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Recommendations for whole house fan, etc?

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Recommendations for whole house fan, etc?

Postby quicksilver » Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:46 am

Hi, everyone. I'm considering having a whole-house fan installed in our 1960's-built, single level (with basement) home to help take advantage of the cool nighttime air. We have an insulated attic with soffit vents and ridge vents, if that makes a difference.

We had one of these in my previous home, an 1860's Victorian in another Midwestern city, and it was great. While we have central AC in our current home, there are plenty of times where we'd just like to encourage the cooler outside air to come in. Window fans don't generate enough "pull" to effectively exchange air.

We also have some soffits in need of some repair thanks to some overzealous insulation by the previous owners. so...

Any recommendations for someone who can do a good job of a) installing a whole house fan and b) some soffit repair? If need be, these can be two separate people/companies, but it'd be nice to get it all done at once.

Thanks!
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Postby altcountryman » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:42 am

We've had good service from Brown Heating and A/C, based in Deerfield, but they're happy to do Madison work. I would assume they do whole house fans, although I inquired about this years ago and they said they weren't too common to install nowadays.

Jerry Brown and his people have always been really nice to work with, though. I'd give them a call.
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Postby quicksilver » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:48 am

altcountryman wrote:We've had good service from Brown Heating and A/C, based in Deerfield, but they're happy to do Madison work. I would assume they do whole house fans, although I inquired about this years ago and they said they weren't too common to install nowadays.


Thanks, I appreciate it. Did they give any answer as to why people are moving away from whole house fans?

Last night was a prime example -- it was warm and stuffy inside the house, even with several windows open. It was 8-9 degrees warmer inside than outside (difference of 10 degrees by the morning), and a whole house fan would've done wonders to cool the house down without having to resort to running air conditioning. (Which we didn't, but had it been any warmer we probably would've.)
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Postby altcountryman » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:14 am

Good question - they didn't really elaborate, but I didn't ask either. Our house is split level, and we spend a lot of time downstairs, so the fan wouldn't really do it for us since there wouldn't be much airflow in the lower level. We ended up getting central air put in, and have been happy with it.

My guess is that since central A/C is so common now, there's less demand for whole house fans, and they're still a big enough investment that they don't really sell in addition to A/C.

We had one when I lived in Denver, but the summer nights are more consistently cool there, and they don't have that lovely Midwest humidity.
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Postby quicksilver » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:20 am

Makes sense...I guess for me, even running the fan for a bit to cool down the interior air prior to turning on the A/C makes a difference in terms of time to the air becoming comfortable inside. My understanding is that there's also a fairly substantial difference in electricity usage between the fan and A/C.

I grew up and have always lived in places without central A/C, so it's a little strange to have it. (Okay, there was a short stint in DC where my apartment had A/C throughout, but in DC you kind of didn't have a choice....)
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Postby snoqueen » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:31 pm

I was interested in whole-house fans too (when there's cool night air, why not use it to get comfortable?) -- I liked the idea but then was told some of them can be very loud. I don't know how true this is because I never had the fan installed, but it's worth checking out.
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Postby quicksilver » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:13 am

snoqueen wrote:I was interested in whole-house fans too (when there's cool night air, why not use it to get comfortable?) -- I liked the idea but then was told some of them can be very loud. I don't know how true this is because I never had the fan installed, but it's worth checking out.


Depends on your definition of "loud". We had one that was about 10 feet from our bedroom door in our old house, and while you could definitely hear it, it really was simply "white noise" that was easy to ignore. I'd say it was probably twice as loud as the noise we currently hear from our central A/C when it's running.
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