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WHole house fan

Posted by jejvtr (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 3, 06 at 16:07

I've done so much research on this in the past now have to come down hard on the decision -
We have 2000 sq ft Dutch Colonial revival (1930) no central air - during remodel project I would like to include a whole house fan. due to the age of home w/ little storage space I use the walk up attic a lot so wanted a smaller type fan that will not take up too much floor space w/frame out.

We are in CT - and do have window units for bedrooms - this would be nice to cool the house down in summer - I keep the house closed up during the day in summer and open up at night. We just had all the old double hung windows refurbished so that will help with ventilation.

I was getting ready to purchase the Whisper Aire WHSP 2000 made by Air Vent Inc compact, twin motors, 5 speeds 26" x18" , fits btwn joists insulated (r25) 2200 CFM's
Just spoke to manufacturer and a nice sales rep told me these are VERY NOISY - like sitting on the runway 75 decibels on low 87 db on high -
ANyone know what the db rating converts to in sones?
*** the rep did mention that the quality of the fan & what it does is excellent and engineering is actually doing some installs w/getting the fan off the attic floor framed up 4-6" which significantly cuts down on noise.
- She agreed it probably cut down on some of the efficiency of the fan but did not know to what degree.

Power Requirements: 115 volts AC, 60 Hz
Power Consumption: 440 watts
Dimensions: 26 inches x 17 inches
Maximum Airflow: 2,200 cfm
Manufacturer Warranty: 5 years
Weight: 34 pounds
Origin: United States (assembly), Germany (motors

On to Tamarack relatively similiar size as Whisper aire - 1600 cfms,
Fan Voltage/Power: 115 volts AC 60Hz, 276 watts
Lift Motors Voltage/Power: 115 volts AC 60Hz, 6 watts
Cover R-Value: 22
Sound Level: not rated, but substantially louder than the 3 sone rating of the HV1000 (perhaps 6 to 7 sone).
Air Flow Rate: 900 cfm (low speed), 1600 cfm (high speed)
Rough Opening: 14.5" wide x 22.5" long (cover requires 11" clearance when open)
Manufacturer Warranty: 3 Years
Weight: 27 pounds
Approvals: UL Listed
Origin: United States
Manufacturer Warranty: Three Years

I have 3 windows in the attic which convert to aprox 10 sq ft of exhaust ventilation which someone told me you need to cut in half making it 5 sq

I know whisper aire only requires 2.9 sq & tamarack was going to get back to me on that requirement.

WHICH DO I CHOOSE?
Whisper aire - noisy ,but more effective - frame it away from floor 4-6"
OR
Tamarack - less effective but quieter.

THANKS
Eileen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: WHole house fan

You could install a gable mounted fan, with rubber belt drive.
Such a unit would be difficult to hear from downstairs.


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RE: WHole house fan

We have a two speed fan, and the noise is of course correlated to the speed setting. At highest speed it does sound like a helicopter landing on the roof. Usually we put it at high speed for only the first 30 minutes, then to low. Ask the rep. about the noise at the lowest setting. Once the hottest air is vented out you don't need high volume air movement to keep the house cool. We've practically stopped using the AC since installing the fan (sorry, don't know the name). We first tried gable mounted fans, but they are not as effective.


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ericwi

Do have a fan you can recommend?


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RE: WHole house fan

In order for a whole-house fan to effectively cool the entire house, there has to be a clear pathway for fresh outdoor air entering each room, and a clear pathway from each room to the fan, located in the attic. This means opening many windows, and also opening a door to the attic, unless there is some other path provided to the attic, such as a louvered vent. Given that the set-up will take a few minutes, and is not as convenient as walking over to a thermostadt, and turning on the central air system, you can see why central air became popular. However, with rising energy costs, and more concern with the enviromnental effects of producing electricity, there is a strong argument for whole-house ventilation, in places where the local weather is cooperative. If a pathway is set up to ventilate warm air up to the attic, and then outdoors, there will be a potential problem in wintertime, when the interior is being heated. Heated air tends to rise, and it will flow up to the attic, and outdoors, if there exists a path. The house ventilation system will have to be re-configured for winter, to prevent loss of heat.


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RE: WHole house fan

We have one and are approaching the season of use. It is the best thing since sliced bread if you have hot days and cool nights. They can be loud but they are extremely effective if you have an interior and exterior temperature differential.

We do the same of putting it on high to flush the warm interior air and then back it off to low speed to keep the air flowing and cooling.

