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Attic versus Whole House Fans

Extra ventilation keeps you cool during summer months

Keeping your house at a constant temperature year-round can be a challenge. One way to help regulate the temperature throughout the year is to have roofing contractors in Kansas City install an attic or a whole house fan. But which is the better choice for you? And what’s the difference between the two? Read on to find out.

Attic Fans

Keeping the attic well-ventilated is a good way to help regulate temperatures throughout the home. The installation of an attic fan – sometimes called a ventilation fan – can help. Attic fans cool the attic space, pushing out hot air and bringing in cooler outside air. Many homes have hard-wired attic fans in them, but modern units can be added without hard-wiring. They’re usually installed in the slope of the roof or a gable wall in the attic. Professional roofing contractors can determine the right placement in your Kansas City home.

Keeping the air circulating in the attic means the space stays cooler. This means your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to regulate the temperature throughout the rest of the house. An attic fan can significantly increase the lifespan of your roof by cutting down on some of the heat-related damage that occurs when attic temperatures reach extremes.

Disadvantages of an Attic Fan

Roofing experts in Kansas City note that there are a few disadvantages to having an attic fan in the house. While the intent is to pull outside air into the attic to cool it, occasionally, cool air from inside the house is drawn up into the attic through small cracks in the ceilings. This does cool the attic but at the expense of the temperature down below, and your air conditioner will have to work harder to compensate.

Many roofing professionals in Kansas City advise against powered attic fans because they’re not energy-efficient and often use more electricity than they save, especially in the short term.

Whole House Fans

For those looking for an energy-efficient solution to their home temperature challenges, a whole house fan may be a better option. Whole house fans are designed to draw outside air into the house through the windows. Many homeowners use a whole house fan at night to cool the place while everyone sleeps. The fan is mounted in the floor of the attic, generally above a central hallway or landing. A few windows must be opened when the fan is turned on, and then it can pull air from outside and circulate it throughout the house. 

Whole house fans are very energy-efficient, pulling only 10-15% of the energy drawn by a central air conditioning system. A whole house fan also cools a house down much faster than an air conditioning unit can. Once the house has cooled off, turn the unit off and close all the windows to keep the cooled air in.

Drawbacks of Whole House Fans

Roofing experts in Kansas City will tell you that whole house fans require adequate ventilation in the attic to handle pushing all that hot air outside. It’s not uncommon for the ventilation needs to be greater than what regular building codes require, so check with a roofing contractor before having a whole house fan installed.

During winter months, the fan opening should be covered so that heated air from indoors doesn’t escape through the opening. Modern fans are now available with built-in motorized doors that make this a much easier task for homeowners.

Shamrock Roofing Helps with Fan Installation

If you’re debating on whether to install an attic fan or a whole house fan, call the pros at Shamrock Roofing and Construction for advice. We’ve been helping homeowners with their roofing needs in the Kansas City area for over 55 years. We’re familiar with the latest fans available – including solar-powered models – and we can help you weigh the pros and cons of installing an attic or whole house fan in your home. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!