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Home Ventilation and Whole House Fans: Facts vs Fiction

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

We've installed a lot of whole house fans over our 18 years in business, and we know our customers have heard a lot of misleading information about whole house fans and a home ventilation.

It's time to set the record straight and bust a few of the most common home ventilation myths we hear way more often than we should.

First, let's talk about what home ventilation is. When we talk about home ventilation, we're talking about roof vents, ridge vents, soffit vents, etc. — the vents that allow air to move freely in and out of your attic. Allowing air to move freely in and out of your attic prevents hot air from getting trapped against your roof and seeping back into your living spaces, which makes the upper levels of your home hot and uncomfortable.

That idea is really important when talking about whole house fans. A whole house fan pulls fresh outdoor air through your living spaces into your attic, and expels all the hot, stale air through the vents installed in your attic. Whole House Fans create a huge flow system of air. If you don't have enough attic ventilation to allow the fan to expel all the air it brings in, you're going to make your fan work harder than it should, and nullify the effects of the fan all together.

Now, let's bust some myths!

Myth #1: Modern homes are built with all the ventilation they need to support a whole house fan system.

BUSTED: While homes built after the 90s are generally built with more ventilation than homes built prior to the 90s, Colorado building codes require only 2 square-feet of net free vent area, far short of the 7 square-feet needed to operate a whole house fan sized for a 2,500 square-feet home. That means you could need as much as 5 additional square-feet of roof vents to allow a whole house fan to work properly.

Myth #2: A whole house fan will operate the same way, with or without additional attic ventilation.

BUSTED: According to QuietCool, the leading Whole House Fan manufacturer fans can only move as much air as they can exhaust. While the fan will still move air, operating a whole house fan with insufficient attic ventilation causes strain on the fan motor resulting in lack-luster performance and the possibility of causing significant damage.

Myth #3: You don't need additional attic ventilation because the air will escape your home naturally anyway.

BUSTED: This myth could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, the US Department of Energy recommends 2-4 times the normal area of attic vents to operate a whole house fan efficiently. Without additional attic ventilation, stagnant air gets trapped against the roof and will eventually make its way back into living spaces through seams in insulation, drywall, and other nooks and crannies — defeating the intended purpose of a home cooling system!

Myth #4: Adding more ventilation is expensive and unnecessary.

BUSTED: While additional attic fans and vents my increase the price of your whole house fan installation, these one-time costs are a fraction of the amount you'll have to pay to repair or replace an overworked and under-ventilated whole house fan system.

No matter what you hear, if you have a whole house fan, an air conditioning system or other home cooling system, robust attic ventilation is key to achieving better home cooling, better home health, and lasting energy savings. It's affordable, easy to install and provides long-lasting benefits. Don't take you home's ventilation for granted!

Contact Colorado's top-rated home ventilation experts today to learn more about improving your home ventilation and cooling systems, and get a free quote!

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