It will draw only through openings so you can control which rooms will get cooled.

The noise is not overpowering, louder than a loud dishwasher but not as bad as a washing machine on spin cycle.

I am glad we have one. Gable fans will not even approach what a whole house fan can do. You will be amazed at how much air is moving through the open windows and doors.

Ours is an Emerson, at least the control switch is. We have a louvered model.

Hopefully you can find someone who has one to see what it can do.


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thanks

btw most whole house fans have insulated doors w/R ratings in the 20's at least to diminish the winter heat loss issue


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RE: WHole house fan

I did some research on sound levels, although I don't own a sound meter. Any fan rated below 40 dB (decibels) is good, and a rating around 50 dB should be acceptable, for an hour or so, but not for sleeping. 60 dB and up is unacceptable, in a residence. If the fan has a heavy steel frame, and the blades are more than 20 inches in diameter, it can be turned at a lower rpm, and still move a large volume of air per unit time, cfm(cubic feet per minute), without making a lot of noise. A rubber belt drive would be used on this type of unit, to match the power and rpm of the electric motor to the fan. Since rubber belt drive is very quiet, it would be appropriate for a residential fan.


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ericwi

how kind of you

I think the "whisper aire" is rated 75 db on high! however the engineers rec actually installing it 4-6" above the attic floor/hall ceiling that will significantly decrease that sound -
i realize doing that will also decrease cfm's/efficiency - so would like to see if there is something on install i can do to surround it if Im raising off the attic floor - thereby not decreasing efficiency too much - just the noise.

thanks
eileen


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RE: WHole house fan

Maybe I am too sensitive to noise. I can't see myself using a whole-house fan on the high setting if it indeed sounded like "a helicopter landing on the roof." Raising the fan unit 6 inches off the floor of the attic might help, if the duct was built of heavy plywood, not light sheet metal.


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then you are just the guy to talk to

Dh & I are both sound sensitive -
hence the reason behind a lot of difficulty landing firm on a whole house renovation decisions -
We have plaster and lost a lot - In living room i did roxul insulation in ceiling joists, will hang resilient channel after padding w/insulating/acoustic tape then 5/8" sheetrock - GC just looks & scratches his head and says "I'll do whatever you want"

By "duct" you mean from floor of attic around framing where fan will sit?

Thanks


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RE: WHole house fan

There would have to be a duct between the attic floor and the baseplate of the fan. If no duct existed, the fan would be pulling air from the attic, not the floor below. Moving fluids, like air and water, flow easily past smooth surfaces with rounded edges. Sharp corners cause turbulence and loss of efficiency. There is a recent design whole house fan called "the ghost" that has a properly shaped duct, with the fan located at the top. The duct looks to be made of some sort of composite material, and if the duct walls are thick enough, they will not vibrate. Since I have never actually seen one of these units, and also I have never heard one operate, I can't give an opinion on how well it works, or how noisy it is. In your situation, I would investigate this type of fan.


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RE: WHole house fan

Looks like I would need to many

I think I'll order the Whisper aire 2200 cfms and lift it off attic floor with some duct work around it

thanks


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RE: WHole house fan

With a 2ksqft., ceiling height of 8'=16k cubic feet of air.
A fan with a rated volume of 1600 CFM has the potential of giving you a complete air change every 10min.

Optimally, a whole house fan is employed to draw cooler air from the exterior, off of a shaded landscaped area of the yard, thru the house, pressurizing the attic, venting the accumulated hot attic air from the house.

I install about 15 of these a year and when I'm confronted with your set of conditions, I recommend installing in the attic, direct venting through the roof or to the exterior with the fan mounted in the window, a louvered vent mounted in the ceiling/floor of the attic. How you adjust the opening of the windows for a supply, is you being smarter then what you are working on.

By the way, in the dead of winter when the house has been closed up for a week or so....try it.


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RE: WHole house fan

Anyone here have experience with QuietCool fans? They are on the web at http://www.quietcoolfan.com

They have a 1500 cfm fan that they claim is extremely quiet (0.4 sones). They suggest installing one fan for each bedroom which would give you 4500 cfm in a 3 bedroom house.

I have not seen any reviews of their fans other than on their website. The noise levels sound too low to be true. That's about the noise level of a refrigerator.

Anyone with any experience with this product?

Thanks,
Mike


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RE: WHole house fan

Time to chime in here . . .

