Major Systems

Radio: Whole-House Fans

Warm weather is just around the corner, with its humming air conditioners and skyrocketing electric bills. You may be able to cut both the heat and the expense with a whole-house fan, which cools your home at a fraction of an air conditioner's cost.

Listen to ON WHOLE HOUSE FANS or read the text below:

Whole-house fans work by drawing in cool night air from open windows on lower floors, cycling it through the house and exhausting it through the attic and roof. They work best in regions with low humidity and where the temperature drops at least five degrees at night. If you mostly use your air conditioner overnight, a whole-house fan can save you a lot in energy costs.

Fans are rated by the amount of air they move, measured in cubic feet per minute. Your fan's size will depend on your home's volume and the desired number of air changes each hour, a figure the department of energy puts at between 30 and 60.

One note for allergy sufferers: a whole-house fan pulls in outside air, complete with pollen and dust, so it may not be ideal for you.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on cooling your home, consider:

Really “Cool” Cooling Fans
New Air Conditioning for Old Houses
Quick Tip: Alternatives to Air Conditioning Your Home