Battles between something well known and something more rarely used is not much of a battle at all. Well known items are well known because of the frequency of their use. People then equate their constant usage to their superiority of every other product. This, however, is clearly not always the case as we use items at a developing rate, always exchanging the current for the better.
The differences between a whole house fan and an air conditioner are aplenty but there are some serious misconceptions on the price of these two cooling systems. For one, most homes are already equipped with an air conditioner. They also artificially create a cool environment while whole house fans utilize the cool air that exists at night.
The comparative price of these two systems is hard to pin as they are so reliant on each other. A whole house fan is incredibly cost effective as it can save nearly 90% on the electricity that the air conditioner typically uses. However, a whole house fan is not always the perfect cooling system to use. If the temperature outside never falls to a decently cool number then a whole house fan will no longer be effective like an air conditioner.
Despite this, that is the case for a very limited time of the year. So, the use of an air conditioner would still be much lower than usual when owning a whole house fan, in turn, saving buckets of money on electricity. A whole house fan could even begin to start saving the owner money through the years as most make the money back on electricity that they had spent on the whole house fan in the first place. Despite the initial cost which causes many to believe that whole house fans are more expensive, that cost could fall to 0 in a few years after owning.
The air conditioner, meanwhile, is added to the cost of most homes and will never pay for itself as it eats up a plethora of energy and saves you absolutely nowhere on cost as it has no good comparative.
So, deciphering which of these is cheaper is not an easy answer but whole house fans are the only ones that will definitely save money while the air conditioner will only cost someone more and more through the years. The clear advantage seems to be to the whole house fan.