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Whole house fan

diygirlohio | Posted in General Questions on

We just bought a house built in 1918. We have a walk up attic that is huge and has 2 windows at each end. It is extra living space for sure , but it is so hot up there that you cant stand to be up there. My question is , and please I am new to all this and I am trying to DIY to save money because I am trying to save and pay cash for everything , I paid cash for the house and I want to remain as debt free as possible. What type of fan could I use up there ? a whole house fan or a gable fan ? Can I just put a fan in one of the windows? We don’t have A/C and the upstairs of the house is unbearable . I need advice as I want to do this soon before we get warmer and please I am new at this and I am trying , so please bear with me. Thank you

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You forgot to tell us where you live (or your climate zone).

    Are you planning to convert this vented unconditioned attic into living space? If you are, the first step is to install insulation that follows the roof slope, and to install insulation in the gable walls. For more information on this work, see Creating a Conditioned Attic.

    No matter what you plans are, I don't recommend that you install a fan in your attic in an attempt to lower your attic temperature. This article explains why you shouldn't do that: Fans in the Attic: Do They Help or Do They Hurt?

  2. diygirlohio | | #2

    I live in Ohio and no I don't plan on making it a living space at all. Thank you

  3. Dana1 | | #3

    Most of OH is US climate zone 5, some of it is zone 4, and it makes a difference on how you insulate the house. Can you be more specific?

    If the purpose of the fan is a nighttime ventilation strategy for cooling that could sort-of work, but during the humid days of summer it's probably not the best strategy in a zone 4A/5A climate.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    You wrote, "No, I don't plan on making it a living space at all." OK -- fine. But you also wrote, "It is so hot up there that you can't stand to be up there."

    Here are three pieces of advice:

    1. If you can't stand to go up there, don't go up there.

    2. If you are worried that high attic temperatures are increasing your air conditioning bills, you should double-check the thickness of the insulation on the attic floor to make sure that it is adequate. Your attic floor may also need air sealing work.

    3. Since you described this as a "walk-up attic," you need to pay attention to the insulation requirements and air sealing requirements for the attic stairs and attic door. This article will tell you everything you need to know to address those issues: Insulating Attic Stairs.

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