To my utter astonishment, Mike finally got a crew back to our house yesterday.

When I came home for lunch they were working away on a number of different loose ends.

I drew their attention to the whole house fan. It was installed in July and wired up in August.

It’s blowing the wrong way, much to the amusement of all my friends and co-workers.

One of the guys on the crew had what seemed like a brilliant idea: How about we just reverse the blades? Simply remove the blade assembly from the crankshaft, flip it over, and put it back on.

“By Jove,” I exclaimed, “that’s ingenious! The blades will still be turning the same way, but the air should move in the opposite direction.”

Removing the Blades

Unfortunately, we failed to properly visualize the topological reality. Radial symmetry dictates that when flipped, the fan blades are still tilted in the same direction.

So that didn’t work.

Never fear, later in the afternoon they reversed the entire fan. Problem solved at last.

I have been convincing myself that I could get started doing some work downstairs myself if only the fan was working. It’s just too hot without some air movement.

Now I have no more excuses.


They got a lot done yesterday. Many of the electrical tasks have been waiting for months and months. Some of the other stuff has been on hold even longer.

This morning the crew was back. I was amazed this morning to see they were scraping up the sheetrock mud from our tile floor. Those glops have been there for six months, at least, and I figured I would be chiseling them up myself soon.

Later in the morning Mike called and mentioned we wouldn’t be charged for the work today or yesterday.

He didn’t explain why, and I didn’t ask.

I just said, “Thanks, I guess this means I don’t have to kill you after all.”

  1. Can you reverse the polarity of the connection – i.e., swap the hot and ground leads? IANA electrician but some appliances will run backwards when you do this.

  2. Well, as I understand it, no, the polarity cannot be reversed without a phase-shifter because it’s a multi-speed fan. However, the point is moot anyhow because the fan is now pointed in the right direction. (Hooray.)

  3. Wow–this is the first time I’ve seen “IANA.” This is perhaps the new height of laziness. I guess two and three letter words are far too long to be typed out fully.

  4. Yes, it’s a basement fan. Our “basement” is, of course, entirely above ground. The fan is not under the stairs, but it is downstairs. No, it’s not a common arrangement. Most such fans are installed to suck air up into the attic.

  5. Gee, I thought the reason you wouldn’t run for City Council was because you were too busy finishing your house.

    But you only watch it being finished by someone else !

  6. Spab, the humidity never settles down here. In the summer it’s hot and humid. In the winter it’s cold and humid. Humidity exaggerates both cold and hot and makes both feel more extreme. We catch a break in the fall and spring, but there’s a very narrow comfort zone.

    Actually the weather’s quite pleasant much of the year, but summer here is kind of like winter up north. Not the most hospitable season.

  7. You do realize that a whole house fan is supposed to suck air out of the house (blow air to the outside). You must open windows in the rooms you want air flow through. They work great, thay are all we had before the mid 60’s.

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