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Bathroom Fans

Bathroom exhaust fans are desirable in any bathroom, and they are required in bathrooms that have no windows or a window that can't be opened. On the topic of bathroom ventilation, click this link if you would like to read more about bathroom windows.

Bathroom fans should exchange the air in a bathroom completely every five minutes. In addition to keeping the air fresh, they also help inhibit the growth of mildew and other fungi that easily breed in a bathroom.

Fans can be noisy, so listen to the model you are buying before you bring it home.

Before installing your bathroom fan or beginning any electrical work, be sure you have the required permits. Failure to do so is illegal and may invalidate your homeowner's insurance. If you are not comfortable or capable installing your own bathroom fan, click here to get matched to a Handyman.

Many changes will be dictated by electrical code, for example, the number of outlets per circuit or use of special GFCI outlets in bathrooms or kitchens. Your service professional should be familiar with these codes.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a smart solution to achieving a comfortable, energy efficient home. In fact, ceiling fans have been helping to provide relief from the heat since the 1860s. They help to circulate warm air during the winter and cool air during the summer.

Ceilings Fans and Energy Efficiency: Ceiling fans increase the energy efficiency of your home in two ways. In the summer a fan makes a room more comfortable thanks to the air movement it creates. That simple fact makes it possible to set the A/C higher than if fans weren't installed.

In the winter, on the other hand, your fan serves another purpose altogether. Warm air from your furnace rises and collects at the ceiling, where it doesn't do you much good. By flipping the switch on your ceiling fan so it turns the other direction, you eliminate the stiff breeze it creates, but still benefit from the air circulation it provides. All that warm air up at the ceiling is conveniently recirculated throughout your home.

Ceiling Fan 101: The larger the fan, the more air it will move. The faster the fan, the more air it will move. More blades, bigger blades, steeper fan blade pitch, and more powerful motors provide you with the greatest air movement. From a design perspective, fans typically have three, four or five blades. They can be made from a variety of materials: wood, composite, vinyl. The blades can be painted or veneered, and come in so many styles that there's sure to be a ceiling fan out there to catch your fancy.

Ceiling Fans and Placement: First of all, a fan should be installed in the center of a room, where it can provide the widest area of circulation, though be careful that blade tips are at least two feet from walls or sloped ceilings. You can mount your fan flush or suspended from a drop rod, depending on how high your ceilings are. In order to avoid injury, however, you're well advised not to mount your fan lower than seven feet from the floor. Any lower than that and you could lose a finger or two stretching when you stand up from the couch.

Ceiling Fan Installation: Fans can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer, though since installation involves working with electricity it's important that you understand basic electrical work and safety before you tackle this job. If you have any doubts about your ability to get it done safely, you can hire just about any handyman or small contractor to come in and install your new fans for you. If you do install fans yourself, be sure to cut all power at the breaker box before you begin, and remember that ceiling fans require solid support. Their heavy weight and centrifugal motion strains hangers, so they should never be mounted to conventional ceiling fixture boxes. Other than that there's not much to it. Some basic wiring, attaching the fan to the box, and you're in business. All you'll have to do is balance the blades, so that your ceiling fan runs smoothly, and provides with the comfort and improved energy efficiency you expect

For more information, see the HomeTips Ceiling Fans Buying Guide

Whole House Fans

You know you want to make your air conditioning system more energy-efficient, but the cost of removing and installing an entirely new system can often be prohibitively expensive. If this is the case, you should be looking at auxiliary installations that can work in conjunction with your current system, improving performance without the expense of a total remove and replace project. Whole house fans are one of the best supplemental systems available.

How Whole House Fans Work: A whole house fan works by quickly pulling in large amounts of fresh cool air from outside and circulating it through the house. Meanwhile, the hot air gets pushed out the attic in minutes. If the temperature outside drops from 85-degrees to 75-degrees in two hours, for example, the air in the house will take about four hours to drop that much.