I, too, have been looking at whole house fans, and some of the alternatives. We live in coastal San Diego, where nights are usually cool, and AC is usually not necessary.

A whole house fan seems like a good solution, except I am concerned about backdrafting our furnace, and we don't really have a good central place to put it.

I like the QuietCool ducted fan idea, but why not take it a step further? Put the fan exhaust up to a (new) gable vent, and voila! Cool, quiet breeze through the house at night, no worry about adding attic venting or blowing out pilot lights. Standard gable fans, shuttered gable vents, ceiling grilles, some ducting, and it would be done fairly cheaply and easily.

The concerns:
- Still need to insulate the register for winter, relatively mild though they may be here. A cover on the ceiling side would be possible, although perhaps hard to make it attractive. A damper in the duct would help also.
- Modest flow rate per unit suggests placing them in the upstairs bedrooms, so we'd need to have doors/windows left open for make-up air to enter.
- Not sure about the noise; remote location of fan will reduce the noise transmitted through the structure, but the air noise may still be noticeable.
- Variable/ multiple speed gable units available?

Other than these anybody see any problems with this idea?

Thanks for the feedback!


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RE: WHole house fan

Hey Peten:
This is similar to the system I'm planning to put in our house. One difference is that I don't think a standard gable fan is enough, so I am contemplating an in-line, ducted blower, hung from the roof rafters with rubber strapping to isolate the noise while it blows the hot air out. I'll put the suction right at the peak of our cathedral ceiling, where it can blow straight out to the gable at the end of the house. I'll likely need some grates to ensure the hot air can get out of the bedrooms.

Taking it a step further, I am also planning to bring the cool air into the house through the central air system by installing a duct from the outside to the a/c return duct, using motorized dampers to switch between ventillation and cooling mode, and the central air fan to pump the cool air to all rooms of the house. We have bad dust and pollen issues here, so I am also going to filter the incoming air through HEPA filters to help out our allergy-suffering friends. I'll also install an air-to-air heat exchanger so I can use the same system in the winter to bring in fresh air without losing all the heat. I believe I have it all figured out so that I can make this all automatic, using temperature detectors that will tell the system when to switch to ventillation mode, and whether to bring cool air in or use the heat exchanger. That way it will work even when we are not home to open windows, etc.

Anyone have something similar to this? I'm thinking this will be a great system, but I've yet to see anything like it.


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RE: WHole house fan

I have the smaller Tamarack, and I feel like I wasted my money. It doesn't seem to do anything. It's quiet, but that's about it. I think I shot myself in the foot a bit by putting it in a hallway where there was only direct access to one window rather than in a the living room where there are 6 windows to draw cold air from, but I didn't want to look up at a fan in my living room. Maybe the 1600 is strong enough to do the job, but my 900 doesn't do crap. I'd go for the stronger louder one if I had to do it again. Let it blast for about 30 minutes, put up with the noise, and then turn it off.


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RE: WHole house fan

Matt, the UltimateAir system is a heat-exchanger with an automatic cool air override (you flip a switch to tell it it's summer, and it skips the heat exchange when the outside temp is between 55 and 70). It has MERV 12 filtration, which filters down to 1 micron. HEPA is down to 0.3 micron, though, so if you are allergic to dust mites, you can use HEPA in line with the heat exchanger to get hospital-quality air. Since you already have all the ducts you need in your central air system, this should give you everything you need. Check out Pure Air University for more info about the HEPA system and about the micron size of various allergens (they have an extremely cool chart). I also found a site called Allergy Buyers Club that recommends a different HEPA product, but I haven't figured out which is better yet. Feel free to email me if you want to exchange ideas as we learn more.

Thanks!
-- Amanda


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RE: WHole house fan

My home is 1572 sq ft with vaulted ceilings, I decided to try the Tamarack House Fans. RE Williams recommended that I buy the HV1000. I was completely disappointed with it - which is hard to swallow after all the anticipation and the cost of over $500.00 - I felt like it didn't work at all as advertised and felt much like rudysmallfry's post up above.

I called in and talked with RE Williams and Tamarack directly. They told me after a long time of troubleshooting, that maybe I should try the HV1600. According to MY calculations though - I wanted to try The Ghost instead. I did NOT want to go through the wait and installation more than just 1 more time. RE Williams did not want me to go that route, insisting that the HV1000 should work fine - and at the most I should just try the HV1600 (I don't know why, seeing it doesn't hurt them any and The Ghost is double the cost of the HV1000, so they make out on this). Tamarack authorized the exchange though so I got The Ghost in 3 weeks.

