According to the Department of Energy, ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool your home.
Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home. Natural ventilation will suffice for cooling in many cases, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, like ceiling fans and window fans. For large homes, homeowners might want to investigate whole-house fans.
There are three basic ventilation strategies—natural ventilation, spot ventilation and whole-house ventilation.
- Natural Ventilation
A simple way to create natural ventilation is to open windows to create a cross breeze. It also involves avoiding heat buildup during the day. When possible, avoid activities like cooking, dishwashing and laundry during the hottest parts of the day. These activities add heat and humidity to your home. If you have air conditioning, take advantage of cooler nights and mornings by turning off your system and opening windows.
- Spot Ventilation (Circulating fans)
Circulating fans include ceiling fans, table fans, floor fans, and fans mounted to poles or walls. These fans create a wind chill effect that will make you more comfortable in your home, even if it’s also cooled by natural ventilation or air conditioning. Window fans use relatively little electricity and can provide sufficient cooling for homes. Using spot ventilation can help keep your home cool during hot days. But remember to turn off fans when you leave the room—fans cool people, not rooms. Spot ventilation also includes the use of exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms.
- Whole-House Ventilation
A whole house fan provides ventilation by pulling air in through the windows and exhausting it through a home’s attic and roof. These systems use one or more fans and duct systems to lower indoor temperatures. To ensure proper sizing and safety, these systems should be installed by a professional.
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