Intro: Cooling Your House - Whole Housefan & Attic Fan Combo
I am never home. I have to many thinks to do, hobbies, work, family, a small business we run. we all know it as life. I have the oldest A/C system in the universe. It cost to much to run and it dosent cool the house. I can leave it on all day and I will come home and find it is 84 degrees inside 73 degrees outside. So the A/C is not worth it. We pulled out the fans out of the closet. 2 in each bedroom one in the sliding glass door one in the front door (pushing in or pulling out of the window) and 4 just moving air in the condo. just attempting to bring the cool night air in to our for lack of better words Sweat Lodge. It was time for a change after having to get up in the middle of the night to shower with cool water just to fall back asleep.
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Step 1: Attic Fan
We have great isolation in our attic. R40 is no joke (yes, the access pannel is insolated with R40 as well). Yet as I pushed the access to the attic up I was met with a slap in the face of 100+ degree air. This was just insult to injury. It was only 80 somthing outside and I would have thought the new roof and 6 extra turtle vents would have helped but it didn't. We will get to that in part B of this solution.
Step 2: Measure Attic Access Opening
This is important to select the proper materials for this project. My measurements where 24" x 30". The side to side is the most important. I need at least 3 inches on each side for the fan assembly to rest.
Step 3: Choosing Proper Fan for Square Footage
The math is actually quite simple. its your square footage x ceiling height. My dimentions where 800sqft x 8 foot celings. A 800 square foot house with an 8 foot high ceilings has 6,400 cubic feet of space (800 sq/ft area * 8 ft = 6,400 cubic feet). A good rule of thumb is 3 to 4 times an hour.
Step 4: Go Shopping
Online or your local big box store, It doesn't matter. bring your dimensions both for the space it needs to fit into and the volume of the house. I found a gable fan that was 15" and had 1,500 cfm. (6,400 cu/ft volume of air divided by 1,500 cu/ft of air moved per minute = 4.27 minutes to move that volume of air). Perfect for $80.00!
Step 5: Cut to Size
Cut the wood to the size you measured in step 2.
Step 6: Other Materials (Whole House Fan Only)
1.) The fan you selected
2.) Wood, Big enough for your measurements on your attic access.
3.) Extension cord, long enough to get power to your fan.
4.) Electrical switch/ faceplate, a timer will work as will a auto thermostat. I opted for a switch.
5.) A universal plug
6.) Adhesive weather strip
7.) A handfull of screws short as not to go threw the wood you just bought.
8.) Louvered cover (register/ intake)
9.) Handles (optional)
Step 7: Locate the Center
Simply measure side to side and top to bottom. X marks the spot for your center point.
Step 8: Drill and Cut
Simply drill a hole large enough to slip the blade of your cutting tool into it and cut.
Note: leave 1/4" to 1" space for weather stripping.
Step 9: Use or Remove Attached Thermostat
You can use this thermostat as a control vs. a switch. I removed it for use on the attic fan and oped for the switch.
Step 10: Check/ Make Clearance
My fan has conduit on the side I need facing down. I placed a drill at an angle and slowly chipped away at the wood. and re checked clearance.
Warning: Using any tool in a way it was not intended is dangerous.
Step 11: Brackets
The bracket holes where as already drilled. To bad they are on the wrong side for this application. Grab a bit and a drill and drill new holes.
Step 12: Attach
1.) Center fan on the opening. drill holes threw the bracket, threw the wood. These will be alignment holes on the other side.
2.) Counter sink the holes. I measured the depth of the bit and used the closest tape I could find to mark the proper depth.
3.) While drilling stop at the tape to prevent breaking threw the other side.
Step 13: Attach Grate and Electrical
This is simple. Place plate and grate and trace. Attach Grate with screws. Cut hole to accommodate switch and Electrical Box ( Temporary set up due to heat). Install switch, male prong plug and wire to fan. I also installed handles just to make it easier yo instal and remove.
Step 14: Test Fit
Test Fit. Trace, and Install insulation strip.
Step 15: Louver
I just bought an old sign hanger and all. I cut the sign and the metal and made a simple louver to block some of the attic heat from coming in. Its not necessary but will help. I will do some mods this winter when its not hot.
Step 16: Install
Step 17: On to the Attic
I bought some flashing and a cheep fan from home depot that using the calculations of step 3 this fan is surprisingly overkill, but ill take it.
Step 18: The Build
I had to cut this flashing down to fit the fan. Some Simple ducting tape and the thermostat from number 9 I just rigged this up.
Step 19: Mount
I mounted this attic fan to the underside of the turtle vent in my attic that was easy for me to access. A few very short screws later as not to make the roof leak and some tape and we where in business. I plugged this thing in and immediately I went from dripping sweat to cool and comfortable. This should be done by a electrician. The images you are seeing where just a test and the proper set up. I have had an electrician come out and install the proper sockets for this system. The last image is just a piece of tape backing so you can see the flow of air. Its enough to make it stand on end.