I'm MUCH happier with The Ghost. Unlike the HV1000, I know it's actually working. The HV1000 did not draw any air that I could discern. There was no breeze at all, no temperature change - nothing. My conclusion was that it was as if it was simply moving the air in the house around rather than actually drawing air through the windows and into the house. I even bought infrared temperature guns to help me trouble shoot more accurately. Bottom Line - the HV1000 did not do it's job at all in my house.

The Ghost does do it's job - although, it doesn't work as well "as advertised". It has 2 speeds - low 1600, high 2800 cfms. Both speeds work well. I usually run it on high for a hour or two, then switch to low for a couple more hours before I turn it off completely. When the outside temps are lower than inside, it is a lot cheaper than air conditioning and works well to bring in a breeze, bring the inside temps down, and clear out the attic of the hot, stuffy air.

My gripe with whole house fans is that they keep promote it by saying stuff like:
1. "Whole house cooling will reduce the temperature inside the house to the outdoor temperature"
2. "The fan (HV1000) will change all the air in a 1,500 square foot house in 15 minutes"

These sentiments are expressed over and over - their customer service people tell you this over the phone - it led me to believe that if the inside of your home is 80 degrees and the outside temp is 50 degrees, then certainly if you ran the whole house fan for an hour - the inside of your home should be at 50 degrees - right?

Wrong. Here is the "real life" of it as I've experienced. Keep in mind this is not exact science and these figures are just examples. Temperature readings are done with my infrared temperature gun.

In an hour, the inside temp drops from 80 to 76 degrees. What about if you let The Ghost run for 3 hours? Well, in 3 hours, the inside temp will be around 72 degrees - still not the 50 degrees that it is outside. Why is this? Because even though the outside temp is 50 degrees, by the time it moves 1 foot into the room, it has mixed with the warmer inside air. By the time that air moves from my master bedroom to the hallway where The Ghost is at - the temp is only around 2-5 degrees lower than the original inside temp. This results in a very nice, cool breeze in my bedroom - the air 1 foot from the window is 7-10 degrees higher than outside. The air 2 ft from the window is already 10-20 degrees higher than outside. The air 3 ft and more from the window is already only 5 degrees lower than the original 80 degrees. So the majority of the main path of air from the window to the fan is only 2-5 degrees lower than the original temperature.

So what's the conclusion? It took me a lot longer to like my whole house fan than it should have. I feel like it was their duty to know the truth of how their fan works and let the customer know that truth. It's a BIG let down when you're led to believe that the fan will match the inside temp to the outside temp in a matter of minutes when in reality, that's no where near the truth. It's also a let down to order the HV1000 upon the spoken (phone conversations) and written (sizing chart posted on website) recommendations when in reality - The Ghost should have been the recommendation. These complications and let downs up front really damage the trust in a product and company. Despite this, I've been running The Ghost for a couple months now and I've decided that I DO like it. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:
1. Much cheaper than running the air conditioning and you get a very nice breeze without it being too loud. When the outside temp is lower than inside - the fan is wonderful and affordable to run.
2. Relatively easy installation.
3. Remote works very well and has a long, reliable range. I love the remote - Very convenient to be able to move 2800 or 1600 cfms of air into the house simply by opening a window and pushing a button.
4. Insulated doors that automatically open/close upon power-on/power-off is very nice, convenient, and I wouldn't go with a product that didn't have automatic, insulated doors.
5. One of the more quiet whole house fans advertised. The HV1000 was very quiet. The Ghost is a lot louder, but not loud enough to be annoying, in fact, on low - it's hard to tell that it's on.
6. Hot and stuffy attic air can actually be damaging to your house and health. I never knew this until I researched and I was surprised...it's just not something that I ever thought about - but now that I know, it is very re-assuring to me to know that I'm getting that out of the house and getting fresh air in the house.
7. I love fresh air coming into the house. I live in a rural area, so the outside air is not as polluted as in the city...and they say that the air inside your home can become more polluted than outside...so it's good to get that "bad" air out - at least every so often.

