When the heat of the summer hits here in Colorado, most people rely on a fan or air conditioning to stay cool. There are other things you can do to help keep your house more comfortable, such as keeping your blinds closed, setting your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise or closing doors to rooms that you aren’t using.
Strategically planting trees to shade your home is another idea to beat the heat. If you can afford to spend more, upgrading your windows to more energy efficient, insulated glass will provide benefits year around.
Another possibility is installing a fan in your attic. There are a number of options, but two of the best are powered attic ventilation and whole house fans. There is some confusion on which is better, and the following post offers some clarity:
Fans in the Attic: Do They Help or Do They Hurt? | GreenBuildingAdvisor.com
Whole-house fans are sometimes confused with ventilation fans that provide fresh air. Unlike a ventilation fan, a whole-house fan — an attic-mounted fan that exhausts air from a home at night — is designed to cool a house (that is, to lower the indoor temperature).
A powered attic ventilator has a different purpose: it is designed to lower the temperature of an attic by exhausting air from the attic and replacing attic air with outdoor air.
Installing a whole house fan isn’t easy, but it is possible for an individual to do it without hiring a professional. However, you don’t want to take a chance the fan is not properly set up to do its job. There is also going to be some electrical work as part of the process and that is something an amateur shouldn’t mess around with.
Since I am a visual person, the explanation in the following video helps to see how a whole house fan can lower the temperature in your home and bring down your electric bill:
Whether you choose a powered attic ventilator (PAV) or a whole house fan, the goal is to save money and be more comfortable. The cost for either fan are reasonable, but the PAV fan is less expensive. Depending on the model, a whole house fan goes for around $300 – $500 where a PAV averages under $200. If you hire it done, then figure at least double the amount.
Installing your own fan doesn’t require a lot of tools, but you will have to calculate the square footage of your home to estimate the necessary fan size. The following post from Lowe”s gives guidelines for how to calculate the size of the fan you’ll need:
Install a Whole-House Fan
1. Calculate the interior square footage of your home’s living area. Don’t include the garage, attic or basement.2. Multiply this number by 3 to obtain the fan size. Example: 2,000 square feet x 3 = 6,000 CFM (Cubic Feet of air moved per Minute).
Because a whole-house fan exhausts stale, warm air into the attic, a properly sized attic ventilation system is also required to exhaust that air out of the attic.
Read the full post here: Install a Whole-House Fan
Even though the best way to ventilate your attic is with a whole house fan, they can be somewhat noisy depending on the type that you purchase. A belt driven fan is usually quieter than a direct drive fan. Keep in mind that a large capacity fan running at a lower speed is usually softer sounding than a smaller fan running on high.