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A whole-house fan is a type of fan, or exhaust system commonly venting into a building's attic, designed to circulate air in a home or building. It is sometimes confused with a powered attic ventilator, which exhausts hot air from the attic to the outside through an opening in the roof or gable at a low velocity.
A whole-house fan pulls air out of a building and forces it into the attic space. This causes a positive pressure differential in the attic forcing air out through the gable and/or soffit vents, while at the same time producing a negative pressure differential inside the living areas which draws air in through open windows.
Powered attic ventilators, by comparison, only serve to remove some hot air from the attic.
Whole-house fans were mainly popularized in the Southern United States through the 1950s-60s, as they were much cheaper and easier to find than air conditioners and still removed hot and stale air relatively well.
There are two types of fan:
- Ceiling Mounted: Mounted on ceiling between the attic and living space.
- Ducted: Remotely mounted away from the ceiling; can exhaust heat from multiple locations; operation is extremely quiet.
- Whole House Fan Defined, "http://www.homewyse.com/definitions/whole_house_fan.html"
- Attic Ventilator Defined, "http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/attic+ventilator"