How to install a whole house fanIt is possible to install your own whole house fan if you have a little hands-on experience. See the Whole House Fan Technology Fact Sheet from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for instructions on how to do it yourself. If handy work is not your thing, hire an electrician to install one for you.
How to install a ceiling fanInstalling a ceiling fan will require some mechanical and electrical know-how, and is generally classified as an intermediate do-it-yourself project. Follow these steps to get started:
- Choose a room: If you're installing only one ceiling fan, you'll want to be strategic about where you put it. Choose a room in which you can install it at least 12 inches from the ceiling and 7 feet from the floor, placed in the middle of the room. If your ceiling does not allow these minimum clearance requirements, you may need to look for a low-profile or hugger ceiling fan.
- Select a fan: When choosing which fan is right for you, consider:
- You'll want one that's both energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you want an ultra-modern design or something more classic, look for an ENERGY STAR model. These wind-generators move at least 20 percent more air while consuming 50 percent less energy than typical fans.
- Check ENERGY STAR's guide to choosing the right-sized fan and the appropriate mounting system.
- Look for quality components. In particular, choose die-cast (rather than stamped) motor housings, motors with sealed bearings (rather than oil baths, which require more maintenance), precision engineering bearings, blades that are weighed and balanced prior to shipment, shock-absorbent internal components, and heavy-duty windings.
- If your room has sufficient light, choose a fan without a light fixture; otherwise, look for one that will provide illumination as well as air movement. If you need one with a light, be sure to choose a model that accepts CFL light bulbs to save additional energy and money. Even better, choose an ENERGY STAR-qualified lighted-ceiling fan.
- Watch for other convenience features that might be useful to you. For instance, you may want a fan with remote or wall controls. Just make sure the wall control will operate all components of the fan (light, speed, direction, etc.) separately. Programmable controls are another good option, allowing you to set the fan to automatically adjust speed as the temperature drops or rises.
- The pitch of the blade will contribute to how much air your fan moves. The higher the pitch, the more cubic feet per minute of air it will move. However, it's more important to choose a quality motor than higher-pitched blades.
- If you choose to mount a ceiling fan in the bathroom, you'll have to find one that has been listed with a "damp" rating; if it's going outside, it'll need a "wet" rating.
Find it! Whole house and ceiling fans
Before you buyTo decide if a whole house fan is right for you, consider:
- The most effective time to use a whole house fan is when the temperature outside your house is cooler than it is inside, typically during the evening or early morning.
- Whole house fans work best in low humidity and when outdoor temperatures are below 70 degrees.
- Whole house fans do not dehumidify the air.
- Whole house fans can bring dust and pollen into the house.
- Whole house fans can sometimes be noisy.
Installing a whole house or ceiling fan helps you go green because
- They require less energy than air conditioners.
- Fans do not require refrigerants, keeping ozone-depleting chemicals out of the environment.
Fans can provide efficient, supplemental cooling to most buildings, offering energy savings (compared to using only air conditioning) close to 60 percent on milder days. Using fans allows both renters and homeowners to raise the thermostat temperature by 4°F with no reduction in comfort, which saves energy and money.
A whole house fan draws cool outside air into the house and forces hot inside air out. This decreases the need for an air conditioner. A whole house fan is less expensive to purchase and install than an air conditioner and, when used alone or in conjunction with an A/C unit, it saves money on electricity bills. Constructing covers for a whole house fan to provide insulation when the fan isn't being used ensures that heating and cooling efforts are not lost through the fan hole.
Related health issuesIf a whole house fan is not properly installed or insulated in your attic, moisture and air leaks may lead to mold and mildew growth. Mold can aggravate allergies and asthma and potentially cause other health risks.
- chlorofluorocarbon (CFC): A haloalkane compound containing chlorine, primarily used as a refrigerant.
- hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC): A similar haloalkane compound where not all the hydrogen atoms are replaced by a halogen atom, typically used to substitute for CFCs.
- ozone layer: Part of the earth's atmosphere, the ozone layer contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). Ozone acts like a blanket that protects the earth from damaging UV radiation, which has been linked to cancer.
- ENERGY STAR - Heat and Cool Efficiently
- San Diego Gas and Electric - Facts about Whole House Fans
- US Department of Energy - Space Heating and Cooling
- US Department of Energy - Installing and Using a Whole House Fan