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Inline Fan Speed Controller on a Timer?

Well-Known Member

carbon filter > light > light > fan > exhaust out. is there a controller that adjusts the speed of the fan, lowering sound and power used, on a timer? i dont want to be pulling the same cfm at night when the lights are off, it will be a waste of the filter and electricity.
anyone know of a controller that does this? Or a better way to set this up?

my local hydro shop guy said to put the fan cooling the lights on the same timer as the lights and buy another fan for the carbon filter alone and have it running 24/7 exhausting right inside the grow room. ‘just put the fan on top and leave it inside ur room’ – his quote. will this work? doesnt seem right to exhaust the scrubbed air right back into the grow room. should i do what he suggests?
what do YOU, riu ers, suggest.

Well-Known Member
Active Member

I ran the carbon filter-light-fan-out room, for a LONG time. I hooked it up to the light timer, but then noticed the smell was kickin my ass, so I began to run it 24/7. I called the fan manufacturer I use. Tjernlund, and they said runnning a fan below its speed is hard on the motors. I believe that, so i returned a speed controller I bought from harbor freight(wasnt much quieter at slower speed either). In the end, I ran the fan 24/7 thru my light, and out of the room. The vibration on the unlit bulb sucked ass, but I havent had one fail tooo early yet.

My current setup is outside-light-light-fan-out room, and Im running a carbon filter on a pedestal 24/7. I vent the filter out of the room. I imagine rerouting the same air from filter to room would work, but I rely on the negative pressure of a passive intake, to control errant odor loss. With a 500cfm filter and fan, its easy to generate a negative pressure in a 10×10 room. The result, All air escaping is filtered, and fresh incoming air at all times. When I get an airconditioner installed, I will probably put the carbon fan on a timer. No need to exhaust cold air, ALL THE TIME. For now, the outside air is cool enough. Anyhow, another point to remember, is that the constant starting and stopping of fans, shortens their life, and they are most noticeable in noise, as they accell or decell.

Can I get some rep for the lengthy answer that may be total bullshit? Happy growing to ya!

bud bootlegger

I have never found such a timer. But heres what I did to have two modes of operation on my fans. I didnt want my large fan running full power or off when the lights were off. So this setup alows for
simple speed control of the fan when the timer is off. When the timers on the relay switches the fan to full speed. You can wire this or set the timer to configure any way you like.

carbon filter > light > light > fan > exhaust out. is there a controller that adjusts the speed of the fan, lowering sound and power used, on a timer? i…

Top Whole House Fan Reviews (Cost & Installation Guide)

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This whole house fan guide provides comprehensive research on these money-saving, house-cooling alternative to air conditioning. All the information is below.

However, some of you are here to see our top picks, make your purchase and get on with your day. That’s why we start with the top whole house fans with the option to buy.

Top Whole House Fan Reviews

Top Whole House Fan Brands

A handful of high-quality whole house fan brands account for more than 85% of the units sold.

Here are the best whole house fan brands and what they offer.

QuietCool Whole House Fans

This is the leading brand in the whole house fan market – by far. QuietCool makes two lines: Classic and Energy Saver.

Both are ducted, which means that the fan is 6 feet away from the ceiling opening. The fan and insulated, flexible duct is supported by straps attached to the roof trusses. The design reduces vibration noise.

QuietCool makes two lines. The CL/Classic line is less expensive but uses a PSC fan that consumes more energy.

The ES/Energy Saver line uses a ECM motor that reduces energy use by up to 35%.

Both lines include fans from about 1,500 to 7,000 CFM to serve homes from about 1,000 to 4,500 square feet.

Tamarack Technologies / TamTech

Tamarack makes a diverse lineup of whole house fans.

Tamarack Technologies’ most popular fans are standard ceiling-mount whole house fans with heavily insulated (R38 and R50) automatic doors.

TamTech makes two other whole house fan types that our readers might be interested in.

The first is a high-end (and expensive) “Ghost” line of ceiling mounted whole house fans. They are designed to withstand “continuous use” applications – locations where they never shut off such as light commercial applications like a machine shop.

The other type is designed for homes without attics. These fans mount to the underside of a roof or an inside wall. CFM values aren’t as high, so they might not cool off your home as quickly but they get the job done.

