How much does it cost to install a whole house fan?
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Whole House Fan Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
A whole house fan draws air through the house, pushing it into the attic. This creates positive pressure, which sends the hot air out through the gables, roof, or soffit vents. At the same time, a negative pressure is created in the house, drawing cooler air through open windows and cooling the inside.
Many factors affect the cost of a whole house fan installation. The home’s size, number of vents you need, and the unit’s efficiency all impact the cost. The national average ranges between $580 to $1,270, with most homeowners spending around $730 to install a 24-inch whole house fan with two speeds with an average noise rating. On the low end, you can install a 20-inch whole house fan with a single speed for about $450. On the high end, expect to pay $2,900 to install a 36-inch whole house fan with variable speed settings and Smart technology.
Whole House Fan Installation Cost
|Whole House Fan Price|
|National average cost||$730|
Whole House Fan Price per Square Feet
The recognized standard for sizing calls for the air to be turned over once every 2 to 3 minutes. If you have a fan that is too small, some rooms in your home will not be properly cooled. A fan that is too large will be unnecessary for your space and result in you spending too much on your whole house fan. The best way to find the correct size is to calculate your home’s air volume.
First, measure the length and width of each floor and multiply them. Add the floors together to find the overall square footage of all the floors. Multiply the overall floor area by the average height of your ceilings to find the total air volume in cubic feet. Next, multiply the total air volume in cubic feet by 30 for a complete air change every 2 minutes. Divide the result by 60 to find the CFM for your fan to cool your entire house. Here is the square footage needed for common whole house fans:
|Square Feet||CFM Needed||Average Cost|
|1,500 sq.ft.||6,000||$160 - $1,100|
|2,000 sq.ft.||8,000||$250 - $1,200|
|2,500 sq.ft.||10,000||$360 - $1,350|
|3,000 sq.ft.||12,000||$400 - $1,250|
|3,500 sq.ft.||14,000||$420 - $1,300|
|4,000 sq.ft.||16,000||$500 - $1,350|
Whole House Fan 1,500 Sq.Ft.
Whole house fans built for 1,500 sq.ft. homes cost between $160 and $1,100. A home with 1,500 sq.ft. of space generally has two to three bedrooms and a family room. When it comes to finding the correct whole house fan, purchase one with a rating of 6,000 CMF. This ensures the air in your home is exchanged properly every few minutes.
Whole House Fan 2,000 Sq.Ft.
Whole house fans built to cool 2,000 sq. ft. average $250 to $1,200. For a home with 2,000 sq.ft. of space, buy a 8,000 CFM whole house fan to properly circulate the air. Homes of this size generally have three or four bedrooms and a separate family and/or dining room.
Whole House Fan 2,500 Sq.Ft.
Homes of 2,500 sq.ft. are generally more modern and need a larger fan to cool. For this size, you need a 10,000 CFM whole house fan. These units range from $360 to $1,350. A 2,500 sq.ft. home can accommodate three to four bedrooms and separate family and dining rooms.
Whole House Fan 3,000 Sq.Ft.
On average, whole house fans for a 3,000 sq.ft. home cost between $400 and $1,250. These house fans cool a house with four or more bedrooms and a few additional rooms. Typically, you need a 12,000 CFM whole house fan to successfully keep the rooms comfortable.
Whole House Fan 3,500 Sq.Ft.
House fans for a 3,500 sq.ft. home average from $420 to $1,300. If you need to cool a 3,500 sq.ft. home, you generally need a whole house fan that is rated between 14,000 CFM. This fan can cool down a home with five or more bedrooms and separate family and dining rooms..
Whole House Fan 4,000 Sq.Ft.
On average, whole house fans for a 4,000 sq.ft home cost between $500 and $1,350. If you have 4,000 sq.ft. of space to cool, purchase a unit with a CFM rating of 16,000. These whole house fan options are beneficial for larger properties, given that there is a larger area that needs ventilating.
