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Ah, the air conditioner. It keeps you cool and comfortable and gives you piece of mind–until the utility bills roll in. Maybe it’s time to look into less expensive cooling options, like a whole-house fan.
A whole-house fan relies on ventilation, and can be more effective than you might imagine at regulating comfort. In fact, the Department of Energy says that systems relying on ventilation provide some of the most efficient green technology currently available.
A whole-house fan is installed in the floor of your attic, in a space where it can affect the air in the entire house. An upstairs hallway is usually a good location. After the sun starts to set and the air outside is a little cooler, you can open your windows and turn on the fan. The fan will pull cool air throughout the house, “washing out” any residual heat from the day and creating a wind chill.
It works best if you keep the shades drawn during the day. Adding insulation or other green technology to reduce heat gain can also help.
As home cooling methods go, ventilation-based systems are some of the most simple and green. Technology like air conditioners consumes electricity and has to actively remove heat from indoor air, while whole-house fans only use electricity to move air around.
If you live in a more humid climate, a whole-house fan may not cut it for you. In order for the system to work, the air outside has to be less humid than the air inside, so you may need different green technology to keep cool. Before making any installations, consult a pro to make sure the green technology is the correct size for your home.
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