Attic fans: are they right for you?

Attic fans (aka whole house fans): Are they right for you?

by Zach Shaw, Zebra Electric Inc

Whole-house fan drawing

How an attic fan works: Usually a whole-house fan is mounted in the attic floor, above a rectangular grille in the ceiling of a central hallway. Once the outdoor temperature cools down — usually in the evening or early morning — the homeowner opens a few downstairs windows, and turns on the fan.

The fan pulls air from the hallway and blows it into the attic. Since attic fans are relatively powerful, they quickly exhaust the hot indoor air, allowing cooler outdoor air to enter through the downstairs windows. Attic fans generally can cool down a house in less than an hour. Once the house has cooled off, the fan can be turned off and the windows closed. The idea is to close the windows after the fan is off (early morning until evening) to trap the cool air inside. This method is an alternative instead of using air conditioning.


Some things to consider:

  1. For an attic fan to work, you NEED to have the windows open. For someone that suffers from allergies, an attic fan may not be a good fit.
  2. Attic fans use only about 10%-15% of energy that an air conditioner would use. This will save costs on your electric bill.
  3. Your attic needs to have good ventilation. The attic fan needs a way to circulate air out of the attic.
  4. For proper cooling at night, the temperature outside needs to be 80 degrees or lower. Although, using the attic fan in the spring or fall is another option if the summer nights get too warm.
  5. Keep in mind, attic fans will not remove the humidity in the air.
  6. Attic fans can cool down the house fast at night (an hour or less) and it is a great alternative for those who want to save on cooling costs, but want to stay cool at night.


If you are considering about installing an attic fan, or have questions, free feel to contact us at: 267-371-3193

Zebra Electric Inc


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Zach Shaw owner of Zebra Electric Inc is a Bucks County Pa native who has been in the electrical business for over 15 years. He formally worked for Dumire Electric and now he serves Dumire Electric customers since Tom Dumire retired. Zach likes to be involved in the community. He has volunteered with Mennonite Distaster Relief, providing free electrical work for victims affecting by Hurricane Katrina. He also volunteers annually at the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival. He has 4 boys and likes to spend his time camping, backpacking and kayaking with the family.

Zebra Electric Inc

Quakertown, Pa

pa 012872

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