Whole-house fans: Good, bad, safe?
We’d planned to install a couple of Tamarack HV5400 whole house fans in our new build in St Paul MN. The purpose is for both improved IAQ and more energy efficient cooling when the weather is appropriate (<80°f / < 60%RH).
However, our local building inspector is giving us all kinds of grief. He was originally requiring a 1:1 make up air system which would not only be expensive but also defeat the purpose. He’d backed off that and said if we could insure that enough windows were open he’d approve it. We did that and now he’s saying that he wants an engineer to certify that our plan would provide enough passive make up air. This is getting to be a major pain.
1) Is a whole house fan beneficial? To me this is a very easy yes. On some days we can get enough air through our house with natural breeze but many days there is either not enough breeze or it is coming from the wrong direction and so a WHF creates the breeze and with windows open provides fresh air, reduces or eliminates VOC’s & CO2, and cools the house for a lot let energy and $’s than running the AC. Am I nuts? Is a whole house fan as beneficial as I believe? If so, why are they not more popular?
2) Are they safe? Can they be made safe. I’ve only been able to find 1 death attributed to a WHF and that was some high school kids who’d been smoking pot for a considerable time and turned it on, without opening windows, to get rid of the pot smell. Otherwise I’ve not been able to find any deaths or injuries. It seem the tens of thousands of people who have them are able to open windows just fine. Is anyone aware of any research paper, study or similar that talks about how to make them safe (without installing a 12000 CFM MUA)?