Looking for a whole house fan to supplement (or replace altogether) central air conditioning for your house?
In this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll learn:
- What are whole house fans?
- What are the different types of whole house fans? (which is right for you)
- How do whole house fans work?
- What do you look for in the best whole house fans? (don’t sleep on these features!)
- And much more!
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
January 2, 2022
QA Deluxe 5500 Whole House FanCheck on Amazon
After pouring through dozens of excellent whole house fans, we finally managed to narrow things down to our five favorites, and from there we chose a clear winner.--break--In this case the QA Deluxe 5500 by Centric Air came out on top.--break--Why?--break--Centric Air are innovators when it comes to attic ventilation, and their intense research and precision engineering really shows in this top quality whole house fan.--break--Thanks to its sturdy mounting brackets that cut down on noise, this fan offers some of the quietest, not to mention most efficient, performance on the market.--break--Finally, we always like to see when a manufacturer stands behind its product, and centric air meets the mark with its 10-year fan motor warranty, and 3-year parts warranty.
Our Top Pick
Our Top Pick
QA Deluxe 5500
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High End Pick
High End Pick
QuietCool QC eS-5400
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Best Budget Pick
Best Budget Pick
Cool Attic 2-Speed Whole House Fan
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QuietCool QC CL-2250
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Tamarack Technologies HV1000
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What Are Whole House Fans?
Whole house fans are a great way to supplement your air conditioning in order to save big money on your monthly energy bill.
Whole house fans are specialist appliances that, when properly installed, are able to expel hot air from inside your home, and replace It with cooler, fresh air from outside.
Because they offer air exchange, they are at their most effective when the inside temperature exceeds the outside temperature.
They employ a high power fan that is usually mounted in the space between your home’s interior and your attic.
The simple principle of their operation is that they pull in fresh air from the outside, while venting out the warm air up into the attic and out of the various vents in your roof, soffit, eaves, and gable.
What Are The Different Types Of Whole House Fans?
Whole house fans are available in two different and distinct categories – ducted and ductless.
Keep reading to learn more!
Ducted Whole House Fans
Ducted whole house fans are a more recent invention, and are the most popular type on sale today.
Because they run a section of wide bore ducting, they allow the effects of the fan to reach further into the home, meaning you can keep the fan itself further away, keeping noise out of your living spaces.
Further reducing noise and vibration, ducted fan units are typically suspended from the roof by way of strops.
Ductless Whole House Fans
Non-ducted, or ductless fans are still fairly common, but are seen as old technology by many.
The housing for the fan unit is mounted in your attic on the ceiling joists.
They require that you cut a hole through the interior ceiling and install a grill to cover the fan blades.
Ductless fans are either supplied with direct drive motors, or belt driven motors.
Direct drive motors are more powerful as their torque is applied directly to the fan, but belt driven motors tend to be more inexpensive and often quieter, will less vibration.
How do Whole House Fans Work?
Whole house fans work on the principles of fluid dynamics.
Don’t worry, when we say fluid, that applies to gases, like air, too!
When an area of negative pressure exists, gases from areas of high (or higher) pressure will move to the area of lower pressure in order to create an equilibrium.
In the case of the whole house fan, the act of drawing air out of your home and into the attic by forced ventilation starts to decrease the overall air pressure inside the living space, and increase the pressure in the attic.
Once you open windows or doors within your home, you are then allowing high pressure air from outside to enter in an attempt to equalize the vacuum.
As this is happening, the warm air from your home that was drawn into the attic continues to build in pressure until it is forced out of the ducts and vents in the soffits, gables, and roof ridge.
This movement of air has a net cooling effect, which will be readily apparent throughout your home.
Top tip! In order to work effectively, make sure you leave a sufficient ventilation space around the fan in your attic.
If you cram items around it, it won’t have enough space in order to work properly, and you won’t get optimum performance from your fan.
What Do You Look For In The Best Whole House Fans?
As whole house fans are fairly simple devices, there aren’t a whole lot of fancy features to look out for. Instead, you should look for well-made fans that do the basics well – read on to learn more.
When it comes to overall construction, make sure that all components fit flush, and that there is no play (wobbly parts), and no rattles.
These are high RPM fans, and any kind of extra undesirable movements will cause vibration and noise.
Vibration isn’t only irritating, excess vibration over prolonged periods will cause early and potentially catastrophic failure of your fan.
Having a remote control means you won’t have to go into the attic in order to turn on your whole house fan. Remotes can be wall mounted, wireless, or even app based.
Adjustable Fan Speed
Having control over the fan speed will allow you greater control over the airflow within your home, and this is essential for maintaining a comfortable temperature.
Maximum Cubic Feet per Minute
Look for fans that offer higher cubic feet per minute. They will move more air and provide a greater overall cooling effect. You’ll often see this represented as CFM.
Look for whole house fans that have BPI (Better Performance Institute), UL certification or similar.
UL, or Underwriter Laboratories is a third party testing and certification company that provides internationally recognized, standardized testing for safety in electrical devices and appliances.