Cool Attic

This brand focuses on affordable whole house fans in both belt-drive (quieter but slightly more expensive) and direct-drive models. The fans include passive shutters.

Airflow causes them to open when the fan is on, and close when the fan is off. They are not insulated, so many homeowners cover the fan with a piece or two or roll insulation once the fan season is over.

Comfort Cool

This brand competes with QuietCool by offering similar performance at a lower price. The quality is still quite good – Comfort Cool fans get excellent ratings.

These are ducted inline fans with a housing that attaches to roof joists with an opening in the ceiling. The duct and fan are suspended from straps in the attic. This reduces noise by distance and by eliminating vibration.


This brand makes something for everyone – Direct drive, belt drive and ducted inline whole house fans. Of particular note is Ventamatic’s WiFi whole house fans in several sizes to fit most homes.

In our opinion, Ventamatic quality is above average, but at a higher cost. If you’re willing to pay more to get a better whole house fan, then this is a brand to consider.

Best Whole House Fans 2019

There are several different kinds of whole house fans, so we don’t just put a list of models together.

Instead, we break down the best fans into popular categories that will help you select the best choice for your home.

To learn more about any fan, just click the no-obligation price link.

Overall Best Selling Whole House Fan

QuietCool QC Original Classic Fan

This is a ducted whole house fan with 6 sizes for homes from 1,000 to 4,500 square feet. The motor is in an insulated duct 6 feet away from the ceiling opening, not right above your living space, so it is quiet. Follow the link to find the size you need.

Most Efficient Whole House Fan

QuietCool QC Energy Saver Fan

This is the QuietCool version with a super-efficient ECM motor that reduces energy use by 20% to 35%. Choose from 6 models to cool from 1,000 to 4,500 square feet!

Best Affordable Whole House Fan

Cool Attic CX24DDWT Whole House Attic Fan

Cool Attic CX24DDWT Direct Drive 2-Speed Whole House Attic Fan with Shutter, 24 Inch

Save 90% on a fan compared to a central air conditioner. Then save up to 90% on cooling your home. That’s great value!

Best Direct Drive Whole House Fan

Ventamatic CX242DDWTHUB Whole House Fan with Wi-Fi Controls

This is a WiFi whole house fan! Use the app and your smartphone to turn it on when you leave an evening activity, and your home will be cool and comfortable when you arrive.

Best Belt Drive Whole House Fan

TPI BD302WHS Belt Drive Whole House Fan – 30”

A belt-drive whole house fan is quieter than a direct-drive. This whole house fan combines proven quality with reliability for years of affordable cooling.

Best Insulated Whole House Fan

Tamarack Insulated HV1000Whole House Fan

Thick (R38) insulating foam panels automatically shut when the fan isn’t running, so your living space is protected from summer heat and winter cold. Ideal for cool/cold climates.

A remote kit is available to add convenience to your cooling!

Best Value Ducted Whole House Fan

Comfort Cool Deluxe 4800 Whole House Fan

Comfort Cool Deluxe 4800 18 in. Direct Drive Whole House Fan 3396 CFM with Wireless Remote Control

QuietComfort isn’t the only quality brand of ducted whole house fans. Comfort Cool makes very solid products at a lower price. The Deluxe 4800 offers excellent performance for less.

Best Whole House Fan for Homes Without Attic

Tamarack R-10 Whole House Fan

Tamarack 1000 CFM R-10 Insulated Roof or Wall Mount Whole House Fan

No attic? No problem. This roof and wall mount whole house fan is designed for A-frames, mobile homes and other dwellings without an attic.

Buying Guide

Our research team works to bring our readers comprehensive information. The goal is to be useful as you make a buying decision. Why else are you here?

So, we don’t sell or promote, but simply provide accurate information. It starts with whole house fan FAQs, moves to whole house fan pros and cons and goes deeper from there.

Whole House Fan FAQs: Types and Basics

1. What is a whole house fan?

It is an appliance designed to quickly exchange warm inside air for cool outside air. To be effective, a whole house fan is turned on once the outside temperature drops below the inside temperature of your home.

Whole house fans are installed in the ceiling between your home’s living space and the attic. They are equipped with powerful motors that pull outside air in through open windows. The warm air in your home is pushed into your home’s attic and out through vents there – ridge vents, gable vents, roof vents and/or soffit vents.