Whole House Fan Cost by Diameter
Whole house fans come in different sizes, which impact the noise level and performance. There are a handful of dimensions to choose from based on your home’s size and budget. If you select a house fan that is too small for your space, you will not be able to circulate all the air properly, which can leave your home feeling stuffy and warm. On the other hand, installing one that is too big for your home is simply a waste of extra money.
|Whole House Fan Diameter||CFM of Air Moved||Average Cost|
|20 inches||3,300 CFM||$140 - $1,050|
|24 inches||4,500 CFM||$250 - $900|
|30 inches||5,700 CFM||$310 - $1,000|
|36 inches||6,900 CFM||$420 - $850|
Average Cost of a Whole House Fan by Speeds
Some whole house fans come with only one base speed, while others offer different options. The difference in speed impacts how quickly fresh air moves through your space. However, it also plays a big role in how loud your fan is. It is your decision to stick to the basics or find a fan with the right settings. Here are some of the most popular options so that you can find the best fit:
|Fan Speed||Average Cost|
|Single-Speed||$300 - $800|
|Two-Speed||$600 - $1,850|
|Three-Speed||$650 - $1,800|
|Variable-Speed||$700 - $1,700|
Single-Speed Whole House Fan
Single-speed whole house fans cost between $300 and $800. Installing a single-speed whole house fan is an effective method to cool a home. These units are low-maintenance, energy-efficient, and easy-to-use, making them a great choice in cooler climates. With only one speed, there is a greater chance your fan is noisier than models with multiple settings. If that is the case, run it when no one is home or when it is the least bothersome.
2-Speed Whole House Fan
On average, two-speed whole house fans range from $600 to $1,850. Most whole house fans offer at least two speeds - low and high - so that homeowners have more control over the house’s airflow. While higher speeds move air more efficiently, they are generally louder. It is helpful to have different options to choose from so that you can ventilate your home quickly at a high speed and provide more gentle circulation at a lower speed.
3-Speed Whole House Fan
Three-speed fans cost more than two-speed alternatives, averaging between $650 and $1,800. Three-speed whole house fans make it even easier to control the amount of air cooling your home throughout the day. If you feel a low setting is too little and the high is too much, these units offer a solid middle ground to balance the noise and air circulation.
Variable-Speed Whole House Fan
On the downside, variable-speed whole house fans are more expensive than other options, with costs ranging between $700 and $1,700. These whole house fans offer the most flexibility, often allowing up to five or six different speed settings. This allows homeowners to have the greatest amount of control over airflow and noise infiltration.
Whole House Fan Cost by Motor Type
There are several options you can choose from to find the correct whole house fan for your space. Which motor works best in your home depends on several things, including the noise level and budget. Both have advantages and drawbacks:
|Motor Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Belt-Drive||$200 - $600|
|Direct-Drive||$550 - $1,500|
Belt-Drive Whole House Fan
Belt-drive whole house fans cost $200 to $600. These fans have a belt running from the motor to the blades, using an integrated pulley system to turn. They are typically easier to maintain and quieter. You can opt to use larger blades with a belt-driven system, which spin slower and offer even quieter operation. Another benefit of the belt-driven fan is its standard motor, which is easily repaired or replaced if there is an issue. There is more friction between moving parts, which can lead to more maintenance and higher energy costs. For this reason, belt-drive fans are generally better for smaller homes that do not need as much power to cool.
Direct-Drive Whole House Fan
Direct-drive fans are generally more expensive than belt-drive units and range from $550 to $1,500. Direct-driven fans have blades attached directly to the motor, making them the more simple motor type. Due to the design, the blades on a direct drive fan are smaller and flatter. They also need to spin faster, which creates more overall noise when turned on. The direct-driven fan has a motor, which is mounted in a way that it is difficult, if not impossible, to repair. This means you may find yourself spending more on a replacement if anything goes wrong. These fans are generally better for larger homes where the noise is not as noticeable.
Whole House Fan Price by Brand
Many homeowners opt to install a whole house fan as a fast, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to ventilate and cool their home. Whole house fans on the market vary in size, efficiency, noise level, power, and price by brand. Some are designed for larger homes and offer more airflow than others. Brands marketing whole house fans differ in quality and include varying warranties. Here are some of the most common whole house fan brands on the market:
|Master Flow||$245 - $310|
|Air Vent||$245 - $320|
|Tamarack||$350 - $2,030|
|QuietCool||$450 - $1,460|
|Comfort Cool||$795 - $1,200|
|Solatube||$1,000 - $2,900|
|Centric Air||$1,555 - $2,040|
Master Flow Whole House Fan
The cost of Master Flow whole house fans is $245 to $310 per unit. Manufactured by GAF, Master Flow whole house fans are designed for homes larger than 1,000 sq.ft. Master Flow systems are sleek in appearance, operate efficiently, and offer an affordable solution for homeowners looking to install an inexpensive whole house fan.