UL certification is a sign that a product has undergone rigorous testing and has been found to be safe.
The Best Whole House Fans Reviewed
QA Deluxe 5500 (Our Top Pick)Check on Amazon
Our best overall designation went to this excellent whole house fan from QA Deluxe.--break--This is a high velocity fan designed for 2 story homes up to 3400 square feet, or single story homes up to 2400 square feet.--break--The fan motor is supplied with a 10 year warranty, while the other parts get 3 year limited warranties.--break--Installation is easy, and thanks to the clever engineering employed, it can fit between 16 and 24 in on-center joints, and there is no framing required.--break--This fan delivers a true 3945 CM when provided with the required 4.5 square feet of attic ventilation.
- Comes with wireless remote control--break--Energy efficient--break--Cloth lined acoustic ducting for noise reduction
- Vertical wall mount requires separate purchase--break--Fan unit is heavy--break--Mounting bracket bushings require maintenance to prevent drying
QuietCool QC ES-5400 (High End Pick)Check on Amazon
The QuietCool ES is an impressive whole house fan that offers incredible performance in a well-made package.--break--It’s suitable for large attics up to 2700 square feet, and can move an astonishing 5422 cubic feet of air per minute for rapid cooling.--break--It’s made with heavy duty steel, and the computer balanced fan blades provide smooth, quiet operation.--break--This unit is powered by an ultra energy-efficient motor that allows the fan to run at maximum velocity while using less energy than average for a fan of this size.--break--It’s backed up by an industry leading 10 year warranty, and offers rapid return on investment thanks to its ability to effectively supplement air conditioning systems.
- Whisper quiet--break--Low operating costs--break--Up to 22 air exchanges per hour
- WiFi hub requires additional purchase--break--Mounting frame is difficult to install flush--break--Large size
Cool Attic 2-Speed Whole House Fan (Best Budget Pick)Check on Amazon
Sometimes all you need is the basics, and this Cool Attic whole house fan certainly delivers on those.--break--This was our best value winner, and considering its low price, it offers excellent performance.--break--The direct drive motor turns a 24 inch blade that provides powerful cooling for up to 1800 square feet.--break--This is a durable fan, with a powder coated finish for excellent corrosion resistance, and thanks to the well-engineered bracing system, the motor mount is held firmly in place, reducing both vibration and noise.--break--As far as air movement goes, this fan can shift up to 4600 CFM when given the requisite 8-10 square feet of exhaust area.
- 2 Speed 1/3HP motor--break--UL Certified/Listed--break--10 Year limited warranty
- Fan blade balance can vary from fan to fan--break--Mounting hardware uses unusual square head bolts--break--Shipping materials could be better, risking damage
QuietCool QC CL-2250Check on Amazon
This is another high tech whole house fan from QuietCool although this model is from their Classic Line.--break--It’s equipped with a self-contained duct system that assists with the reduction of noise and damping of vibration.--break--It features a system that works with barometric pressurized gravity dampers to ensure that no cooling or heat is lost between the attic and the living space while the fan is not in use.--break--This model is equipped with a high efficiency permanent split capacitor motor. They aren’t quite as high end as the QuietCool brushless motors, but they offer excellent performance at a great price.--break--The CL-2250 can shift up to 2250 CFM in spaces up to 1100 square feet.--break--One of the very best features of any QuietCool fan is the customer support – they have excellent follow up to questions, and they provide lots of installation instruction videos and easy to follow explanations of how the fans work.
- Excellent Value--break--Costs pennies per hour to run--break--QuietCool provide lots of resources
- Grill design could be better--break--Installation requires 2 people--break--Some users had issues with packaging
Tamarack Technologies HV1000Check on Amazon
Finally, the HV1000 from Tamarack Technologies.--break--This is one of the best ductless fans around, offering 1000 CFM of air movement, and R38 insulation installed on its doors to prevent the loss of cool air in the summer or warm air in the winter.--break--These doors open automatically when then fans are running, then seal shut when they stop.--break--It comes with detailed instructions for fast and easy installation in both horizontal and vertical setups.--break--Unlike the other models we looked at, the HV1000 has a dual fan setup.--break--This offers a lot of benefits when it comes to noise reduction and vibration damping – even the smallest imperfections on a large fan are easily felt in terms of vibration and noise, but by replacing 1 large fans with 2 smaller units, those effects are reduced, making it a much quieter system.
- Reduces unwanted thermal loss into the attic--break--Low vibration--break--Easy to install
- Lower CFM than others we reviewed--break--Underpowered motor--break--Price is high compared to performance
Final Thoughts On The Best Whole House Fans
The best way to imagine the operation of a whole house fan is to picture yourself getting into your car on a hot day.
Chances are the first thing you do is to roll down the windows to get fresh air in and the hot air out, right?
Once you’ve done that, then you turn on the air conditioning.
This is exactly how you should use a whole house fan.
By using one of these fans to pre cool your home before turning on air conditioning, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year in energy bills.