Whole House Fans vs. Attic Fans

Air temperature in your home is a big issue in the summer. The cost of maintaining your air conditioner as it runs nonstop for hours at a time can be very high – as much as $4,000 for a single year of cooling. That’s why a lot of families turn to fan solutions to reduce how much they spend on their AC units each year.

How Fans Work

A fan draws in outdoor air to your home. That outdoor air will cool your home when the outside temperature is cooler than the indoor temperature. If the weather outside gets much warmer than 80°F, you will probably still need to use your air conditioner at least a little, but if it’s in the 70°F-80°F range, the temperature inside can be maintained simply by blowing cooler outdoor air into your home.

A whole house fan solves this problem by pumping fresh air into your home through the ductwork you already have in place. When the temperature outside is low enough, you’ll enjoy a much steadier, more comfortable level of cooling and save a lot of money.

However, for those that don’t want to install a completely new system for their entire house, attic fans offer a good chunk of savings as well.

Why Attic Fans Work

The idea behind an attic fan is simple. During the summer, all the heat in your home rises. Even with your air conditioning working at full capacity, heat will build up in the attic, especially if you don’t use that space and therefore don’t have any cooling ducts up there.

In some cases, attic temperatures can rise to 140°F or higher, which then raises the temperature of the rest of your home and forces your AC unit to work that much harder.

An attic fan is good because it takes the air from outside, almost assuredly cooler than 120°F and cycles it into your attic to keep the temperature lower. That simple fan can reduce indoor air temperature by as much as 40°F or 50°F and significantly reduce your air conditioner’s work load.

Which is Better?

Neither of these is better than the other. If you have low cooling costs and want to keep your attic from adding to them, an attic fan is perfect. However, if you want to cut into your cooling costs for all but the warmest months of the summer, a whole house fan may be the right option.