AirScape Engineer's Blog

All About Whole House Fans + bonus opinions on energy.

Starting in July 2014 we are offering R-49 insulation on our AirScape line whole house fans (R-47 on the 1.7 WHF).  These will be separate part numbers (-XR designation) from our standard units.  R-49/R-47 insulation will not be available on Kohilo fans.

How do we get R-49 into the doors?  A combination of standard fiberglass insulation and VIP panel (vacuum insulation panel) technology. VIP is a relatively new technology that offers an R–Value (thermal resistance) up to ten times greater than commonly used forms of insulation, such as Styrofoam and six times greater than polyurethane. The chart below gives us a visual comparison of VIP panel R values vs. other common insulation on a per inch thickness basis. (courtesy of ThermoCor)

vip_graph

Why not R-49 on Kohilo fans? VIP insulation is relatively heavy and necessitates mechanical actuators to open and close these insulated doors.  Gravity dampers used on Kohilos, and a few other fan manufacturers, are not able to handle the added weight of insulation.

If you would like to read more on VIPs, check out the manufacturer’s website:  www.thermocorvip.com

We can officially announce the AirScape Gen 2 Controls Android App for our whole house fans.  This will be a first in the whole house fan industry and we are very excited!

When is it coming? Soon. We are currently in beta testing and an early to mid July release date looks probable.

How much?  Free.

Is it backwards compatible?  Yes.  The app will work with all Gen 2 Controls fans from 2013 and 2014.  Some data might not be available on older 2013 version fans but the functionality will be there.

Can I still use the remote controls?  Yes.  The app is another control method.  It does not replace the wall switch, remote controls, or web interface.

What about an iOS (Apple) app?  We are still working on it -  There is currently no official release date.

Android_Robot_200      en_app_rgb_wo_60

California has slowly (too slowly in our humble opinion!) begun mandating Whole House Fans in certain climate zones.  July 1st, 2014 brings us the latest edition (labelled 2013) of the Title 24 standard that mandates the installation of Whole House Fans in climate zones 8-14.  This applies to designers using the “Prescriptive Standards/Components Package” design method (vs. the Performance Standards method).

Rest assured all AirScape Whole House Fans are Title 24 compliant!

You can find the standard for download on the energy.ca.gov website or via the link below.  Of particular interest is Section 150.1.

2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards – Title 24

Title 24 position on whole house fans:

12. Ventilation Cooling. Single family homes shall comply with the Whole House Fan (WHF) requirements shown in TABLE 150.1-A. When a WHF is required, comply with Subsections A through C below:
A. Have installed one or more WHFs whose total Air Flow CFM as listed in the CEC Directory is at least 2 CFM/ft2 of conditioned floor area; and
B. Have at least 1 square foot of attic vent free area for each 375 CFM of rated whole house fan Air Flow CFM; and
C. Provide homeowners who have WHFs with a one page “How to operate your whole house fan” informational sheet.

Table 150.1-A in the standard breaks down which zones are required to install the whole house fan.  If you are not sure what climate zone you are in, have a look at the map below or click here for a city by city breakdown.

Title 24 Climate Zones

 

 

In order to further promote whole house fans to the HVAC industry and to improve stock availability in certain markets AirScape Inc. has decided to open our products to wholesale distribution.  We support our pro installers and future wholesale distributors with manuals, training and technical support.

If you are interested in selling the best, please contact Nicole Ward @ 541-646-9330 or email experts@airscapefans.com.

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Below is an email from a customer who has integrated his AirScape 2.5e WHF with the INSTEON home automation system.  We love the idea so we are sharing it here with his permission.  Many thanks Jeff!

I wanted to let you know that I received my 2.5e WHF last week, installed it over the weekend , and integrated it with my home automation platform in about 30 minutes this morning. I’m really happy with the 2.5e WHF. It’s much, much quieter than my old Tamarack HV1600, and the build quality is appreciably better. But what I like the most is your IP-based control system and DMP! Which leads me to the HA integration, which I’ll try to summarize briefly:

I have an Insteon-based home automation system. If you’re not familiar with Insteon, you can read about it here. In short, it’s a dual-mesh HA network utilizing powerline and RF transmission. Most of the devices on the network are simple relays or dimmers controlling 120V loads (e.g., light switches), but I also have a number of dry contact sensor and relay controls for integrating devices which utilize contact closure, like my Velux skylights, my driveway gate operator, etc.

The Insteon system allows for simple grouping of devices into “scenes,” but to implement more sophisticated automation, you need a programmable controller. There are several products on the market, but I use an ISY-994i which allows me to write simple event-driven programs to control devices on the Insteon network. The ISY also allows me to define network resources (defined as HTTP requests or simple TCP socket protocols) as devices. So for the fan integration, I defined two network resources:

“WHF speed up”  =  http://whf/fanspd.cgi?dir=1
“WHF off”  =  http://whf/fanspd.cgi?dir=4

In my house I have several Insteon keypads, each of which has multiple buttons linked to various Insteon scenes. Here’s what a typical keypad looks like:

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The buttons labeled “House fan” and “Fan speed” are associated with two scenes, which not only link all of the other keypads with the same buttons (e.g., entry hallway and master bedroom have equivalent controls), but changing the state of these buttons cause events to “fire” which in turn causes programs to execute.

The “House fan” button toggles between ON and OFF states. When it goes on, a program runs and calls the WHF speed up network resource, which turns the fan on.

When “House fan” button toggles to off, the WHF off network resource is called.

The “Fan speed” button is configured in non-toggle mode, which makes it like a momentary switch. Each press of the button sends an ON command to the group, and causes execution of a program that calls the WHF speed up network resource.

I have a third program which I call “WHF protect” which basically locks out the house fan in the case of air conditioning or heating running, and a few other conditions.

So for a simple control mechanism, that’s all that’s necessary. In the future I may use the temperature data from the WHF controller as input to control logic (e.g., IF outside temp < inside temp AND windows/skylights open, THEN turn on fan), but for now the system is functional using my existing keypads. In fact I didn’t install your wired control in my wall, but I did remove the PCB and temperature sensor and installed it in a return air vent for the purposes of measuring inside air temperature.

Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for a great product!

-Jeff Mayzurk