The Multiple Uses of Fans

When you think of a fan, what comes to mind? Fan, like groupie – someone who follows a rock band around from city to city? Or perhaps the kind of traditional paper fan favored by Japanese women for centuries? And then there’s always the fan synonymous with baseball strike out.

All good answers, but none of them the subject of this blog. Here, the focus is on the kind you use indoors (mostly) to cool off, vent steam from your stove top, or for other practical purposes.

Whether you’re dealing with an overall lack of airflow, a steamy bathroom, or a stuffy attic, there is a fan for the job.

Ceiling Fans

One of the most common types, ceiling fans are mounted to a ceiling and circulate air to help cool you off in the summer and, when run in reverse on low, can help keep you warm come winter. What’s more, most models feature a built-in light fixture and are available in a wide range of design options.

Whole House Fans

Sure, any house can feel stuffy at times. But if yours suffers from a serious lack of airflow, a whole house fan just might do the trick. These fans are typically mounted in the highest ceiling of a home, usually between the top floor and attic. They pull fresh air from outside in through open windows. That air is then pushed into the attic and out through ridge vents. In addition to circulating fresh air, they are extremely effective at cooling a home at night when the temp outdoors is cooler than within.

Attic Fans

Often confused with whole house fans, attic fans are installed through an attic wall, window, or vent to push out the hot air that can build up in an attic. This helps cool your indoor air and prevents mold while extending the life of roofing materials.  

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

While a hot steamy shower might feel divine, enjoying one day after day can cause serious harm to your bathroom, including loosening wallpaper and drywall tape, creating a slippery surface, fostering mold growth, and rusting metal hardware. A bathroom exhaust fan can help prevent all that. Installed in bathroom ceilings, exhaust fans use a small duct to vent warm, moist air outside. For best results, run the fan during a shower or bath and keep it on for at least 10 minutes after.

Kitchen Exhaust Fans

Maybe your kitchen doesn’t get as steamy as your bathroom, but all that boiling and cooking can produce enough steam to damage walls and ceilings while encouraging mold growth. An exhaust fan installed in a range hood or attached to the underside of a built-in microwave can vent the steam outside. Also, should your meal not turn out as planned, a fan can draw out burning odors and smoke from fats, oil, and grease before fouling the air you breathe.  

Energy Recovery Ventilators

Heating and cooling systems typically recycle the same indoor air, which can be filled with allergens and pollutants. Energy Recovery Ventilators (or ERVs), installed between sections of air ducts, draw stale air from within and push it outside while pulling in fresh air to feed the AC system. Such fans are best suited for central air and forced hot air systems.

Heat Recovery Ventilators

Like an ERV, a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) is a great option for homes which typically don’t suffer from dry winter air or are already equipped with in-line humidifiers. The biggest difference between the two types is that ERVs retain both temp and moisture; an HRV mixes the temperature of outgoing air with incoming air, warming it as it passes.

Yes, certain types of fans can aid with home heating and cooling. But you won’t enjoy the full effect unless your HVAC systems are in top working. To achieve that, contact Air Professionals today to schedule preventive maintenance for your heating or cooling system, especially if it’s been a year or longer since service was last provided.