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Discuss Latest POF Blog Post: Slash Your A/C Bill with a Whole House Fan

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  • Discuss Latest POF Blog Post: Slash Your A/C Bill with a Whole House Fan

    I’ve been intrigued for some time by the concept of cooling a home with a whole house fan. Now that ... Read more

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  • #2
    The extra few hundred buck a year I spend on AC is probably some of the best money I spend. The humidity is the key with being comfortable.

    I understand that the setup costs can be daunting for an AC system in an older home but depending on your climate it might be worth it.

    When I was in college and med school I lived very cheaply and did not want to spend the extra money when the place I lived did have AC. I got a big box fan from walmart for $15 or something and put it in a window. It worked great! I just threw it out last month because it finally broke. Just the knob but I cannot figure out how to fix it.

    Pro tip. A box fan and a sheet can make a killer air tent. Lots entertainment for the kids! Or yourself I guess...

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    • #3
      The energy loss from having a huge connection between our conditioned space and unconditioned attic wasn't worth it to us. We drywalled over ours.

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      • #4
        my old man called this a "swamp cooler."
        we had central ac but he ran it quite a bit.
        we were in a hot humid area so i doubt he did so in high summer but i never remember being hot at home.
        that said, i've noticed kids are much less sensitive to heat than adults so maybe it was 82 indoors and i just didn't care.
        DW took the kids OOT for a few days and i immediately raised the temp in the whole house. we live in a hot area but i draw a firm line in the sand at wearing a jacket or sweater inside my houes in June. we compromise at 71-72. when it's me i usually do more like 75.
        i really don't like being hot, but i also think that requiring every inch of your living space to be at 68 year round is a) unconscionable from a resource standpoint and b) weak sauce.
        it's definitely a thing in the SE part of the USA to hate cold weather and profess to love the summers but then keep all live/work spaces in the high 60s.

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        • #5
          We had a whole house fan in my childhood home. We didn't use it much in central TX, but man when we did it - wowee!

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          • #6
            Always been intrigued by this and i think in our PNW climate we'd avoid using the AC all but a couple days per year. But don't and wife have pretty bad allergies so i worry this could worsen things. Can look into those nifty nanotech screens though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MPMD View Post
              my old man called this a "swamp cooler."
              we had central ac but he ran it quite a bit.
              we were in a hot humid area so i doubt he did so in high summer but i never remember being hot at home.
              that said, i've noticed kids are much less sensitive to heat than adults so maybe it was 82 indoors and i just didn't care.
              DW took the kids OOT for a few days and i immediately raised the temp in the whole house. we live in a hot area but i draw a firm line in the sand at wearing a jacket or sweater inside my houes in June. we compromise at 71-72. when it's me i usually do more like 75.
              i really don't like being hot, but i also think that requiring every inch of your living space to be at 68 year round is a) unconscionable from a resource standpoint and b) weak sauce.
              it's definitely a thing in the SE part of the USA to hate cold weather and profess to love the summers but then keep all live/work spaces in the high 60s.
              I can stand indoors as warm as 75 if not humid but at night above 71 I can't sleep. In the winter it can be 65 for all i car but we compromise at 69. I love the spring and fall around here because for months at a time we don't need either the heat or the AC.

              The allergies are a bugaboo, I feel for my family. I had allergies as a kid and remember the misery. If it were indoor allergies then a fan could make sense, but for them it's clearly outdoors; five minutes outside and they're sneezing and itching, five minutes inside and everything is better. That's why those screens are interesting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
                The energy loss from having a huge connection between our conditioned space and unconditioned attic wasn't worth it to us. We drywalled over ours.
                There are diy videos on using insulation boards to build an attic box to cover it, with a hinge mechanism on top to open when the fan turns on. Or newer fans that have an insulated cover which opens and closes.
                “. . . And the LORD spake, saying “First shalt thou take out the Holy 401k. Then shalt thou save to 20%, no more, no less. 20% shall be the number thou shalt save, and the number of the saving shall be 20%. 25% shalt thou not save, neither save thou 15%, excepting that thou then proceed to 20%. 30% is right out . . .””

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                • #9
                  Had a whole house fan with no AC in residency when I was in climate zone 5 and it worked very well. There were probably 5-10 days per year that I did wish I had AC. It cooled off nicely at night and I was not concerned about leaving windows open all night. Current location with high humidity and less cooling at night whole house fan would make no sense.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by blippi View Post

                    There are diy videos on using insulation boards to build an attic box to cover it, with a hinge mechanism on top to open when the fan turns on. Or newer fans that have an insulated cover which opens and closes.
                    It was also partly because of the hassle and the fact that our fan was incredibly noisy. I'm not in a position where I need to save $50 month plus I prefer to control my own humidity.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post

                      It was also partly because of the hassle and the fact that our fan was incredibly noisy. I'm not in a position where I need to save $50 month plus I prefer to control my own humidity.
                      No argument with the humidity. In fact I think the zone map posted in the article is misleading in its implications when it comes to the SE. Will likely need AC for longer than just summer. house fans make the most sense in lower humidity areas.
                      “. . . And the LORD spake, saying “First shalt thou take out the Holy 401k. Then shalt thou save to 20%, no more, no less. 20% shall be the number thou shalt save, and the number of the saving shall be 20%. 25% shalt thou not save, neither save thou 15%, excepting that thou then proceed to 20%. 30% is right out . . .””

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                      • #12
                        We installed a quiet cool fan system in our house in San Diego. It was awesome as we have a significant delta of temperature after the sun drops and marine layer comes in. The fan pulls all that into the house in minutes.

                        New house is closer and higher so havent installed one yet as to watch the marine layer winds naturally coming in. Big test this week with big heater set for entire SW us

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                        • #13
                          I think perhaps you should also install a wood-burning stove and eliminate any heating bills. Additionally, you could string up clotheslines and also eliminate the use of a dryer.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bev View Post
                            I think perhaps you should also install a wood-burning stove and eliminate any heating bills. Additionally, you could string up clotheslines and also eliminate the use of a dryer.
                            I loved having a wood burning stove when I lived in cold climate. I don't know if it saved money but it was cozy. I do put my jeans and some other clothes on my deck railing to dry when the weather is nice (but most clothes do go in the dryer).

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                            • #15
                              A clothesline is great for sheets and towels and such but it is too much of a pain for all the little things. But since the big things eat up most of the load getting them dried on the line can really make an impact on the amount of dryer time per day. This is not the kind of thing that will move the needle much financially though.

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