Whole House Window Fans Slash Monthly Electric Bills

Updated on May 30, 2019
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Scott S. Bateman is an author, publisher and professional journalist.


A whole house window fan can save hundreds of dollars a year on electric bills with only a small upfront cost and a few minutes of time each day.

We were looking for ways to reduce our monthly electric bills that would require a minimal investment. We settled on an Air King 20-inch whole house window fan after finding out about it through search engine research on how to cut electric bills.

The Air King 9166F 20" Whole House Window Fan costs about $150 and can pay for itself in a matter of a few months. All of the savings afterward are pure profit. Not even the stock market is a better investment.

During our first year of using the product, we reduced our electric bills by more than $400 even when considering differences in temperatures between that year and the previous one.

Fan Specifications

The Air King fan fits window openings that are 27 to 38 inches wide and 26.25 inches high. Although it’s possible to mount the fan directly into a window, we chose instead to put it in the window and take it down each time when we were done using it. It’s worth noting that the fan is somewhat heavy.

Anyone who doesn’t want that minor hassle can mount the fan in the window and use the “storm guard feature” to close the fan opening when the day gets hot. That said, manually putting the fan in the window and taking it out again each day takes advantage of the energy efficiency of a closed window.

Our house has double hung windows that allow us to lift the bottom one, place the fan in that space and then lower that window until it fits snugly on the top of the fan. That way the fan doesn’t tip out of the window.

The fan has three powerful speeds of 1,600, 1,40 and 1,100 revolutions per minute. Depending on the direction the fan points, the power doesn’t just suck air into or out of a single room. It does so for the entire house.

We found that the Air King 20-inch fan was powerful enough to cool our entire 2,400-square-foot house.

How a Whole House Fan Works

A whole house window fan like the Air King saves money on air conditioning costs during warm weather. The fan uses cooler outside air as free and natural air conditioning for the house.

Unlike most fans, a house fan within an open window should point to the outside. Windows in other parts of the house must be open.

When the Air King fan blows outward, its powerful motor pushes air out of the house. At the same time, it pulls new air into the house from the other windows and then out again through the fan.

When the outside temperature is cool, the air that the fan pulls into the house lowers the house temperature below the level of the normal air conditioning setting.

As long as the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature, the house air conditioner stays off. That’s how the fan saves money on air conditioning.

Best Practices for Saving Money

Some simple practices save even more money.

  1. In a two-story house, put the fan in a window on the top floor and open windows on the bottom floor. Air near the ground is cooler.

  2. Put the fan in a window facing the sun and open windows in shade. Again, air in the shade is cooler.

  3. When the outside air temperature rises to a few degrees below the level of the normal air conditioning setting, it is time to turn off the fan and close all of the windows. This traps the cooler air in the house.

The air conditioner remains off until the inside temperature rises to the setting that turns on the air conditioner. Again, this saves more money. Simply put, outside air is cheaper than air conditioning air.

There are two times of the day to turn on the fan:

  1. During the morning when outside temperatures are cooler than house temperatures.

  2. During the evening when outside temperatures have dropped back below the house temperature.

For example, the nighttime temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the daytime temperature is 85 degrees. The house air conditioning is set at 75 degrees.

In this situation, an ideal time to turn on the fan is first thing in the morning such as 6 or 7 a.m. when temperatures are still in the 60s. If the fan stays on long enough, it will push house air at 75 degrees out of the house and pull outside air at 65 degrees into the house until the overall house temperature declines to some point between 65 and 75 degrees. The air conditioner stays off in the meantime.

When temperatures drop below 75 degrees at the end of the day, it’s time to turn the fan back on again and repeat the process of cooling the house to a point below the air conditioning setting. Depending on the outside temperature, the air conditioner might and sometimes does stay off for the entire night.

One final tip: Don't run the fan during high-pollen days. It will pull pollen into the house and trigger quite a few runny noses.

As long as the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature, the house air conditioner stays off. That’s how the fan saves money on air conditioning.

© 2019 Scott S Bateman


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    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      9 months ago

      Peggy, you're quite right about old ideas getting a new life. My mother-in-law also had a whole house attic fan and no air conditioning. Her house was surrounded by trees, which also helped.

      Even during my summer visits, I was never too hot or uncomfortable.

      Needless to say, her electric bills were very low.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 months ago from Houston, Texas

      When my parents moved from Wisconsin to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1960, the first house that we lived in had an attic fan which was permanently installed. It did the same thing. It pulled air from outside into the house, and it exited via the attic. We did not yet have central air-conditioning in that home. There was only one window unit that served to cool the air.

      It is interesting how old concepts are often rediscovered and made new again.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      10 months ago

      Thank you, Mike. I'm like you about enjoying fresh air whenever possible. The fan also can create a light breeze in some parts of the house (like hallways), which is a nice feeling.

      The only downside is that sometimes it can suck a door closed with a bang. Just have to make sure some of those doors stay wide open.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      10 months ago

      This is a good article. As a person who prefers fans over air conditioning one of my motivations is the smell of fresh air from the outside. That is something air conditioning can't provide. Enjoyed reading this.

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      10 months ago

      Thanks, Tessa!

    • TessSchlesinger profile image

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      10 months ago

      I love it!

    • promisem profile imageAUTHOR

      Scott S Bateman 

      10 months ago

      Thanks, Liz! We have been quite happy with how much money it has saved us.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      10 months ago from UK

      This is a great idea. I had not come across this concept before. Thanks for an informative and useful article.


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