Attic Fans, Open windows, help me figure it out :)

Hello,
I am used to living in single-story, no-basement houses, where one would just open a window on either end of the house and pop in a box fan and have a nice breeze. Now I bought a big old uninsulated house from 1916 with a full basement, main floor w/11ft ceilings, upstairs w/10ft ceilings and an unfinished (but large enough to be finished) floored, walk up attic. Now obviously, the basement is nice and cool, the main floor is about 77-81 during the day (when its like 85 outside), the upstairs is noticeably hotter, and well the attic is excruciatingly hot! I have tried opening windows on opposite ends of the main floor, and putting a fan blowing out the hot side hoping to draw in from the shady side, but it only gave me about 1 degree of difference. I tried opening the basement windows and putting a fan in one of the main floor windows hoping to draw up some of that cool basement air, but all that did is bring up that not-so-cool basement smell hehe. Opening up the 4 attic windows helps the upstairs a little but we have been leaving the attic door closed. I guess I am trying to figure out the best combination of fans and open windows to cool off this monster house. From what I have read in various newsgroup postings, I am considering trying fans in the attic windows. But how should I do it? The attic windows are directly across from each other on opposite walls. Should I put a fan in one facing in, and one facing out on the opposite side with the attic door closed? Or should I put two in one side facing out and leave the attic door open in hopes to draw heat up from the rest of the house (and leave the opposing windows open or closed?)? Or, fans in both windows and the attic door open? I know I am over complicating things, but it takes like a whole day to see if each method is effective and I just wonder if any of you old-house-dwellers have any good tricks! I am trying to not have to buy any air conditioners, as I am an incredibly cheap individual :)
CoogarXR
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I lived in a two story house once and upstairs is hotter. I figured it was from the upper wall getting more sun than a single story house. If you don't want AC, I'd insulate the attic area and put in a whole house fan. With the fan, you can easily direct where you want air to come in, the basement.
CoogarXR wrote:

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A whole-house fan installed in the ceiling of your upstairs hallway to exhaust the warmest air from the house and push the hottest air out the attic peak vents is the best (non-AC) solution. Insulate your attic floor. run the fan at night to cool the house as much as possible, shut up the windows and draw the drapes during the day. If it gets too hot in the afternoon, you can open up again turn on the whole house fan and at least get a breeze going. They pull a lot of air.
They make a lot of noise, too....
Rock
wrote:

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just
nice
during
well
ends
draw in

tried
windows
bring up

the
I am

off
am
attic
put a

attic
attic
the
door
to
any air

Gee hot air rises and cool air settles. I lived in Iowa as a child and we used a whole house ventilator until my mother got tired of me sneezing all night because of the allergies. We had the fan in the upstairs hall window. Opened one window down-stairs and one in each of the bedrooms. If you exhaust into the attic you must have enough exhaust vents for the air to move out. This will cool the whole house. Then shut everything off and tight until the next evening. Depending on humidity and out side temp you can reach outside temp ~+5 degrees.
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You want fans to blow air through the attic spaces, but only when it's hotter inside than outside. You want to insulate the floor between the attic and the living spaces, and leave the attic door closed. You want to do something about the windows, so that your living spaces don't leak air.
--Goedjn
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ceiling fans in the rooms that you want to keep cool will also help out

just
nice
during
well
ends
draw in

tried
windows
bring up

the
I am

off
am
attic
put a

attic
attic
the
door
to
any air

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Our previous house had three floors. It was air conditioned but the ac was very ineffective on the top floor. We installed a ceiling fan and left the access hatch to the attic slightly open. It made a tremendous difference, in effect sucking the hard to move cold air upwards. It was probably energy inefficient but when it's 90 degrees with 100% humidity, who cares. We now live in the country and do not have central ac. But a ceiling fan in our cathedral ceiling makes a big difference.

would
and
opposite
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guess
cool
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back in the 70s I lived in a similar house. The prior owner had installed exhaust fans in the attic (basicaly 2 huge motors with what looked like airplane props mounbted on them). When they were on, they could slam all of the doors in the house closed. The way we used it was to open all the windows in the house early in the morning (very early - while its still cool), and run the fan for an hour or so. This sucked in all the nice cool air. Close all the windows except the attic windows, and leave one fan running (close the attic door). This keeps the attic from turning into an oven (a big black roof soaks upa lot of heat). If the day is really hot,and the house gets as hot as it is outside, open the windows and attic door back up, and turn the second fan back on. This gives a nice breeze throughout the house. If the house stays cooler than the outside, wait until it cools off in the evening (outside is cooler than inside), and open all the windows again. We usually left the fans off at night unless it was really hot and we wanted the breeze. then we'd leave one running (both was overkill), but only open the windows in the bedrooms. That house was one of themost comfortable I've ever lived in (temperature wise). It was almost always significantly cooler than outside, and had the advantage of fresh air (as opposed to recirculated A/C) and a breeze....
The house was (and probably still is...) in Massachussetts.
Now heating was a whole different story....
--JD

just
nice
during
well
ends
draw in

tried
windows
bring up

the
I am

off
am
attic
put a

attic
attic
the
door
to
any air

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<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
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Hello,
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I Tried a couple different ways last night. The one that seemed to work well was to put two box fans in opposing attic windows, both blowing out. This created such a vaccuum that it slurped the attic door closed! Well I opened it back up and propped it open. I shut the upstairs windows and opened the large window on the main floor and air was pulling in quite nicely. The house was 5 degrees cooler than last night using this method. I would like to put up ceiling fans, but I am trying to keep the vintage lighting intact (rewired, but original). Thanks again for the suggestions, and keep 'em coming! :)
CoogarXR
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