. Just remember to drain the unit and shut off the water before it freezes oh and watch out for the whole Legionaries Disease thing too.
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