Cons:
1. Expensive. The HV1000 is around $500.00, HV1600 is around $700.00, The Ghost around $1000.00 (total cost after tax/shipping). SCE is offering a $100.00 rebate upon verified installation of these (and other qualified) whole house fans, so that helped with the cost.
2. Even though the HV1000 can be installed with a timer, The Ghost can not (per RE Williams). This is a major bummer because I would love to be able to set the fan to turn on and run during the coolest part of the night (midnight - 3am) for maximum efficiency - but can't due to the lack of compatability with a timer.
3. RE Williams customer service - even though they are not "horrible", they are not what I would consider "good" either.

Bottom Line - I think the pros outweigh the cons. I'm beginning to lose my bitterness over the initial let downs of this project and the price of the unit - and just appreciating the unit for what it *can* do for house instead of what I think it *should* be doing. What it does for the house has it's own unique niche that is not covered by the stand-alone fans or the air-conditioning - so it has it's place here now.

Wow...I've really rambled on about this - I'll shut up now! lol


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RE: WHole house fan

Eileen,
I have the 5 speed fan you are considering. The fan works extremely well, but is noisier (louder!) as you increase speed. I would consider the following:
1. What's the layout of your house? In my case the fan is close to our bedrooms. On the higher speeds someone might have trouble sleeping through the noise of the fan. If you can locate the fan away from the bedroom area the noise would be substantially diminished.
2. You generally run these fans before bedtime in order to cool down the house and especially the attic. We don't use our fan for more than 1/2 to 1 hour after we go to bed, but then we live in a different climate.
3. Our installation is directly on ceiling joists. It would be very easy to frame the installation a foot or so higher. I would further recommend adding a strip of 1/2" or so hard rubber between the fan mounting flange and the framing which might further decrease the noise level.

In my case it would have been extremely difficult/impossible to install a conventional large diameter attic fan and the subject fan has performed well.


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RE: WHole house fan

I have a house covering a little over a thousand square feet and am looking to put a whole house fan in to cut down on the AC costs. The only question i have is between Lowes and Home Depot who has a better buy for a small house such as mine? HD only has one option, the Master Flow 24 In. Direct Drive Whole House Fan , where Lowes has Air Vent24" Whole-House Direct Drive Fan and the Attic Aire 30" Direct Drive Fan With Shutter. Does the first one at Lowes NOT have the shutter? I have seen from earlier posts I do not want to put the fan in the hallway but in a position where it has better access to all the rooms and windows. Opinions?


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Whole House Fan in Cathedral Ceiling Cupola solution

I was thinking about building a cupola like some Cape Cod style houses have to install a whole house fan in.

F.Y.I. according to the DOE fans shouldn't be louder than 2 sones, which is about 35.8Db.
http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/documents/pdfs/whole_house_energy_checklist-766.pdf

A sone to Db conversion is at: http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculatorSonephon.htm


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RE: WHole house fan

Anyone have experience with the Quiet Cool fans? We have one bedroom in our house that is consistently hot, even when all the other rooms are cool. The QC system that allows you to install a system in individual rooms seems like the answer. But I'm skeptical of marketing and have no idea about noise and effectiveness. Any feedback, or other solutions would be hugely appreciated


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RE: WHole house fan

Great response by vyshtia (scroll up a few). I am wondering - is this the experience you are getting with a whole house fan?

I thought that running the fan would equate the outside and inside air temp - but it doesnt. Does it for you?

Mine is ceiling mounted - and we get very good drafts when running. Does this mean that the air is escaping the attic good?

So if we are getting a good draft in the house - why does the temp go down just a lil. ie air outside is 68 air inside is 78 and temp inside drops just a few degrees. Is vyshtia comment what you observe? if not - what do we need to do?

thanks!


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RE: WHole house fan

Check out www.atticfan.com. I am very interested in installing a whole house fan as part of a larger remodel. I have read the posts above as well as info on the Internet with avid interest. Initially I was drawn to the Tamarack or similar small fans, but there is no getting around the fact that small fans must move the blades faster to move sufficient air and are therefore noisier. I thought the FAQ's on the atticfan site addressed many of these concerns well. I don't know anything about their business or how reliable they are, but their facts seem sound. I intend to check them out for myself.

BTW The DOE website above doesn't link to the document correctly. If you do a search on the page that does come up you will find the DOE technology sheet on whole house fans. Very useful and not biased toward a specific manufacturer.

- Jim

P.S. As mentioned above, just because a fan can move enough air to change the entire house's volume of air in 14 minutes or 14 seconds, doesn't mean your house will cool to the outside temperature that fast. Think of the house as a bathtub full of hot water. As you pour in cold water it mixes with the hot water. If you open the drain you can't just remove hot water. You will remove the hot/cold mixture.