Attic vent capacity is an important topic addressed later.

2. Why types of whole house fans are available?

The two basic types are non-ducted (traditional) and ducted whole house fans that allow the fan to be further away from living space.

The most common type is non-ducted. The fan assembly is installed on ceiling joists. A rectangular hole is cut in the ceiling drywall, and a grill is installed to cover the hole. The fan is plugged into an outlet in the attic and operated by a wall switch, remote or app. Non-ducted fans cost less but are noisier.

Non-ducted fans are available in direct-drive and belt-drive models. Direct-drive whole house fans cost less, on average, but there is more metal-on-metal contact. That makes more noise.

Non-Ducted Whole House Fan

A belt-drive whole house fan will cost 20% more but reduces decibels with a noise-reducing rubber/synthetic belt that is driven by the motor and turns the fan.

Belt-Drive Whole House Fan

Ducted whole house fans, the second type, are growing in popularity. A piece of flexible duct, usually 6 feet long, separates the fan from the ceiling grill. There are two ways this reduces noise. First, the fan is further (6 feet further) from the ceiling opening. Secondly, the fan is suspended by straps. It isn’t connected directly to the home’s framing, so vibration noise is eliminated.

Ducted Whole House Fan

3. What is the difference between a whole house fan and an attic fan?

The terms once meant the same thing. In fact, attic fan was the more common term.

The term “attic fan” now often refers to an attic ventilation fan, a fan with the sole purpose of pushing out excess heat in the attic. They are installed in your roof or an attic wall, not in the ceiling, and they don’t pull as much air into your windows. Instead, they pull cool air into the attic through attic vents – and the fan pushes hot air out of the attic. Attic vent fans are helpful because a cooler attic means a cooler home and more longevity for asphalt shingles or wood shakes that might be on the roof. But attic fans, or attic ventilation fans, are not powerful enough to do the work of a whole house fan.

4. Attic fans are rated by CFM – What does it mean?

CFM means cubic feet per minute. Consider a box that is 12” inches long, wide and high. A perfect square that holds one cubic foot of air.

Now think about whole house fans that are rated from 1,400 to 7,000 CFM! They move a lot of air.

5. What size fan do I need? What CFM is right for my home?

Your fan should exchange the air in your home every few minutes for the most efficient cooling.

Keep in mind that the faster your home can be cooled down, the less time you have to run the fan, and the lower your energy costs will be.

There are two approaches – standard cooling and “breeze” cooling.

Standard cooling: For standard cooling, the CFM of the whole house fan should be 1.5 to 2 times the square feet in your home. So, a 2,000 square foot home requires a fan that is 3,000 to 4,000 CFM. This should cool the home within 30 minutes and keep it cool. This seems like a long time when the air is exchanged in just a few minutes. But keep in mind that it’s not just the air that is hot – everything in the house is hot…framing, drywall, flooring, furniture and your belongings. Those things will continue to give off heat for quite a while.

With standard cooling, you will probably feel some air movement if you’re standing near an open window, but probably wouldn’t call it a “breeze.”

  • 1,500 square feet: 2,250-3,000 CFM
  • 2,000 square feet: 3,000-4,000 CFM
  • 2,500 square feet: 3,750-5,000 CFM
  • 3,000 square feet: 4,500-6,000 CFM

Breeze cooling: If you enjoy a cool breeze while your home is being cooled and want it cooled within 15 minutes, then a ratio of 2.5 to 3.0 CFM to square feet is recommended.

  • 1,500 square feet: 3,750-4,500 CFM
  • 2,000 square feet: 5,000 to 6,000 CFM
  • 2,500 square feet: 6,250-7,500 CFM
  • 3,000 square feet: 7,500-9,000 CFM (few whole house fans are more than 8,000 CFM).

Whole House Fan vs. Central Air Conditioning: When a Fan is a Better Choice

Using a whole-house fan to cool your home has the potential to reduce your cooling costs by 50% to 90% and still keep you cool.

That’s the goal, of course, to be comfortable. You could do nothing but use a magazine as a fan and reduce your potential costs by 100%, but that wouldn’t keep you cool.

Your climate is the ultimate guide to whether a whole-house fan is a good idea. So, let’s go climate zone by climate zone to discuss your options.

