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Attic Fans - Do They Really Help Keep Upstairs Cool?

Our upstairs is ridiculously hot. Of course I realize it will always be warmer up there in the summer, but the temperature difference between the two floors is really significant. We keep the upstairs window shades/curtains closed all day, keep fans running & we are all still very uncomfortable sleeping at night. We just had a new air conditioner installed about a year ago & the downstairs is comfortably cool, so I really don't think there is a problem with the unit. Will an attic fan really help keep our upstairs cooler? Just looking for a few "testimonials" and if you do think one is worth it, a recommendation for a company that sells/installs in the Naperville area would be great. Or if you have any other suggestions that might help (duct cleaning?), that would be wonderful as well. As always, thanks!

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My experience is with the attic fan in my grandmother's house. The house is about 150 years old and has no AC at all, just a giant fan in the attic (maybe 8-10 feet across). If it is cooler outdoors at night it really helps. If it is so hot there is no cooler air to draw in then it is still uncomfortable.

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My experience is with the attic fan in my grandmother's house. The house is about 150 years old and has no AC at all, just a giant fan in the attic (maybe 8-10 feet across). If it is cooler outdoors at night it really helps. If it is so hot there is no cooler air to draw in then it is still uncomfortable.

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I've had an attic fan, sometimes called a whole house fan in all my houses since 1980. When I built and designed my "dream home", It had an attic fan in it.

They reduce the heat tremendously. I turn mine on when the outside air is 10 degrees cooler than the inside air. They also reduce the amount of electricity you use. You should look upstairs and see how much insulation is on your ducts. The thicker the insulation the more efficient your cooling system will be.

Home Depot sells attic fans and they will also install them. I think Lowes will do the same. Almost all home improvement stores sell and install them.

Good luck to you and yours.

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Yes, they really do work. Let me tell you, ours broke about two years ago and we haven't fixed it yet, but are about to. I've noticed the difference in the summer temps in the house; they go up higher faster now that ours is broken.

We have a solar attic fan and it makes going in the attic bearable. I think it also helps in general keep the house more even. Our downstairs is partially underground so it's always cooler there.

Your story sounds very much like our experience with our second floor. And I'm pretty sure you are talking about an attic (exhaust) fan that is installed through the roof ...NOT a whole-house fan that is massive, loud and draws air from the other open windows in the house.

Yes, the attic fan is definitely the first step to helping keep the second story cooler. We had one installed a couple months ago and are definitely noticing a difference -- mostly at night when the sun goes down. Prior to the fan, the upstairs continued to heat up more and more, even after the sun went down. Now that the attic fan is blowing out the hot air from the attic, we are noticing a considerable difference.in the temperature of the bedrooms.

Our next step is to add more insulation to the attic. We got a quote from the same company that installed the attic fan. They were able to estimate how much more would need to be added to make a significant and noticable difference during both the summer and winter. We were very impressed with the company and will follow through on this when the time is right for us.

We used Superior Attic Fans. http://www.superioratticfans.com/ The fans they install are rated the quietest on the market. (We can't hear it at all.) Believe it or not, we found them via Groupon -- and they had an excellent deal ($289 for fan and installation.) If you call, ask them if they would still honor their Groupon pricing. Who knows -- maybe they'll give you the deal!

If you have any other questions, send me a note.
Hope this helps!

We have a ranch and our attic fan does a pretty good job of cooling the whole house. We have window a/c units in the bedrooms but none in the main living areas of the house so it makes a big difference for the main parts of the house during the day.

An attic fan sits in the attic and draws cooler air through the windows and out the vents in the roof. The windows have to be open for it to suck anything out.

We had an attic fan back in the 70's or 80's and I could not feel any difference when it was first turned on. My BIL pointed out the at the curtains were moving and starting to stand out a bit. By the next morning I was wrapped up in 2 blankets and cold. It sucked in all the night air and really cooled off the house during the night.

Part of the issue with sleeping in the hot rooms is that the furniture is hot, the floors are hot, the walls are hot, etc...the air conditioner can't keep it cool if the home it's self is the issue. It sounds like you need to add some window units in the hottest rooms upstairs. The attic fan will help at night but for general cooling the window units will do a better job.

We designed and build our little house years ago to include what's called the "stack effect." Since warm air rises, we have a couple of clerestory windows on our loft that we open at night, when we open downstairs windows. The hot air in the house leaves as cool air is drawn in downstairs, and by midnight, most nights, the house is nice and cool. We shut out the heat early in the day, and don't have to use our heat pump often to cool off.

If you already have ductwork in your house, you might want to consider a heat pump. They are very efficient, and can both cool in the summertime and heat in the winter. My only complaint is that the motor is a bit noisy, but so worth it to know we're getting an economical blast of warm or cool when needed.

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