How to save money on power on those warm days of the year.
At this time of economic crisis most of us are looking for ways to reduce overall household expenses and power bills in particular. And with spring and summer temperatures predicted to remain above average this year most of us are particularly concerned about keeping our homes comfortable during the hot season without breaking the bank.
One relatively inexpensive way to do that is with a “whole house” fan. A whole house fan cools your home by forcing hot air out of the house and attic while drawing fresh, cooler air into the house through open windows.
If you have a well vented attic odds are that a fan will work for you to reduce your hot weather electric bills dramatically. The fan can lower the temperature in your home by five degrees in just a few minutes, thereby reducing AC usage. A typical fan installation is in the ceiling of the home below a central section of the attic. The minimum average ceiling opening is app x 2’ x 2’ and there is a fairly unobtrusive white louvered grill mounted flush with the ceiling surface that stays shut except when the fan is operating.
The fan louvers are flush to the ceiling and open/close automatically. The fan is controlled by a wall switch or pull chain and does not need to run for much time at all to make a big difference. Running only 20-30 minutes is all it normally takes to reduce the inside temperature of a house when the outside temperature drops at night. Our generally cool summer nights make this a perfect climate for these fans.
Of course the main advantage of a whole-house fan is the cost vs. the savings in air conditioning expenses. The units are sized according to square footage of attic space to be vented and cost is approximately $1000-1500. Since installing one of this in my own home 4 years ago our summer electricity usage has been cut in half.
Naturally, nothing good in life is without its drawbacks. The drawback of these fans is that they are a bit noisy because of the volume of air passing through the grill and fan blades. However, since the fans are only operated for a very short period of time most homeowners find the disturbance acceptable given the advantages offered.