How much does it cost to install an attic fan?
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Attic Fan Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 26, 2022
Attic fans are a necessary part of every home. Heat rises and collects in the attic space. During the summer months, excessive heat increases your home’s energy bills. Humidity collects in the space leading to mold growth and wood rot. An attic fan placed in different parts of the attic or roof can effectively circulate air through the space, removing heat and moisture and preserving your roof’s lifespan. Many different types of attic fans are available in different sizes to accommodate various home needs, which can all impact the cost associated with the project.
The national average cost to install an attic fan is between $225 and $850. Most people pay an average of $450 to install a gable mounted electric vent in an attic with a thermostat. The cost to install a gable-mounted passive vent is about $75. At the high end, you can pay up to $1,500 to install a roof-mounted solar-powered fan with a thermostat and humidistat.
Attic Fan Prices
|Attic Fan Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$450|
Attic Fan Installation Cost by Power Source
The cost to install attic fans varies by power source and ranges from $75 to $1,000. Fans can be powered by electricity, solar power, or other means. The type of fan chosen impacts the cost due to materials costs and related labor costs, such as the electricity to install an electric attic fan instead of using a standard exhaust fan that requires no electricity. The power source may also determine where the fan is installed in your roof or gables, which impacts the cost. The table and subsections below show you the three most common options and their related costs.
|Attic Fan Type||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Passive||$75 - $100|
|Electric||$100 - $450|
|Solar||$300 - $1,000|
Passive Attic Fan
A passive attic fan is an affordable way to cool your attic space, with the average fan costing $75 to $100. The fan expels not only heat but also moisture from the home’s attic space. The device helps with natural airflow and works without electricity, so it is very affordable. Most people have a passive attic fan installed when they have their roof reshingled, but you can also hire a carpenter or roofer to cut a hole and install the fan. It can be fitted in the gable end of the roofline. A passive attic fan is an affordable and energy-efficient option that functions even during a power outage. However, it cannot be hooked up to a thermostat, so there is no way to control its function.
Electric Attic Fan
An electric attic fan ranges in price from $100 to $450, including the labor and fan. It is controlled with a thermostat. You program the thermostat to trigger the electric fan to come on at a certain temperature. It can be installed roof mounted or gable mounted. An electric attic fan comes on when needed and can be easily attached to a humidistat. However, it will not function during a power outage.
Solar Attic Fan Installation
A solar attic fan costs from $300 to $1,000 for the fan and installation. Since the fan depends on the power of the sun, it is highly energy efficient. They are mounted on the roof to utilize the sun’s power on the panels, so they cannot be installed in the home’s gable end. The installation costs are higher than the cost to install other types of attic fans, but the savings in electricity compensate in the long run.
Cost to Have an Attic Fan Installed by Type of Mount
Depending on where your attic fan is mounted, you can expect to spend between $75 and $1,000 on the installation. Fans can be mounted in the attic roofing, which is more cost-effective and efficient. Gable mounts are often easier to install with fewer modifications, but the fans cost more, depending on whether you choose passive, electric, or solar power. In the table and subsections below, you will see a comparison of the different types of installations, their costs, and other factors to consider.
|Type of Mount||Passive Fan Cost (Installed)||Electric Fan Cost (Installed)||Solar Fan Cost (Installed)|
|Roof||$75 - $100||$100 - $450||$300 - $1,000|
|Gable||$200 - $300||$200 - $500||$400 - $1,000|
Install a Roof Exhaust Fan
Also called a roof turbine, a roof exhaust fan costs between $75 and $1,000. These are more standard attic fan options that are usually small and easy to install. Still, they come in several sizes and styles to accommodate all types of air circulation and ventilation needs. Most people stick with standard roof exhaust fan installation because it offers the best value for the money and the most options for affordable energy-efficient options.
Install a Gable Attic Fan
If you prefer a gable installation, you will spend between $200 and $1,000. These fans are installed directly at the gable where the roof peaks. They come in several styles and sizes and with many power sources. The type of fan and its power source, as well as its size and the exact installation needed, impact what you pay. For example, while it might be cheaper initially to choose a gable attic fan, you may need to add a circuit and wiring for the new fan, which could drive up the costs.
Average Labor Cost to Install an Attic Fan
The average cost to install an attic fan goes from $225 to $850, depending on the fan and the labor needed for installation. If the installation involves any part of the roof, a roofer would be needed and can charge around $75 per hour to install the fan. However, when installing an electric, solar, or dual powered fan, an electrician will be needed and will charge from $40 to $120 per hour to wire the fan and thermostat. You should count on at least two hours of work to install the fan and at least one hour to wire it properly. The average cost of installing an attic fan is between $155 and $315 and between $70 and $535 for materials.
