facebook pixel

How Much Does It Cost to Install Ventilation?

Average Cost
$600 - $1,080
(whole-house fan)

Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors near you
Here's what happens next

How Much Does It Cost to Install Ventilation?

Average Cost
$600 - $1,080
(whole-house fan)

Get free estimates from air-conditioning and heating contractors near you
Here's what happens next
Step 1
Answer a few questions
Tell us what you are looking for.
Step 2
Find out how much your project will cost
The contractors will offer competitive free quotes for your job.
Step 3
Compare the quotes and hire
Compare the estimates and hire the contractor who best fits your needs.

Ventilation is the intentional movement of air between indoor and outdoor spaces, for the purpose of controlling air quality, humidity, and temperature. Having ventilation in a building is important for keeping inhabitants healthy and comfortable, as well as preventing damage from mold growth, undesirable humidity levels, and indoor pollutants. Ventilation systems can be installed by handymen, roofers, and ventilation manufacturer installation professionals.

There are many factors that influence the overall cost of installing a home ventilation system, and most are based on the system type. In this guide, we examine the average cost of installing different types of ventilation systems in a home.

Updated: What's new?

Ventilation Installation Cost by Project Range

5 basic static vents in a roof
Average Cost
$600 - $1,080
Whole-house fan
HVAC central air conditioning system, plus smoke filter

Ventilation Types

There are three main types of ventilation: natural, hybrid and mechanical. The details of each and their associated costs are analyzed below.


Natural ventilation is powered by natural forces such as wind, air currents, and the “stack effect”. The stack effect describes the phenomenon of air becoming buoyant (rising) because it reaches relatively warm temperatures or low levels of humidity. Natural ventilation systems don’t use fans or any other mechanical systems. A variety of natural ventilation tools and systems exist, and are outlined below.

Operable Windows

Windows that can be opened are the most common type of natural ventilation system, existing in almost all modern homes. There are a variety of window types that can be fully or partially opened.

The average cost to install a partially-opening double-hung window is $125-$670. The average cost to install a fully-opening casement window 1 is $650-$1,480. Clerestory windows cost $160-$745 each. Skylights are windows installed in ceilings, and they typically open only partially. They cost $450-$1,500 on average, including labor. All of these prices include the cost of professional installation. Ventilator add-ons can be attached to windows to permit airflow without needing the window to be open ($7-$25 per window).

Professional window installers generally charge $35-$65 per hour, and it usually takes 2 hours to install a single window. Count on paying $70-$130 per window for labor on top of the typical window price.  

Night Purge Ventilation

Night purging is a ventilation method that releases warm indoor air at night, and lets in cool night air. It uses the stack effect and air currents to release the warm air through passive vents.
Passive vents used for night purging and general ventilation purposes are usually installed in roofs. You will typically need 1 sq.ft. of vent space per 300 sq.ft. of floor space in your attic. Basic static vents cost $30-$50 to professionally install, while larger and more complex vent types cost $185-$245 to professionally install.

Building Orientation

If you’re building a home, you can maximize its natural ventilation potential by building it at the right orientation. Building a house’s broadest side so that it is hit by the region’s dominant wind current will give the best cooling and ventilation.

Wind-capture Devices

The exterior sides of buildings can be outfitted with wind-catchers to capture outside wind and circulate that air indoors. The cost of installing passive vents to create a wind-capture facade ranges from $30-$50 per static vent and $185 for more complex vent types.

Ventilation wind turbines are typically installed on rooftops, and catch wind currents in a round fan that then circulates the fresh air into your home. They typically cost $425-$555 to purchase and professionally install.


Mechanical ventilation utilizes machinery such as fans to force air into and out of a building. The different types of mechanical ventilation systems are outlined below.

Attic Fans

Attics tend to accumulate a great deal of warm air, especially in the summer. Installing an attic fan is a common and effective way to ventilate and cool your attic, as well as the rest of your home. By running an attic fan, you can reduce your total energy costs, since you won’t need to run your A/C as often. It usually costs $180-$200 in annual energy bills to run an electric attic fan. The average cost to professionally install an attic fan is $275-$550.

Common Fans

Common fans used in homes include ceiling fans, which are built into the ceiling, and portable fans, which can be moved into just about any room. The average cost to professionally install a ceiling fan is $460. The average cost of a 20” portable fan is $15-$100. Bathroom fan systems are also often commonly installed in bathrooms to control humidity and air freshness. They cost $350-$400 to be professionally installed.

Whole-house Fans

Similar to attic fans, whole house fans are exhaust systems usually installed in attics. However, instead of moving air from the attic to the outdoors, the fan moves your home’s air into the attic space. This creates positive pressure, which sends fresh air into the rest of your home through vents. To professionally install a whole-house fan, the average cost is $600-$1,080.

Demand-controlled Ventilation

Demand-controlled ventilation adjusts the indoor air ventilation based on the number of people in a building. The number of people occupying a building at any given time affects the indoor air quality, and creates specific demands to ventilation levels. They usually are triggered automatically, with the detection of high CO2 levels. This type of ventilation system is typically used in large buildings that accommodate high numbers of people. It costs $300-$1,000 per room to install a demand-controlled ventilation system.


Hybrid (mixed-mode) ventilation uses both natural and mechanical forces. Most systems use natural forces by default, switching to mechanical forces when the natural source is too weak. There are two types: changeover and concurrent. Changeover systems switch between natural and mechanical forces as needed, while concurrent systems use both forces at the same time. Full-home hybrid ventilation systems cost anywhere from $2,800 to $5,200.