Here is a link that might be useful: A website that has useful information on attic fans in their FAQ's


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RE: WHole house fan

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


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Purchase infor RE: Whole house fan

Thanks for guidance on above post. Found the TE-CC3022 30" Triangle madeinUSA fan here: http://www.industrialfansdirect.com for 399.00 w/ free shipping out of AK. Dayton-branded model which appears identical is priced over at 617.00 locally- Grainger - where i bought the Premium shutter for 91.10 (worth paying extra over regular shutter there). Grainger also sells AirVent models, seemingly decent quality but not on par with Triangle - and I am not really qualified to judge so its just an impression from detailed pictures of both fans.

Installation manual link: http://www.industrialfansdirect.com/Merchant2/PDF/CC_Manual.pdf


Could not help looking at HomeD fan after I ordered the above, 30" MasterFlow fan (GAF) & shutter for 284+tax. This left me with no regrets on having spent just under 500 for the best. The quality of the shutter was particularly poor compared to the Grainger/Dayton Premium. GAF gives no indication of where their fans are made other than by LL Building Products, so I assumed they were made in China. What happened to country of origin markings on the box? Seems like if it is Made in USA it is marked prominently.

By the way, I bought slightly undersized fan according to recommendations having used a box fan in an upstairs window for years with reasonable success given the 20 buck investment. Louver the windows around the house to get the desired cooling effect.


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RE: WHole house fan

Wow 3 yrs later & the thread is still going
gotta love GW!


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RE: WHole house fan

I used this post and others to help me when I was considering/choosing a whole house fan. I got a Dayton belt drive 30" fan. I've had mine installed for about a month now, but I haven't had too much chance to use it yet, due to the state of all of our other remodeling and the weather. I will repeat what others have said. Don't buy one of those Tamarack fans and similar unless you like noise. The big belt driven fans are much quieter and draw huge amounts of air because of the huge blades. My whole house fan is quieter than all of my window box fans. I am happy so far and I seem to have enough attic ventilation (which I was really worried about). I'm in southern California so the fan will come in real handy.

- Jim


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RE: WHole house fan

Jim,

As someone that's had a Dayton WW fan for more than 30 years, I can tell you that you will love what you bought. Mine is running today and here in Georgia, I have a nice, comfortable breeze.

My motor went out a few years ago and I bought a fan from one of the Big Box stores and it lasted about three months. It couldn't handle the pressure. Brother found a motor locally and I have been a happy camper since. Dayton has been good for me. Though I have had mine for a long time, I have never regretted the purchase.

Peachie


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RE: WHole house fan

Great forum here everyone! Very helpful information too. I am planning on buying a Dayton unit tomorrow but I have a few questions. I have a split level home and a florida room that has 3 sliding glass doors. I'm thinking this won't be an issue and I should benefit from the cooler air downstairs making its way up. My real question is that i see the best place to install this would be my main hallway, which would work perfectly. The issue is that there are two cold air returns (one on each side of the hallway (I think they are cold air). As long as the furnace isn't on, there should be no problems from this, correct? Or do I need to think about a different location?

Thanks! Please feel free to email me directly too.

Justin


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RE: WHole house fan

Justin,

My home is a split. The fan is in my main hallway in the attic and has never been an issue. My furnace isn't on when the fan is running. Why would it be? Not being funny--just wondering.

Peachie


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RE: WHole house fan

about 3 months ago, we found a masterflow tandem w/h fan at the HD on clearance for 99$. originally it was for the detached garage, but with summer looming and the past few days in the mid-high 80s here in VA beach, i opted to put it in the house.
-installation was a breeze. nothing had to be cut/removed other than the drywall in the ceiling. 2 pieces of 2x6 installed between the existing framing, and bam- fan was installed. wiring was straight forward, if you can wire a celing fan, you can wire this thing. standard 2 wire into an existing junction box.
-heres the bad. it is indeed loud. our house is a 1200ft brink rancher, and this fan is installed almost in the center of the house in the only hall way. even at low, watching tv in the l/r is a dream. we did not run it at bedtime last night even though its about as loud as the dishwasher in the b/rs.
heres the good of it and why im not complaining- at about 730 last night the temps were 79 outside, 87 inside, and the attic was 105. we turned the fan on high, and went to a neighbors for a minute. about 20 minutes later we returned and the temps were 77 out,83 in, and 96 in the attic. we left the fan on until bedtime(we rarely spend much time in the house this time of year anyways) and at 1030 the temps were 75out,77in,83attic. all in all, very pleasant sleeping conditions and for a fraction of the cost of ac.
is it loud? yes. doesnt matter to me, as even when it gets way hot, it will be worth it to vent the attic before turning on AC in evening.
was the price right? YES.(even at 399 its worth it to me)
will i later on upgrade to a less noisy? probably(airscape has one they claim chimes in at 52DB on high)

only thing that concerns me about it, is why doesnt every house in the US have one? between this and the rain barrels, i cant think of a better way to spend a couple hundred dollars on the house.


