“Will a whole house fan work in my climate?” has become a common question. Its growth in frequency corresponds with the growth of the advanced whole house fan itself. As these cooling systems become more popular, more people in unique climate zones will inquire about them.
To simplify this perpetual Q&A, here is a list of every climate zone in the world and how a whole house fan would work in that climate:
POLAR AND TUNDRA
Polar climates are the unlikeliest of locales. They are mostly a frozen wasteland with long and dark winters. They only have a few months worth of non-freezing temperatures which is not exactly an indication that those months are anything but cold.
A whole house fan would only be used to pull the rare warm air into the home during “warmer” days. However, it is highly likely a whole house fan would never make it to this type of climate. Heaters, fires, and plenty of blankets should be the heating alternative.
Boreal forests are likely the second or third worst climate to own an advanced whole house fan. These tundras stretch across much of northern Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia. Temperatures fall below freezing about half the time and the average sits around just 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
Advanced whole house fans could again be used to pull the hot air inside. Mostly needing to be used during the hottest point of the day to lessen the amount of time a heater is run. The days that would be hot enough for this to make sense, however, are likely few and far between.
Mountains could be suitable whole house fan climates. The increased altitude does not affect a whole house fan and the abundance of clean crisp air makes for an ideal breeze. Depending on how high up a mountain someone is, and, in turn, how cold it is, a whole house fan could work very well.
Many mountainous regions reach degrees Fahrenheit of up to 70 and 80. Bringing in that crisp cool air in the morning and evening could easily and inexpensively keep a home the perfect temperature. Mountain regions are often pretty wet due to their inclination for snow and rain. Mold and mildew breed like rodents because of this. Being able to air out a home with a whole house fan would be a way to combat these harmful inhabitants and keep a home and its homeowner healthy.
Temperate climates are spread out throughout the United States. They usually have warm summers and cool winters with year-round rain/snow. These climates have deciduous trees and often plenty of greenery. The minor fluctuation of weather makes this a very good place for a whole house fan.
The changes in temperature mean that the nights are often much cooler than the days which is exactly the type of climate that these systems work best in. The cold winters with warmer days mean that turning these systems on during the day would also be optimal. The only slight issue is the amount of moisture but this just means that the home likely is at risk of mildew build-up as well which a whole house fan is perfect for combating. The air that is sucked out of every home is so moved so rapidly that it manages to dry any residual wet spots.
A Mediterranean climate is also just about ideal for an advanced whole house fan. This type of climate is primarily located in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and in Australia and California. It has very hot and dry summers with cool and wet winters.
Since its makeup is nearly identical to that of the temperate forest with just destination differences, a lot of the same reasons that the temperate is great for whole house fans are why a Mediterranean climate is perfect as well.
One could argue that the desert is the actual perfect location for a whole house fan. Their extreme heat and extreme cold is exactly what a whole house can take advantage of. Every night one would simply need to sweep in that cold air in order to fight off those hot days.
Deserts usually get just 10 inches (250 mm) of rainfall a year so there is not even the worry of moisture of getting into a home like there is in wetter climates. This takes away an advanced whole house fan’s ability to dry a home but it means it can be run more often.
Dry grasslands also fit in the ideal category. These climates are found in the center of continents where temperate variations are extreme. This means, much like with a desert, these areas are perfect for an advanced whole house fan. The only difference is, there is a bit more greenery to enjoy!
Tropical grasslands are somewhere between the desert and tropical rainforests. They have an extremely hot climate but have two definitive seasons; wet and dry. The extremity of the temperature likely means a whole house fan will only really be able to be used during the dry season.
Tropical rainforests are hot wet environments with temperatures mainly the same all year long. The amount of moisture in the air makes this not the ideal place for a whole house fan. For those that are used to humidity, however, it could be just fine.
This is the case because even if it were to cool down at night, that moisture would still hang in the air and inevitably be pulled inside. Pulling moisture into the house is never a great idea but could be suitable for those accustomed.
Every climate is unique and every whole house fan will have a different level of effectiveness based on that climate. Understanding not only if the climate is suitable for a whole house fan but if it is optimal is crucial in figuring out if a whole house fan is right for the homeowner. Overall, whole house fans are useful in nearly every climate. All that needs to be present is a fluctuation of temperature and hopeuflly, minor moisture.