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Thread: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

  1. #1

    Default Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    Enjoying big machines, I went a little overboard on our new ventilation system:



    Nights here are usually 20+ degrees cooler than day time. This meter-wide array consists of twin 20" fans, pushes nearly 9K CFM. On high, it will thoroughly pre cool our entire place (both floors) in a couple of hours.

    Playing around with different configurations, we've made a discovery. Nearly all allergens in our area are confined to the 1st floor. Set to pull in air from the 2nd floor, positive pressure evacuates pollen and other allergens and keeps them out. No filters, no medications. We can leave them running on low or Just seal up the windows before turning them off.

    Performance will vary with location, but another option for allergy suffers to consider.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Chauncey Gardiner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    Nearly all allergens in our area are confined to the 1st floor.

    Hi ElectronGuru,

    Please explain how this is possible. I'm very interested.

    ~ Chance
    Never point a flashlight at anything you don't intend to illuminate!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    I'm a long term hayfever suffer (both spring and summer), and also can't stand a stuffy house and prefer to bring in air from outside. I use big industrial fan to pull in air from outside, and unless a window is open somewhere else I can make your ears pop. I also hate hot weather and with big fans like these you can instantly circulate cooler evening air, or immediately after a thunderstorm rolls through.

    If I owned a house though I'd get an attic fan. More efficient and more powerful.

    Not sure about the allergen thing....unless we're talking about inside allergens only. In theory, on a still evening, most pollens settle lower to the ground, so pulling air in from a second story should be cleaner. Any other time it's just a choice between having outside air with all the pollens or running AC.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    Once upon a time we had an old window fan with a huge hobart motor. It was built around 1950 and had fan belt between the blade shaft and motor shaft. That fan was powerful! It was the closest thing to an actual attic fan I've ever seen. We got rid of it a while back during a relocation, I don't know why, but I sure do miss it. My grandparents had an attic fan. They lived on the gulf coast, and even during the summer months it did a good job.
    Last edited by Quest4fire; 06-29-2012 at 04:42 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Gardiner View Post
    Nearly all allergens in our area are confined to the 1st floor.

    Please explain how this is possible. I'm very interested.
    I couldn't tell you, it surprised us as well. And I haven't been suffering from allergies long enough to experience them anywhere else.

    With the fans off and windows open, its bad on the first floor (sneezing etc). With the fans blowing out (sucking in on the first floor), its horrible on either floor (stinging eyes, inflamed sinuses, constant sneezing, the works). Amid either of those conditions, its a matter of minutes to feeling relief, in any room, once the fans start blowing in. Several weeks of testing shows the same pattern. Left them running overnight and woke up refreshed. Turned them off this AM and didn't close the windows first, and wham!

    This area of Oregon has three main allergens: flowers, flowering trees, and grass seed. With thousands of acres devoted to grass seed production (pays better than food apparently) this last is the major regional issue that I'm aware of. Locally, many houses have flower gardens front and/or back. Another factor may be wind direction. Most of the year, wind/air comes from the ocean (50mi to the west).


    Quote Originally Posted by blasterman View Post
    I also hate hot weather and with big fans like these you can instantly circulate cooler evening air, or immediately after a thunderstorm rolls through.

    If I owned a house though I'd get an attic fan. More efficient and more powerful.
    I grew up with an attic fan. Always needed less AC than the neighbors. Currently, the finished attic is an office so the spaces are connected. Still, running the fans overnight is a great way to chill the place. If overnight gets to say 58, the next day can reach 90 with little of the house ever reaching past 72 - provided everything is sealed up before it starts to warm.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quest4fire View Post
    That fan was powerful! It was the closest thing to an actual attic fan I've ever seen. We got rid of it a while back during a relocation, I don't know why, but I sure do miss it.
    Proper fans (anything more than a $20 box fan) have been falling out of favor since the advent of air conditioning. These days its difficult to find a fan company still in business, let alone making anything akin to a selection of powerful designs.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Chauncey Gardiner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    If I could suggest, please check, or have an expert check, to see if your triggers (mold/mildew) are from an indoor source. I question that an outdoor source only enters from ground level. Have you recently moved to your present location, or perhaps just started to keep your pet indoors? I ask because you wrote your symptoms are new.

    ~ Chance
    Never point a flashlight at anything you don't intend to illuminate!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    I've used an attic fan for years. It is not AC, but it is very helpful. The temperature remains comfortable for most of the day if I run the fan all night. The older, larger fan I used to have sounded like a helicopter landing on the roof! It was too noisy and I took it out. The newer fans move less air, but in the right place it is very helpful.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Gardiner View Post
    If I could suggest, please check, or have an expert check, to see if your triggers (mold/mildew) are from an indoor source. I question that an outdoor source only enters from ground level. Have you recently moved to your present location, or perhaps just started to keep your pet indoors? I ask because you wrote your symptoms are new.
    This is our second summer here this time around, but we lived in the same neighborhood a few years ago. Same two people, same cat. I'm still pretty new to allergies, but Mrs Guru is old hat and finds similar relief with the same fan configuration. Last time around, she lived on medication and local honey.

    Additional information that may help: Taking walks or bike rides outside yields many of the same symptoms, particularly eye burning when on the tree lined bike paths.


    Quote Originally Posted by HotWire View Post
    I've used an attic fan for years. It is not AC, but it is very helpful. The temperature remains comfortable for most of the day if I run the fan all night.
    Depending on the building and climate, there are 3 configurations that may be used:

    Attic in -> attic out
    This is the traditional attic fan configuration and the only that can be used simultaneously with AC. The upper floor layer is sealed/independent from the living floor. The attic acts as a buffer, taking in the heat from the sun before it gets to the living space. Without a fan, attics can reach 125 or more, burdening the AC and delivering heat to the living space well after sunset. With a fan, the attic remains within say 10 degrees of outside (say, 90/100). Best for use in the hottest climates.

    Main floor in -> attic out
    This is the traditional 'whole house fan' configuration, used alternately with AC (day/ac, night/fan). Precooling the main floor gives it a massive head start vs the heat of the day. Closing the attic door, this can be used attic/attic during the day. Best for use in mixed climates with cool night temps.

    Attic in -> main floor out
    This is the same configuration as above, just reversed, yielding the results described in the OP. Putting a greater emphasis on air quality, fan(s) should only be turned off when windows can be closed.

  9. #9

    Default Mechanical Allergy Treatments

    I remain unable to explain my apparent reduction in allergens. However, I just ran across this screen material specifically designed to block allergens:


    http://www.pollentec.com/rolls-of-screen.html


    In theory, 1) rescreen windows in several strategic rooms, 2) set a window fan to out, 3) blow contaminated air out 4) draw in air - screened from allergens.

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