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RE: WHole house fan

I just installed the triangle fans 36" fan http://www.industrialfansdirect.com/TE-CC3622.html
with the grainger dayton shutter 4C228A http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/4C228.

This unit is amazing!. It pulls a ton of air and is much much quieter than I was expecting. On low in the next room over the noise level is about equal to the sound of the air coming out of our ducts when the central air is on. High is a little louder but still very acceptable. I had a whole house fan in a previous house and this unit is so much more quiet.

I have not had any really hot days yet. Last night it was in the low 60s outside. I was able to cool our room from 74 to 70 in about 5 minutes.


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RE: Whole house fan

mikegerard,

I saw your post (above) about a 36" Triangle whole house fan and Granger/Dayton shutter. I'm thinking of installing that same combo in our house. What is the square footage of your home? And what kind of attic venting do you have?

We have a 1,600 sf house with soffit vents in the attic that provide about 4 sf of NFA when they're clean. I definitely need to install additional vents.

Actually, I may install small removable custom-made screens all along the soffit area. If they are easily removable, it will be a snap to keep them clean. Unclip them, hose them off and clip them back into place. As for ventilation at the top of the roof, I haven't decided between a gable fan, rooftop power ventilator or passive O'Hagin vents.

If any other whole house fan owners care to share their method of ventilating their attic, that would be a useful addition to this discussion, as whole house fans requires plenty of attic ventilation to work well.


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RE: whole house fan

Thanks to "fasola-shapenote" posting above, - I totally took his advice.

My issues were that my wife was against the idea of a whole house fan being installed in our new house, so based on my experience with my old houses whole house belt-driven fan (still) being too noisy, I went with the biggest fan I needed (42" Triangle Fan, and the Dayton shutters) to keep it as quiet as possible. After all, the bigger the quieter.

This house is 4,100 sq. feet, - including the basement. So I took about 2/3 of that to conclude that I had 2,700 sq. ft. to evacuate. Considering the real estate in the attic, and the floor lay-out for the upper floor, I decided to install the fan in the main bathroom. Knowing I had to cut a joist, then at least I would have walls close by to support the broken joist. I had already installed pull-down steps into the attic and flooring which limited me to where I could put the fan.

I gave up on the idea of installing 2 or 3 24 inch fans. That could have been installed in another closet ceiling without cutting joists. But the noise would have been intolerable. And my wife didnt want the eye-sore of the shutters, even though they look fine to me.

So I get this Triangle fan delivered off an 18-wheeler near my house. Its shipping weight is 91 lbs, and I had to disconnect my attic steps just to get the thing in the attic. An inch to spare on all sides. I removed the 20 lb. Emerson motor from the fan, and with the help of another family member, used a rope and hook over my ceiling hole to lower the 70 lb fan into place. No small task for the faint-of-heart. But it went really well.

For my roof joists, I had vertical center joists going up to the center of the house, and 30 degree joists jutting out in both directions. While the 42 inch shutters were flush with the ceiling, - the 46 inch width fan was raised 22 inches from that. I boxed in those 22 inches with plywood, and tele-scoped to the 46 inch opening for the fan. The 30 degree joists caught the weight of the 90+ lb. fan about 2 feet out.

I bought a 60 minute timer switch and the Triangle fan came with its Hi-lo-off switch. The motor is easier to wire when its not attached to the fan.

So with the work complete, the fan runs about as quiet as a dryer with no clothes on low. And still its not annoying if I run it on high. I guess the 2 feet up helps. It was a labor-of-love which took me about 4 days to complete. Id say about 24 hours hands on. I was freaked about getting all the dimensions correct, - and I knew the joists wouldnt be "perfect". Also the drywall had some nail-pops afterwards, put that can be expected after the stresses of cutting it.