Whether installing a passive, gable-mounted attic fan or a dual powered solar attic fan, it requires cutting through the roof deck or attic wall. Both systems also require roof access for installation. Most professionals perform a roof inspection before providing you with a quote. If the condition of the roof or attic is dangerous, then the price could be higher, and the job could take longer to complete. When figuring out the final cost of installing an attic fan, you might need to factor in additional materials such as the cost of shingles if you install a roof mounted or ridge vent attic fan. If you install a gable attic fan, then you might need new siding. Also, caulk is needed to seal up around the edges of the attic and vent fan.
Attic Fan Sizes
You will want to determine the size of your attic and your home’s square footage to pick a fan size for your home. A dark and steep roof requires 15 percent more CFM (cubic feet per minute) than a home that does not have an overly pitched roof. To figure your attic fan size, you take the square footage of the attic and multiply it by 0.7. You will then multiply that number by 0.5 for a steep roof or 0.15 for a dark roof. The final number is the attic CFM that is needed for the space. Below, you will find a table that outlines the most common attic sizes and the recommended standard CFM for those who do not have steep or dark roofs. Remember that if you have a steep roof or dark roof, you have to do the final calculation to determine what size of attic fan you need based on the CFM. If you are unsure, you can ask your installer what CFM is recommended based on your attic size and roof type.
|Attic Size||Fan Recommended Airflow|
|1,000 sq.ft.||700 CFM|
|1,500 sq.ft.||1,050 CFM|
|2,000 sq.ft.||1,400 CFM|
Pros and Cons
All attic fans have their pros and cons. The biggest pro to any attic fan is that it can rapidly cool the attic, so your home’s HVAC system does not work so hard, and your energy costs plummet, especially during warm weather. Proper ventilation from a fan keeps your roof in shape by removing moisture from the space so the roof does not rot, and the shingles do not prematurely age by shrinking, curling, or splitting. All attic fans can stop unwanted mold growth in the space. In some cases, the attic fan might not be sufficient ventilation for the space. Attic fans require maintenance, and some units are noisy. Some types require power to function, which would cause an increase in your monthly energy bill.
Energy Efficient Attic Fan
While you will spend $225 to $850 on a standard attic fan, you will probably spend closer to $300 to $1,000 on an eco-friendly model designed to maximize ventilation with minimal energy use. Choosing an energy-efficient attic fan refers to the electric and solar-powered fans designed to deliver premium airflow with built-in motors. You can find several styles of energy-efficient fans that utilize solar energy, operate more efficiently, and have premium energy-saving features. However, they come at a slight increase in cost.
Whole House Fan vs Attic Fan
Both whole-house fans and attic fans are installed in your attic, but some major differences may be noted between the two types of fans. First the price, attic fans cost on average $225 to $850, while whole house fans cost $580 to $1,270. Whole house fans are larger and cost more to operate. A whole house fan’s job is to cool your entire house by exchanging warm indoor air for cooler outdoor air. An attic fan’s job is to keep air circulating through the space while removing heat and humidity, so it does not become superheated. When comparing an attic fan vs a whole house fan, remember that an attic fan draws only about 300 watts of power, but a whole house fan draws 200 to 700. Depending on the size of the fan you install, a whole house fan could cost you more each month on your home’s energy bill.
|Fan Type||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Attic Fan||$225 - $850|
|Whole House Fan||$580 - $1,270|
Attic Fan vs AC
An attic fan is designed to keep the home’s attic or crawlspace cool. Releasing heat from the attic space lowers the temperature in the home, but an attic fan does not cool a house the way an AC controls the home’s living space temperature. They also differ in price, with attic fans having an average cost of $225 to $850 and AC costing $2,000 to $9,000. They both serve two very different purposes. However, it is beneficial to have both an attic fan and air conditioning unit in your home to work together to cool the home. The attic fan relieves some heat, so the AC does not work as hard, and your energy use is reduced.
|Type||Unit Cost (Installed)|
|Attic Fan||$225 - $850|
|Air Conditioning||$2,000 - $9,000|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Automatic shutters cost an additional $50 to $80 when you have your attic fan installed. The design of automatic shutters allows the device to open and shut by itself any time the fan is running or not. They offer better ventilation for the home’s attic while effectively releasing the heat and bringing in cool air. The opening and closing of the automatic shutters keep small rodents and bats from entering your home’s attic space.
