Fan in attic access? What is this?

sippy_spenceJanuary 19, 2014

We have recently purchased an older home (1953) and have no basement. We have a low pitched roof, and today removed the panel that was taped to the ceiling over what we assumed was the attic access. But we found this fan with a carpet shoved into the blades! Was this some sort of whole-house fan? There doesn't appear to be any other way to access the attic. This was a bit of a surprise and we are just curious as to what this is and what, if anything, we should do about it.

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Have you attempted to lift and move it aside to access the attic?
Depending upon the size, you can purchase just the damper assembly and attach it to the ceiling so that it is easily removable or hinged.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:01PM
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Looks like a whole house fan that was installed in the attic opening. I have a modern version and love it during the warmer months. it may have gone out of use and someone covered it up. My whole house fan has louvers that open and close when use. Not sure what was used on the older models.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:34PM
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It is an old attic fan. They used them before central A/C to help cool the houses. Depending on where you live they can work pretty good. There should be some louvers on there that close when the fan is not running. If you are not planning on using it I would remove it and either install a folding stairway for access or just patch the ceiling to close the opening.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:27PM
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as a kid, I loved our whole house fan.
as an adult, in the efficiency field...they
are a huge hole to the attic and bad news
in my climate.

carpet was probably stuffed in fan to stop
air from attic.

no gable end vents...some homes only have
access via gable ends. (real pita)

it isn't difficult to make an access, but first
make sure one isn't hiding in the top of a closet.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Thanks all for your responses! The house does have central AC now so I'm guessing that this would be pretty useless if it still works. We're going to investigate further this weekend.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:19PM
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If you pull it out they make great shop fans. Just build a cage around it and it will move a lot of air through a shop.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:05AM
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