Whole house fans can do the job in less than half that time. Since it pushes air out the attic, it also cools the attic and reduces heat gain in the house. So by turning on your fan in the cool morning hours, you can bring in comfortable air, then close up the house and avoid the searing heat of summer. Turning it on again in the evening ensures all day comfort on all but the very hottest days.

Advantages of Whole House Fans: In milder climates, whole house fans can eliminate the need for central air conditioning altogether. This can allow you to focus on installing an efficient heating system for your home, such as radiant flooring. Even if you need something more than whole house fans during the summer, the fans will greatly reduce the stress and need for high performance from your current air conditioning system.

The operating cost of a whole house fan is about one-tenth that of air conditioning and should enable you to cut your electricity usage by 80 percent. The fans typically draw 400 to 600 watts of electricity, operating for eight cents or less per hour. Therefore, under the right circumstances a whole house fan can ventilate an entire house on the electricity an air conditioner would use to cool one room.

Whole House Fan Installation: A whole house fan can be wired into an existing electrical circuit and most fans are designed to go in easily, requiring no cutting of trusses. Direct-drive whole house fans are available at home centers for do-it-yourself installation, but these are noisier and less efficient than belt-driven models, making them inappropriate for medium and larger homes. You'll also need to determine what size fan is appropriate for your home. Fans between 24 and 36 inches in diameter are usually the standard and whether you need a bigger or smaller fan depends on the size of your home.

Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Most everybody knows the advantages of indoor ceiling fans—the reduced energy bills, the pleasant breeze it creates, and just the ambiance it can create over a kitchen table. Few people realize, though, that some these advantages and different ones also come with installing an outdoor ceiling fan. These ceiling fans are built to create downward drafts, just like their indoor counterparts. Flying insects find it difficult to fly in this draft. More than just the summer heat, no longer having to constantly swat at bugs while dining on your patio is often the reason people choose to install an outdoor ceiling fan.

A Different Fan Altogether: Don't think that difference in outdoor and indoor ceiling fans is nothing but a name. Outdoor ceiling fans must endure the humidity, the sun, wind, and the heat and cold of the elements. Metal hangings designed for a home's interior can rust. A basic attachment that would be more than adequate inside may cause the sway that ceiling fans are known for. Unless you know the particulars of installing an outdoor ceiling fan, it's best to call your handyman.

Your Choices: Ceiling fans were invented at the end of the 19th century and have gone through several different reincarnations. People have appreciated their decorative value since their inception, meaning the options for the appearance of your ceiling fan are nearly endless. You can have a fan that imitates a plane, the motor blades of a boat, a bird's wings, or anything else you can thing of that goes flap. The fan's blades and casement can be wood, metal, plastic or a few other less common alternatives. Retro-fans can imitate the décor of previous centuries if that's what you need to match the theme of your patio furniture.

Most outdoor ceiling fans also have overhead lights. These lights are as numerous as the fans themselves. They can imitate the reflected light of a chandelier or can be encased in the latest style of contemporary art. Whatever you want, it can be done is probably already available. The overhead light is especially useful in an outdoor setting. In fact, many people need outdoor lighting for their patio and realize the benefit of installing a light and a ceiling fan in tandem.

The Tropical Ceiling Fan: One of the most popular outdoor ceiling fans is the tropical ceiling fan. Although you can also choose one for inside your home, the tropical ceiling fan is especially adept in an outdoor setting. The wider blades create a larger draft that can be necessary for the open air. These wide blades usually take on the appearance of plants or palm fronds making this fan a favorite of people who live on the beach. If you're looking into kinds of ceiling fans for your patio, this is definitely a good place to start.

Attic Fans

During the hot summer months, attic temperatures can reach up to 160 degrees, and even though passive cooling systems, such as ridge vents, can certainly disperse the heat, more efficient ventilation can be attained through the use of attic fans. Though these fans can certainly cool down your attic, they have a much broader function: whole house ventilation.