An HVAC professional can help you with most types of ventilation installations. They charge an average of $50-$70 per hour, but may charge you a fixed price for specific projects.

Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Heat Recovery Ventilation

A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) circulates fresh air into a building while retaining the heat of the indoor air and using that to warm up the fresh air. This can help you save on heating costs during the winter. Units average $600-$1,000. The cost to purchase and professionally install an HRV is typically $1,200-$1,550.

Energy Recovery Ventilation

Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) work by the same principles as HRVs, but with the added benefit of cooling. In the winter, the heat of outgoing air is retained and transferred to the fresh air coming in. In the summer, the cool outdoor air lowers the temperature of the warm air coming in. This helps you save on heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Units usually cost $1,025-$1,200. The average cost to purchase and professionally install an ERV is $1,530-$1,830.


Installing filters in your home’s ductwork is important for maintaining your indoor air quality. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter uses mesh screens to filter out dust, mites 1, and other air particles from the air as it passes through your ventilation system. A professionally installed HEPA air filter costs $800-$1,000 on average.

Building Management Systems

Building management systems (BMS) are technology devices that allow you to control the utilities of a building, including ventilation systems. They simplify the control of ventilation systems using both software and hardware.

The cost of a BMS is usually based on the square footage of a building, and is highly influenced by factors specific equipment used, installation complexity, and the integration of other systems. The average BMS cost is $2-$3 per sq.ft. of a building’s floor space. So to install a BMS in a 2,500 sq.ft. building would cost around $5,000-$7,500.

Additional Considerations and Costs

Sick Building Syndrome

According to the World Health Organization, about 30% of all buildings are afflicted with SBS: Sick Building Syndrome. SBS results from a lack of ventilation which creates poor air quality, and this leads to the poor health of those who regularly spend time in the affected building. People suffering from SBS typically report symptoms like headaches, respiratory and skin irritation, and feelings of general malaise.

By properly ventilating your home, you can ensure the health and general well being of yourself and the rest of your household.


Certain ventilation types may be more suitable for some climates than others.

  • Night purge ventilation: climates with far lower nighttime temperatures than daytime temperatures
  • Heat recovery ventilation: consistently cool climates
  • Energy recovery ventilation: climates with warm summers and cold winters
  • Wind-capture devices & other natural ventilation systems: climates with frequent breezes and wind
  • Fans (all types): mild climates

Smoke Filtration

If you or a household member smokes indoors, or you frequently engage in other activities that produce smoke (Ex: lighting candles & incense, cooking), then installing ventilation systems to clear out the smoke pollution is very important for your health and your home’s structure. Paint, wallpaper, and other materials in your home can be stained and damaged by smoke residue, and people can develop respiratory problems, as well as other serious health issues. Smoke filtration systems cost anywhere from $1,000-$3,000. Some models are portable.


If your mechanical ventilation system includes heating, cooling and humidity control, then it is considered a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. It typically costs $7,200 to professionally install an HVAC central air conditioning system.

Regulations, Inspections & Maintenance

Your local Board of Building Standards may have specific regulations in place regarding the level of ventilation your home must have, and the installation of new ventilation systems. You may be required to obtain a permit for new installations, and ventilation-related permits usually cost $100 or less.

Having your ventilation system regularly inspected and maintained is needed to keep it running well. Professional inspectors will check for proper temperature control, pollutant levels, and the presence of mold and mildew. They will also check if the equipment is properly maintained. Typical inspection fees are $50-$100.

Maintenance fees depend on the type of ventilation system you have. An average HVAC maintenance visit costs $70-$100, while cleaning your ductwork costs $300-$500.


  • What is the purpose of ventilation?

Ventilation keeps air moving through an area, lowering humidity and temperature throughout the space.

  • Why is ventilation needed?

Ventilation is needed in areas where air and heat tend to collect, such as the attic, but can be beneficial in homes without central air conditioning as well. When heat builds, it raises energy costs, makes the home uncomfortable, and can cause damage to things like shingles.

  • What is a mechanical ventilation system?

A mechanical ventilation system keeps air moving at all times, rather than only when the wind is blowing.

  • What is the ventilation system?

A ventilation system consists of a fan, as well as strategically-placed static vents, which circulates air through a specific area, such as the attic, of your home.

  • How much does it cost to ventilate an attic?

Attic ventilation costs around $300 to install in the average attic.

  • How much does it cost to install a whole house fan?

A whole house fan costs around $1,250 to $1,830 to install.

  • How do air ventilation systems work?

Air ventilation systems work by continuously pulling fresh air into the home, while pushing the old air out. This is usually done actively through the use of fans, but may also be done passively by using vents and openings for air to pass through naturally.

  • What is a whole house ventilation system?

Whole house ventilation pushes the air in your home into the attic, then directs the air outside, creating positive pressure through the house, which pulls in fresh air and lowers humidity and temperature.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Mite 1 Mites: Small, often microscopic invertebrates that mostly live in the soil or water. Some mites are parasitic and live on plants and animals.

Cost to install ventilation varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Five opened casement windows to ventilate a room
air-conditioning and heating contractors near you
Get free estimates on FIXR from trusted air-conditioning and heating contractors in your area

Was this guide helpful to you?

Cost to install ventilation varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources