Does a whole house fan make sense in NJ?

jb_njJuly 10, 2008

I live in NJ and am looking to cut my A/C costs. Whole house fans seem interesting, but I am not sure they would work well in the humid summers we have here in NJ.

Any thoughts?

(My house is a 1000 sq ft ranch with a finished walkout basement).

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dan_martyn

Experiment. Tonight, throw open all the windows. Try it for a week or two. If you feel comfortable sleeping with the windows open, you may want to invest in a whole house fan. Ventilation rather than Air Conditioning is being considered more in Commercial construction and should be considered more for Residential construction.

Dan Martyn

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:21PM
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Tinmantu

I don't live in NJ, but have a friend that does and she describes the humidity as horrible. What I do know, if you have air conditioning and run it all day and introduce humidity to your home, the next few hours of running your a/c, all it's doing is running longer cycles to remove the humidity that was added, not providing cool comfort (using more electricity). As dan suggested, try it for yourself both ways. In your clime, I'll be surprised if it saves money.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:38PM
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fasola-shapenote

I have a recommendation for whole-house fans, and that is to go with the ones made by Triangle Engineering of Arkansas (made in the USA!).

These things move more air than any other brand. As an example: the 36" belt-drive model sold at Lowes & Home Depot moves 6,900 CFM on its highest speed. The 36" one that Triangle makes moves 10,600 CFM.

I just put one of these in last week and am so taken with it that I'm evangelizing for Triangle now.

These things are much higher quality than the other brands too -- these are made with very heavy-gauge solid welded steel (as opposed to the thin, flimsy metal - often aluminum - that other brands use). They use a very solid motor made by Emerson, the best of the top three motor-making companies (the other two being Fasco and A.O. Smith). They come pre-framed on a wood frame for installation, AND they have sponge-rubber noise-dampening material between the fan and the frame, so they are much quieter than the other brands. Also, Triangle holds a patent on an automatic belt-tensioning system these things use, so you don't have to worry about getting the tension right when you install the fan (or in the years thereafter as the belt loosens up).

Also, they come in more sizes than the other companies -- from 24" all the way up to 48" blade diameter (which moves a ridiculously whopping amount of air; no one else makes one that big).

They're sold online at Southern Tool amongst other places that ship nationwide, so they're available wherever you live.

Also, Triangle re-brands some of these as a private label for Dayton, which is the "store brand" of Grainger - so if you have a Grainger store near you (check your phone book or their website), you can buy one there. I will say this, though - Grainger/Dayton makes their own shutters, and those shutters are much better than the one Triangle makes. Triangle makes great fans, but crappy shutters. Luckily, they're sold separately -- so buy a Triangle fan and Dayton shutters; money can't buy better products.

They also re-brand some for a company out in San Francisco called "Fanman" (a/k/a "Delta Breeze").

A word to the wise -- these fans move a lot of air, so make sure to install at least the recommended minimum amount of attic exhaust space (gable vents, soffit vents, roof vents, some combination thereof, whatever works for you) - if you don't have enough, the fan will operate at reduced capacity, and there will be a backpressure which will cause the shutters to rattle when the fan is in operation (any time you hear whole-house fan shutters rattling, you know there isn't enough exhaust space). Oh, and one other thing -- only buy a belt-drive whole-house fan, don't EVER buy a direct-drive model...the direct-drive models are at least five times louder, they sound like standing on an airport runway next to an old prop plane getting ready to take off.

Several of the dedicated whole-house fan installing companies have chosen to use Triangle fans; that should tell you something. These companies want satisfied customers, so they use Triangle and only Triangle.

Refer to http://www.trianglefans.com/wholehouse.html for more info

Here is a link that might be useful: Triangle whole-house fans

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 6:40AM
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garymunson-2008

I've had whole house fans in Florida...they seem nice at night but the humidity issue is problematic...A/C has a struggle removing it the next day...it never really gets down...mold on many surfaces (leather shoes a favorite) is a serious issue.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 3:44PM
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maryland_irisman

As your neighbor in Maryland, I can relate to the humidity issues although not as bad as Gary mentions in Fla. I installed a whole house fan about 15 years ago. I find it allows me a few more weeks of comfort before it becomes necessary to run the A/C. Also, close to the end of the season, I can shut the A/C down a bit sooner. As you know, we sometimes get those weeks in summer when a cool front comes through and the air is dry and cool (in the low 50's by 3am) which allows me to open some windows and run the whole house fan.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 5:13PM
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lindabrownlee777_aol_com

I have had a whole fan in my house for 30 years. Everyone should have one. The amount of money they save you is unbelievable. They are not for sticky, humid weather but there are plenty of nights where the temperature drops and you need a sweater outside and your house is as hot as can be. You open your windows and attic door and turn your fan on for 15 minutes. The temperature in the house will drop 10-20 degrees. The motor just went on my fan after 3 decades. I'm getting it fixed or replaced. When I run my A/C my electric bill tops $800 a month. They save large amounts of money and conserve huge amounts of energy. They can pay for themselves less then one year. Why turn on your A/C and send all your money to the electric company when there are so many nights when there is tons of free cool fresh air outside just waiting to be invited in.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 10:56AM
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