In the Attic: During the summer, your attic acts as a giant radiator, retaining heat which can end up ruining your stored possessions. This built-up heat can also spill over into the rest your home, causing your utility bills to steadily climb. In the winter, although the attic is certainly cooled off, moisture can eventually build up on the interior of the roof, creating havoc on your household structure (mildew, mold, peeling paint, decaying shingles, warped beams and floorboards). Since you don't want to waste energy by heating or cooling your attic, the most efficient way to solve these problems is simple ventilation.

Even though natural ventilation can alleviate a lot of problems, attic fans can increase the air flow by pulling in air outside of your home and pushing it out through attic vents. Just as with central air conditioners, when the air in the attic hits a certain pre-set temperature, the fan will pull in cooler external air and push out the warmer air at a faster rate than passive ventilation systems that normally have to wait until the air gets so hot that it expands and slowly floats out through the vents on its own. For the winter months, these fans can also come with a humidistat that can pull moisture out of the air in order to prevent dampness.

Whole House Fan: These fans not only cool off your attic, they can be designed to ventilate your entire house. Central air can be very expensive and inefficient. Plus, if you live in an older house without central air, why spend all that money on new units and duct work when attic fans can to the job for you. These fans are often installed in hallways and work on the same principle: by opening up your windows, they pull in the cooler outside air, move it quickly throughout your home, and release it through your attic, thereby cooling the entire house without all the extra costs. Of course it takes electricity to operate the fan, but it uses substantially less than central air; and if you want to avoid additional energy costs, you may want to look into the newest innovations in ventilation systems.

Solar Attic Fans: A solar attic fan is the newest invention in the heating and cooling industry. They are installed on the roofs of most homes and by collecting natural energy from the sun they can power a whole house fan with the same efficiency as electrical units. Since they run on natural resources, they cut down on utility costs, are more environmentally friendly, and don't take up as much room in the home. They only operate when the sun is shining, but since removing excessive heat is usually the number one task of any attic fan, this is usually not a problem.

When it comes to ventilating your attic, always consult a professional. Though one fan is usually sufficient, it all depends on your personal priorities: cost, efficiency, and function. Do you want additional energy savings? Do you have a bigger attic to ventilate? Are you concerned about just the upstairs or the entire house? Are solar attic fans right for you? These questions can be better answered by consulting an experienced contractor who can impart expert advice and ensure quality installation.

Ceiling Fans Keep You Cool.

Is your home excessively hot in the summer and cold in the winter? In response to the fluctuating temperature, do you crank up the air conditioning and furnace? If so, you're probably accumulating large energy bills for your home. One of the best solutions to these heating and cooling problems are ceiling fans because they not only save you money and offer relief, but they can also add a stylish look to your home's dé'cor.

Design and Style: Since all fans provide some kind of relief, the first thing you may want to consider is style. They come in a large variety of colors, sizes, and materials and offer many different forms of motor housings, blade types, and lighting units. Do you want you fan to be invisible? Do you want it to pop out and be on display? Do you want it to blend in with the rest of your home's look? When in the market for a fan make sure to at least consult a professional who may be able to give you fashion tips as well as more practical advice about efficiency, durability, and size.

Also, don't forget lighting. Many fans come with an assortment of different lighting systems that can add to their elegance. The newest trend is "uplighting," which mounts units facing toward the ceiling and offers a soft and subtle cast of light throughout the room.

Operating Systems: An important component to research in ceiling fans is the motor. Motor power determines how fast a room is cooled, but larger motors can also create a lot of extra noise and expend more energy, increasing its short-term and long-term costs. There a variety of motors out there and a lot depends on the amount of use the fan is going to get. So always make sure to you select the appropriate size motor that will fit your room's specific needs.

Blades are another important factor when selecting a ceiling fan. They also come in an infinite number of styles and sizes, so make sure you pick the right blade to fit your needs. Most of this depends on where you are going to install the fan. If indoors, the main thing to look for is pitch: at what angle is the blade situated in relation to the ground. A lot of this hinges on the motor size of the fan, and don't fall into the trap of thinking that a steeper pitch provides more cooling: steeper pitches may be trying to compensate for weaker motors. But if you're placing your fan outside, make sure that the blades are sealed for moisture. Many blades come with damp ratings (for bathrooms or kitchens) and wet ratings (for patios), so make sure to look at these moisture scores before buying.

Accessories Available: Many ceiling fans today come with remote controls or wall units for your convenience. Though all fans come with a pull-chain for adjustments, these remote accessories are able to control the rotation and speed of your fan from a distance. Some fans come with dimmer controls that, like lights, can slowly regulate the speed of the blades. However, these dimmers can create a perpetual hum in the motor. Therefore, to avoid any excess noise, try to choose a remote that has 3-4 separate speed settings.

Efficiency Tips for additional savings:

Energy Star: Buying an Energy Star qualified fan means that the unit has been approved for energy savings. These fans (and lighting units) are about 50% more efficient than traditional fans, helping to save the environment and your budget.

Turn It Off: Contrary to popular opinion, fans don't cool rooms; they cool down people in rooms. So to save on your energy bills, turn the fans off in rooms that are not be used.
All-Year Savings: Fans can be used in both summer and winter. In the winter, simply reverse the blade rotation. This allows the rising warmed air in your home to re-circulate the room for added comfort.

Replacement Parts: Since fans run all year, make sure you have parts that are easily replaceable. Even if you buy the most efficient, durable fan, they will need maintenance at some point. So by having replacement parts readily available, you'll be able to quickly fix the problem without inconvenience.
By creating a wind-chill effect, ceiling fans have been known to drop room temperature's down by ten degrees. This allows you to set your thermostat at a higher setting during these hot, summer months, yet still be able to cool down your home and ultimately your utility bill.

Solar Attic Fans

Having a properly vented attic keeps your home cooler, your utility bills lower (since you won't have to run the AC as much), and helps combat the harmful effects of condensation buildup which can lead to rot, mold, and mildew. Traditionally, passive ventilation and electrical attic vent fans have been used to address this issue and keep a flow of fresh air circulating through the attic space. Recently, however, the solar powered attic fan has started to catch on as a near perfect solution for this task.

Harnessing the Power of the Sun: A solar powered attic fan works pretty much like you'd expect it to. The fan itself is installed near the ridge of your home's roof, and is then connected to a set of low powered photovoltaic solar cells that provide the fan with enough electricity to get the fan spinning when the sun is shining. More often than not, these cells are installed directly onto the outside of the fan housing, though if your fan is being installed in a shady area you can opt to place the solar cells in a different area that gets more regular, and direct, sunlight. Once installed, your solar attic fan will kick on whenever the sun is out, drawing fresh air up through your soffit vents and blowing hot, stale and humid air up and out of your attic at the same time.

No Wiring, No Switches, No Worries: One of the big benefits of a solar powered attic fan is ease of installation. Since its energy source is the sun, you won't have to worry about running any wiring, installing downstairs switches, installing thermostats, or making sure the whole thing is up to code as you would with electrically powered vent fans. The only thing you'll have to worry about is where to install it on your roof. Make sure you put it (or the solar cells) in a place where they'll get the most direct sunlight possible, however. Remember, good attic ventilation is important year round, and your fan will only run at optimal efficiency if you make sure your solar cells are getting maximum exposure to sunlight. Installing it in a shady area will drop the power it receives, and subsequently the amount of air it is able to circulate through your attic.

Solar Attic Fans Are Virtually Maintenance Free: Besides ease of installation, the other reason many homeowners are seeing the light when it comes to solar attic fans is the fact that they require almost no maintenance once installed. The photovoltaic cells can provide the fan with power for up to 50 years without being replaced, meaning once you get it installed it pretty much takes care of itself. And since it's not drawing electricity from your home, you're also saving money. Solar powered attic fans cost a little more initially, but when you consider the fact that they are self-powered, and have the potential to significantly reduce your energy costs as well, it's easy to see why this is one home improvement task that pays for itself in time.

If you're interested in installed a solar attic fan, talk to a contractor or solar products retailer about what it will take to get these environmentally friendly, economically wise attic fans installed in your home.
 

 

   

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