All-in-all, Ill be burning about 9 cents an hour vs. close to $2 an hour with my 2-tier air conditioning system(s). I figure itll take less than 3 years to re-coup my $700 + investement.


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RE: WHole house fan

I've been shopping for a whole house fan and, after reviewing the comments on this old and lengthy post, I thought I might offer a few considerations that I didn't see mentioned.

In terms of fan construction, everyone should be aware that larger and more blades is better (more efficient, quieter) than smaller/fewer blades for a given airflow. But a high quality fan will also have a frame that's welded (vs. bolted) together, a belt (vs. direct) drive, sealed ball bearings (vs. those requiring periodic lubrication) and an automatic belt tensioner (vs. requiring manual tightening as the belt stretches).

I had some unique circumstances and was curious to see how the various vendors would solve my problems. The electricians showed little creativity and lacked knowledge about the various fans available and their respective benefits. I ultimately chose "The Fanman" (fanman.com), who is local to my area (Sacramento), an area where WHFs are a no-brainer for EVERY house (daytime highs in the 90-100s with evenings cooling to 55-60 and low humidity). He was highly rated on AngiesList and came up with brilliant solutions to apply to my circumstances.

Other vendors were telling me that I'd have to settle for smaller (and noisier, less efficient) fans and I ended up with 30" and 36" fans that work perfectly.


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RE: WHole house fan

I live in California just inland from the coast range. We have hot days (up to 110) but cool nights (under 70 by 10pm). For this environment a whole house fan is wonderful.

We have had a Master Flow 30" whole house fan for the last 12 years, Model 30BWHFS. It worked well at high speed; it did not seem to want to run at low speed. It certainly cooled the house. Recently the motor runs eraticly and sometimes won't start.

I replaced it with a Dayton 30" whole house fan, Model 5NRT2, sold by Granger. This is a much heavier unit. It is quieter, moves more air at high speed, and runs well at low speed. We can leave the unit on low at night and still sleep (the bedroom is about 25' from the fan).

The Master Flow unit costs about $300 including the automatic shutter; the Dayton unit is $440 without the shutter (I kept the existing shutter). PG&E offers a $100 rebate for either unit. I recommend either unit if you live in this climate, but the Dayton unit is clearly better if you can afford it.

The instructions for the Dayton whole house fan advise you to cut out the rafters in the shutter area and frame around the opening; I would not do that. However, if you do not frame around the opening you need to seal off the area against airflow. I mounted the fan above the existing rafters and sealed between the rafters with plastic and Duct Tape. Foam core board should also work. Use plenty of duct tape. Be sure you have enough vent area from the attic.

For the electric wiring I put a switch in the attic next to the fan, then ran wires to the controls and back to the fan. That way I can turn off the power with a switch that is right in front of me if I am working on the fan or the wiring. The wiring is marginally harder than a typical home electrical project: I used crimp on female spade connectors to wire to the Dayton unit. If you are up to wiring to code (that is, If you can do home wiring SAFELY) then go for it, otherwise hire an electrician. Get up early to work in the attic.

Using the fan: Be sure several windows are open before you turn on the fan. We often open windows in the area we are sitting in and run the fan for 20 minutes or so then go open up the rest of the house. Allergies can be a problem: there are a few weeks in the spring when we try not to use the whole house fan. Otherwise, it's wonderful.

Highly recommended.


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RE: WHole house fan

Has anyone tried mounting a whole house fan directly in the gable and then ducting it to the intake vent? I'm thinking of doing this with my WHF and would like to know what the pitfalls are.

Cheers.


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RE: WHole house fan

Miles,
The disadvantage is twofold: It will do nothing to get the heat out of the attic. With a duct inserted , the CFM capacity of the fan is diminished. Air is like a fluid when in ductwork, every elbow and corner increases turbulence and drag, which robs CFMs. You could make an efficient duct from 3' dia. sonotube, but smooth elbows would be hard to fabricate.
Casey


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RE: WHole house fan

I have a question regarding sizing. PG&E and DOE calculations show that the volume of the house should be divided by 2 or 3 to get to the CFM needed. So for a 2500 sqft house, with standard ceiling height of 8ft, we need ~10000 CFM fan. Some other commercial web sites recommend much lower than that, maybe 10 or even 15. Which one makes more sense? I think the higher is better, but they're bigger, need more attic ventilation area, ...

Also any recommendations for latest types/models?

I live in San Francisco bay area. Any referrals for whole house fan installers? Can people who have it installed share their experience?



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