We were able to buy this house because the first person who tried backed out of her deal when she found out it did not have a working heat pump. When we got a quote, we found out it would cost us $5,000-10,000 to get a new system installed. Talk about sticker shock, but we knew it wouldn’t be cheap.
I was okay with owning a house without a heat pump. I grew up in a home without one – my parents didn’t install one until I was away at college (isn’t that how it always works?). I also grew up with a wood stove as our primary heat source and I LOVED IT. After 7 years at the townhouse with a heat pump, I had determined I was not a big fan of a heat pump. The air coming out of it always seemed cold and I could never warm up. I missed the wood stove.
Barry, however, grew up with one and felt like we needed it to regulate the air inside the house – not to make it super cold or super hot, but just make it livable. So, we began to save up for the heat pump. It took us about 3 ½ months. It was actually installed when I was in the hospital with Andy.
I will admit, when 8 months pregnant it’s difficult to live in 90+ degree temperatures in your house. It got hot…and I sweat…a lot. And so, we saved.
In the meantime, Barry’s wonderful aunt got us a housewarming present – a whole house fan. Barry had heard of them and was impressed. I had never heard of them, but I wanted one after he sang their praises.
So, basically it’s a big fan you install in the ceiling in the center of your house. It has attic access. It’s VERY strong. So, you turn on the fan and open the windows. It gives a good breeze all through the house when the temperature allows. Its purpose is to pull in the cooler air from outside the house, forcing the hotter air up into the attic and out roof vents. Make sense?
In other words, when it is cooler outside than inside, open the windows and turn on the house fan. Instant relief. It is AMAZING! I love you, whole house fan!
So, guess what? These fans are a very good way to save money on the cooling in your home. It can save the average family $300 a year in electric bills. Considering a normal fan of this nature costs about $250-400 plus installation, that’s a good return on your money.
How is that? In the morning or at night when it cools down, you turn on the house fan. It brings the cool air in – you run it 15-30 minutes to cool off the inside temperature. This means you’re not relying on a heat pump to do the work.
A house fan is usually used alongside a heat pump – using the heat pump when it’s hot inside and out and you can’t rely on the fan. BUT, you’ll use your heat pump a lot less if you also use the house fan, relying on the whole house fan when it cools down outside.
A whole house fan is more energy efficient because it’s just ONE fan with a small motor – and the air outside is free.
Most new house fans are MUCH quieter than they used to be. Mine doesn’t bother me at all – and it’s only on for a short amount of time. Well worth the payoff. The one we purchased uses a direct drive motor which is a bit noisier than some alternatives, but still not an issue.
NOTE – In the winter, you will need to install a fan cover (usually from the attic side) so that your heat does not escape through the fan into the attic.
Yep – I could have done without that heat pump. Especially since a chimney sweep came and fixed our chimney up for the winter. I’m all set and ready to go!
So – you might consider installing a whole house fan this summer for your home…it will pay off.