Roof Fan Cap
A roof fan cap averages $50, and it is placed over the roof vent or attic fan. The roof fan cap serves multiple purposes, such as keeping rain and debris out of your attic. It acts as a barrier to block rodents, bats, and other unwanted pests from entering your home’s attic space. In addition, the roof fan cap provides a more complete look when installed over the attic fan to create a sleek, finished appearance on the roof.
Install Attic Insulation
The average cost to have attic insulation installed ranges from $2,000 to $3,250 for blown-in cellulose. Insulation in an attic space helps to prevent heat loss during the winter and keep the space cool during the summer. The use of attic insulation partners nicely with the functions of an attic fan. You can easily have attic insulation installed at the same time that you have an attic fan installed.
Attic Fan Humidistat
Installing an attic fan humidistat averages from $50 to $100. The humidistat works in much the same way that a thermostat functions, but it is used to measure the humidity levels within your attic instead of the temperature as a thermostat does. If you live in a humid location or your attic has moisture and mold problems, then a humidistat gives you better control over the moisture levels within your attic space.
Attic Fan Thermostat
An attic fan thermostat costs about $150 to $400 to install. It helps you keep track of your attic temperature so you know if the fan should be working or there is a problem. The attic fan thermostat functions in much the same way as a regular thermostat. You can purchase a wide assortment of styles such as manual or programmable. Some of the thermostats are easily controlled with your smartphone and an app.
The average cost to install a roof vent is $300 to $550. A roof vent and attic fan are often installed to work efficiently together to pull the heat and humidity from the attic and create cooling airflow within the space. A roof vent helps prevent condensation, which can occur as a result of a lack of ventilation. If the temperature within your attic fluctuates, then a roof vent prevents moisture from settling, and an attic vent further helps create the necessary airflow in the space.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Ridge cap shingles. Installing a roof-mounted vent for your attic always requires the addition of ridge cap shingles which are installed directly over it. The shingles offer protection from the elements, keep water from getting into the ridge cap, and provide a finished look.
- Negative pressurization. If there is a higher air flow, you’ll need to make sure you have a larger amount of return air so you can avoid creating any negative pressurization in your attic.
- Estimates. You should always get additional estimates from carpenters, roofers, and electricians. The estimates give you an idea of how much the services cost in your area. Also, you will learn the different options available with each company so you can pick a reputable installer.
- DIY. Some people install a passive attic fan as a DIY project. However, it is better to have a skilled carpenter or roofer install an attic fan because you will be cutting a hole into your home’s gable or roof line. The area needs to be patched with plywood, shingles, and caulking to ensure that it does not leak. Installing an electric or solar powered fan requires the skills of an electrician.
- Licensed professionals. You will need to make sure that all professionals, such as a carpenter, roofer, or electrician, are licensed and bonded in your area before having them work on your home’s attic fan. Installing an attic fan takes the skills of a professional. You’ll need to make sure the professionals are licensed to carry out the task at hand.
- Warranty. Many attic fans, such as electric powered models and solar powered attic fans, come with a warranty ranging from one year to five years. Some cover manufacturer defects, and others also cover the cost of parts. You’ll want to take the time to read the warranty’s fine print to determine exactly what is covered.
- Lifespan. Most attic fans have a lifespan of 15 years with proper maintenance and care. This includes regular service for cleaning, lubrication, and inspections to ensure no repairs are needed.
- Do attic fans really help?
Yes, they help preserve your roof, remove moisture from the attic, and prevent ice dams from forming.
- Do electricians install attic fans?
Electricians typically only complete the wiring of an attic fan. The installation is done by a roofer or a carpenter.
- Where should attic fans be placed?
Ideally, your attic should have a passive ridge vent fan in your roof, and an attic fan in your wall or attic gable
- When should you use an attic fan?
Attic fans should be used year-round to remove excess heat from the attic. This helps prevent ice dams in winter and an overheated attic in summer.
- Can you run an attic fan with the AC on?
Yes, your attic fan moves moisture out of your attic and prevents heat from entering the rest of your home, which means your AC won’t have to work as hard.
- Do attic fans save money?
This depends on the type of fan and what you hope to get from the installation. Electric fans can be costly to run but can extend the life of your roof. Passive and solar fans cost nothing to run.
- Do you run an attic fan in the winter?
Yes, this prevents the formation of ice dams on the edge of your roof and prevents moisture build-up that can lead to mold or mildew growth.
- Do attic fans use a lot of electricity?
This depends on the size of the fan, but yes, some larger fans that use electricity can use quite a bit and may raise your electricity costs.