The hotter your climate is, the more cooling power you’ll need to stay comfortable.

Here’s how you might stay cool and save money with a whole house fan.

Zones 1 & 2 (hot) – Potential savings of 33%: In these climates, a whole house fan can’t replace central air conditioning during the hottest months. But in the spring and fall when daytime temps are warm but nights are cool, a whole house fan can do the job. This is especially true as in the Mountain states and Southwest where humidity levels are lower and the air cools significantly at night.

In warm, muggy climates, once you begin to use central air conditioning, you should stick with it. Turn off the whole house fan and leave it off. Pulling in humid air, even if slightly cooler, will make your AC work much harder during the day to get rid of the moisture. Your home won’t be very comfortable, and your energy costs will go up.

Zones 3 &4 (warm) – Potential savings of 50%: Spring and fall aren’t quite as warm in this zone as in Zones 1 and 2, so the whole house fan can be used for an extra month or two during the year without having to rely on central air conditioning.

Zone 5 & 6 (cool) – Potential savings of 67%: Central air conditioning is more of a convenience than a necessity in this zone. Many homeowners use a whole house fan for most of their cooling needs and central air conditioning or a window air conditioner in the central living area on the hottest days. Our Window Air Conditioner Guide is full of useful information about the pros and cons of these units.

Zone 7 (very cold) – Potential savings up to 90%: When summer highs rarely break 85 degrees and nights are cool, the house usually stays cool during the day. On the rare hot days, a window AC or portable AC might be used. Fans often do the job. Then a whole house fan or a tower fan is completely sufficient for cooling off the house once the sun goes down.

Pros and Cons of Whole House Fans

These will help you decide if a whole house fan should be one of the ways, or the only way, you cool your home.

Pros: Here are the benefits of a whole house fan.

Equipment cost is lower: A whole house fan costs 60% to 90% less than central air conditioning depending on the fan and air conditioner compared.

Energy use is lower: Whole house fans with PSC motors use up to 70% less energy than central air conditioners. Those with ECM motors use up to 90% less energy. That leads to lower utility costs and less negative impact on the environment.

They are greener: Not only does a fan use less energy, it does not contain refrigerant. Most refrigerants in use today have some negative impact such as damaging ozone or having significant global warming potential (GWP).

Fresh air is better than recycled stale air: According to the EPA, indoor air can become more polluted than outdoor air, even in urban settings. This is especially true because houses are being built more airtight than ever. A whole house fan relies on fresh, outdoor air, not the same stale air being circulated over and over.

DIY installation is an option: Pro installation is required for air conditioning because you must have a license to handle refrigerant.

Cons: Here are the potential disadvantages of whole house fans.

To effectively cool, outside air must be cooler: We know this is a flash of the obvious, but it’s worth saying. You can get fresh air, but to cool your home, the air out there must be cooler.

Fans don’t lower humidity: Central air conditioning cools and removes moisture from the air. Whole house fans only exchange air. The worst climates for a whole house fan are hot and humid ones. The air doesn’t cool much during summer nights, and it is humid – so it doesn’t offer much relief from the heat.

Whole house fans don’t filter air: As we’ve said, outside air is usually healthier. However, if someone in your household has allergies, bringing in fresh spring/summer air might also bring in pollen and other allergens. And when a neighborhood skunk makes its presence known, you’ll smell it.

They’re not for all climates: These whole-house fans are best for:

  1. Northern climates where night air is almost always cool enough to offer relief from the heat
  2. Arid climates where you can depend on the nighttime air to be cooler and drier.

However, as we talk about at a few points below, even homes in hot, humid climates will benefit from a whole house fan during spring and fall.

Your home must be well-insulated: Best results happen when you pull in cool nighttime air cool the air and lower the temperature of the physical home – It’s framing, flooring, furniture, etc. Then, once the cooling is complete, you shut windows and rely on insulation to keep out the heat as long into the day as possible.

This page from Energy Star has good information on insulation, where it is needed and how to improve your home’s ability to fight off outside heat in summer.

This map and table show recommended ceiling, wall and floor insulation levels based on your Climate Zone.

Top Whole House Fan Reviews (Cost & Installation Guide) Disclosure: PickHVAC is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site. We may receive commissions at no additional costs to you.