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How a whole-house fan works

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Q: We live in a split-level, west-facing contemporary home built in the early 1980s. It has very high, slanted ceilings in many of the rooms and no attic. It is beautiful and we love it. But it gets hot. There is an air conditioning system, but it is not zoned and the ductwork is inadequate on the (hottest) floor. On very hot days, the sun pummels us all afternoon, and the heat just soaks into the wood shingles. By evening, the air inside is as hot as the air outside, and by nighttime, the air inside is far hotter than the air outside. Ceiling fans do little but mask the discomfort. We have been considering installing an electric fan of some sort. A traditional attic fan sounds ideal, except we have no attic. Is there some variation we could use that would vent the hot air and draw in the nice, cool nighttime air? A: Air conditioning helps some by mixing cool conditioned air with hot air in the house. But the AC does nothing to reduce the radiant heat emitted by the baked...