Tamarack Whole House Fan: Energy Efficient Cooling
For thousands of years humans have concocted inventive ways to make their environments more comfortable. The ancient Romans used aqueduct water to cool their homes. 19th-century Americans designed buildings with awnings, strategically placed windows, large porches, etc., all with the goal of making their homes more comfortable.
But since the 1950's we've become increasingly dependent on the modern air conditioner, a device that's highly effective, yes, but happens to be extremely energy-intensive. That was all well and good when energy sources were cheap, plentiful, and stable. The truth is, those sources are fast becoming less cheap, less plentiful, and less stable. In our opinion, now is as good a time as any to start looking at alternatives.
So what are the energy efficient alternatives to AC? One of the most effective is a whole house fan or an attic fan. After assessing the range of options in the category, we're carrying the American-made Tamarack whole house fans, because they're the best on the market. The Tamarack HV1000 moves air at 1,000 cubic feet per minute, and runs on just 112 watts (just more than one of the incandescent reflector bulbs in your kitchen - don't play innocent). It also features an automatic insulated cover that closes when the fan's not in use, so you don't have to worry about phantom air leakage. We carry both the Tamarack R-22 and the Tamarack R-38 fans, the latter of which is best for northern climates, the former best for those of you in the bright sunny south.
To make the most of a whole house fan, it should be installed in a central location - in a central hallway, or above a staircase - on the top floor of your house. When the sun goes down and the air outside starts to cool off, running the fan for 20 or 30 minutes with the windows open will flush the hot air out of your house. Repeat the process first thing in the morning, while you make your coffee, before it really heats up outside. When you leave for work, make sure the windows are closed and the shades are pulled, and your house should stay plenty cool all day.
If you need to leave it on longer, the 112 watt draw will use a fraction of the energy of a central air conditioning system (which average around 2,000 watts). If you're in a southern climate, a whole house fan can supplement your air conditioning and reduce your costs. If you're in the northern tier, it can eliminate the need for AC altogether. Additionally, whatever climate you live in, it will dramatically improve your indoor air quality.
Installation is remarkably straightforward, but here are some things to keep in mind: a Tamarack will fit between 16" or 24" on center framing. It obviously requires a hole in ceiling and electricity. Care needs to be taken to assure a very tight seal; although the Tamarack does come with foam gaskets, we recommend supplemental foam sealing to assure air tightness (particularly in winter when the fan's not in use). It should also be installed only underneath a ventilated attic - all that hot air needs a place to escape. Installation is definitely within the capability of a reasonably competent do-it-yourself-er, but would be a very quick job for a contractor or handy-person.
Trust us, it feels good to be independent, and innovative. It feels so... American.