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Do Your Home’s Ventilating Fans Work to Your Advantage?

Published on: July 31, 2012

Most homes have at least one ventilating fan and many homes have two or more fans. Ventilating fans can work to your advantage if you remember to use them for the appropriate purpose. For example, most bathrooms have a ventilating fan. The reason for the fan is to rid the air of moisture after someone takes a bath or shower. The warm water that is used during a show or bath will dissipate into the air, making the air in the bathroom moisture-heavy, or more commonly known as “humid.” This is why the bathroom mirrors will fog while the shower is running.

Using the ventilating fan in the bathroom pulls the humidity out of the air. The bathroom fan is a great example of how any ventilating fan works to remove moisture from the air of the home. Many HVAC professionals will advise their customers to avoid showering, using the oven or drying clothes during the hottest hours of the day to improve the energy efficiency of their air conditioner. This advice is provided because these activities add humidity to the air. When the home’s air is humid, the air conditioning system must work extra hard to remove the moisture from the air and cool the home.

Ventilating fans in other rooms will also work to your advantage and increase the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. For instance, ventilation in the laundry room will extract humid air when washing and drying clothes. Chances are, you also have some form of ventilation over your kitchen range. Did you know that running the ventilating fan over your range will extract hot and humid air while cooking on the stove or baking in the oven? Using ventilation while performing those tasks around the home that tend to add humidity to the air will work to your advantage and make your air conditioning system more energy efficient. You may also extend the life of your air conditioning unit, as well, by using the existing ventilation systems in your home in an intelligent way.

Whole-House Fans for Ventilation

Whole-house fans are large fans mounted in the attic to ventilate the entire house. In milder climates, whole-house ventilating fans pull moisture out of the home through the attic and cool the home. Whole-house ventilation is often a substitute for air conditioning in the northern regions of the U.S. However, if you live in regions that tend to have high temperatures in the summer, or areas that are humid, whole-house fans are not necessarily beneficial for the home. If you live in an area where pollen is abundant, whole-house fans may pull the pollens into the home. For homes in cooler climates, where the temperature is mild in the evenings, whole-house ventilating fans are one way to save money on air conditioning costs.

If you live in an area where a whole-house fan would be feasible, you can save a considerable amount of money on utility bills by using the fan in the evenings and at night instead of the air conditioning unit. However, for those areas where the temperatures are hot and the air is humid, these fans may pump the expensive conditioned air out of the home. In this case, these fans do not prove to be energy efficient.

Ventilation for Energy Efficiency

Many HVAC experts advise clients to refrain from performing activities that will add humidity to the air while running the air conditioner during the hottest times of the day. Changing a few household habits will keep the home at cooler temperatures and put less demand on the AC system during the hours when the temperature is highest. This means that if you get into the habit of doing laundry, taking showers and using the range or oven early in the day or after the sun goes down, the demand placed on your AC system is much lighter than if you don’t pay attention to the time of day when these activities are performed. However, there are times when you cannot avoid taking a shower or washing clothes when the temperatures are highest. If you must take a shower or do your laundry when the air conditioner is working at peak levels, remember to use ventilating fans to remove the heat and humidity from the air. This will lighten the cooling load for the AC system.

Ventilating fans can work to your advantage to make your home more energy efficient. Changing a few habits and making a conscious effort to reduce activities that add humidity to the air during the hottest times of the day will improve the overall energy efficiency of your home. The more energy efficient your home, the more money you will save on your utility bills. Every step you take to conserve energy is more money in your pocket in the long run.