Ceiling mounted whole house fans have been around the longest – since before 1900. They were the only way homes were cooled until the 50s when Carrier’s air conditioning systems started to become popular.
As an example, I was called by an architect in Atlanta Georgia who asked me how to restore a huge 50 inch fan that was mounted in a house built in 1903 at the top of the central staircase. I advised the caller that I have not seen 50 inch fans recently but that 48 inch fans are fairly standard and available from several sources. A 48 inch blade moves a lot of air – 20,000 CFM!
One of the best sources for ceiling mounted whole house fans is Triangle Engineering . They offer fans made both as direct drive blades and belt drive blades. Belt driven blades rotate slower so the sound of air is lower.
Here are the two lines they offer. You will note that their 48 inch blade is rated at 14,500 CFM because they are using just a 1/2 HP motor. That same blade will do 20,000 CFM with a 1 HP motor. I know – because I installed their 48 inch machine with a larger motor on an industrial building in Escondido CA
These ceiling mounted fans are notorious for being louder than the rafter mounted fans but they offer far more air flow for lower cost.
There are two companies that offer modern ceiling mounted designs, Tamarack and Airscape. Tamarack has just announced their new Kaze HV2800 with a new idea – a drop down door.
By what might be pure coincidence, Airscape just came out with a nearly identical design – their Liftlock. It is rated at 2698 CFM. Airscape also offers a ducted option.
Here is what the Liftlock looks like