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Fans can do an excellent job of keeping your home comfortable during the heat and humidity of summer months.

They create an airflow that keeps you cool by evaporating perspiration. In addition, ventilating and attic fans reduce temperature and humidity by replacing hot indoor air with cooler night air drawn in from outdoors. By adjusting doors and windows, you can route fresh air through any part of the house. Best of all, fans operate at a fraction of the cost of air conditioners.Types of Fans

- A ventilating fan changes the air in a room, either by exhausting it outward or by drawing outside air in. It is the most effective fan for overall cooling of a home. The most popular type of ventilating fan is the box fan. Installed in an open window and set on exhaust, it pulls air through the house from open windows in other rooms. Enclosing the fan with panels improves its efficiency.

When using a ventilating fan, open windows only in rooms you wish to cool. To ventilate a single room that has only a single double-hung window, install the fan on the window sill and press both sashes down on it. Air will be drawn in through the top opening.

- A circulating fan moves the air around within a room, and may be a ceiling fan, a fixed or oscillating fan, or a floor-level hassock-type fan.

A slow-turning ceiling fan used with an air conditioner increases the cooling power of the air conditioner by distributing the cool air evenly. (In winter, reversed to blow upward, a ceiling fan can reclaim heat by returning rising warm air to floor level.)

- There are two types of attic fans. One is installed in an opening cut in the gable just under the roof. The rest of the attic is then sealed except for a louver through the attic floor to the living area below. Indoor air moves into the attic as the fan moves the attic air out.

The other type of attic fan is placed in the ceiling beneath the attic and pulls air directly from the living area into the attic. The attic air then moves outdoors through ventilating louvers, usually in the gable ends.

Attic fans are rated according to how many cubic feet of air the fan can move per minute. To determine the fan size you need, multiply your home's length by its width by the ceiling height (in feet). Then multiply this figure by the number of floors of living space. The result is the number of cubic feet of air that the fan must move. In the southern United States, the fan should be able to handle this total volume once a minute; in the North, the fan should be able to handle two-thirds of the volume each minute.


Always unplug the power cord before cleaning or repairing a fan, and use only factory-authorized parts when replacing a defective component.

1. Every two weeks of use, vacuum a fan with a crevice-cleaning attachment.

2. At least twice during the summer, sponge dirt from the blades, grille and other external parts with a mild detergent solution. Be sure to keep the motor dry.

3. If the owner's manual advises it, put a few drops of light machine oil in the motor's oil hole. As a rule, oil a fan motor before each cooling season.

If the fan does not run, make sure there's power at the outlet. If there is, the fan's power cord may be broken.