Air Vent Whole House Fan
Air Vent whole house fans cost $245 to $320 per unit. Air Vent offers both belt-drive and direct-drive whole house fans designed for placement in a hallway. Depending on the model, Air Vent fans are suitable for 1,500 to 2,300 sq.ft. homes. With a durable build, relatively straightforward installation, and lower pricing than many competitors, Air Vent whole house fans are a sensible option for homeowners looking to supplement or replace their air conditioning system.
Tamarack Whole House Fan
The cost of Tamarack whole house fans ranges from $350 to $2,030 per unit. Tamarack whole house fans are unique because they have an insulated self-sealing door to stop the cool air from escaping when the system is not operating. The Tamarack line of whole house fans features systems of several sizes and power levels to fit homes with varying square footage.
QuietCool Whole House Fan
The costs for QuietCool whole house fans average $450 to $1,460 per unit. QuietCool offers several series of whole house fans, each featuring multiple models. Some models can be purchased online by DIY-ers, while others must be bought and installed through an authorized dealer. Whole house fans from QuietCool provide whisper-quiet cooling with durable, energy-saving designs.
Comfort Cool Whole House Fan
Comfort Cool whole house fan systems cost $795 to $1,200 per unit. The Comfort Cool line of QA-Deluxe whole house fans delivers energy-efficient airflow for one and two-story homes. Made in the USA, QA-Deluxe models feature low operation costs and acoustic ducting to reduce sound.
Solatube Whole House Fan
The cost of Solatube whole house fan systems is $1,000 to $2,900 per unit. Solatube whole house fan systems maximize airflow and flush out impure air trapped in the home. With four whole house fans models built to accommodate homes 1,000 to 3,000+ square feet, Solatube systems can efficiently ventilate all home sizes. The intake grill on Solatube fans is removable and dishwasher-friendly, simplifying maintenance.
Centric Air Whole House Fan
The cost for Centric Air whole house fans averages $1,555 to $2,040 per unit. German-engineered Centric Air fans are made from composite materials, designed to minimize noise, and are rated for 40,000 hours of high-efficiency operation. The specialized grill design on these fan systems increases airflow. Different sizes of Centric Air models ventilate spaces from large single rooms to two-story homes.
Whole House Fan Installation Cost
The ideal location for your whole house fan is in a central hallway where there are no obstructions like vents, wiring, or plumbing. This installation most likely calls for a joist to be cut to fit and some wiring. Since installing a whole house fan requires technical knowledge, it is best left to a professional. Typically, a whole house fan installation professional can install the system within a few hours.
The average cost of a journeyman electrician is $50 to $70 per hour, while the average cost of a carpenter is around $60 to $100 per hour. You can also hire a handyman who could do carpentry and electrical for $60 to $90 per hour. Overall, the typical installation should take a few hours. Using handyman rates, the installation for labor only ranges from $180 to $270. The project, including the cost of the fan and installation, ranges between $580 and $1,270.
Whole House Fan Replacement
How long a whole house fan lasts depends on how often it is used and how well it is maintained. Some homeowners can expect to get 15-25 years out of a whole house fan system. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, whole house fans deliver higher performance when installed in an attic with sufficient ventilation space.
If you notice an increase in your energy bill or are experiencing any problems with your whole house fan, it may be time to have your system serviced or replaced. Check if your current system is under warranty before buying a new one. Replacing older models with newer whole house fans can boost your home’s efficiency. The cost of purchasing a new whole house fan unit can range from $200 to $1,500 in most cases, not including installation. Costs vary by the unit brand, quality, and size. Installing a new house fan averages $580 to $1,270, including labor and materials. Replacing your whole house fan is comparable in price, but it can be slightly more expensive when you factor in the removal and disposal costs. The entire process, including materials, labor, and removal, averages $700 to $2,000.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Whole House Fan
Many homeowners choose whole house fans because they use fresh air to cool an interior space. Whole house fans are also less expensive to run and install than traditional air conditioning units. Additionally, they can keep your home cooler by cooling its core rather than the air flowing through it.
When operating your whole house fan, open all your windows. Otherwise, you can create a backdraft that causes the fan motor to burn out. A downside to smaller whole house fans is that they run at higher speeds and can be noisy. However, there are whisper-quiet whole house fan models available to decrease noise infiltration.
Whole House Fan Energy Efficiency
Whole house fans are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. They take advantage of natural fresh air and use less electricity than traditional air conditioners. The best way to save the most energy is to run your fan during cooler times throughout the day - usually in the early morning and late evening. Whole house fans are most effective in climates where the temperature fluctuates. Homeowners in hot climates cannot get the cooling unit’s full effect because it relies on outside air.
Smart Whole House Fan
Smart WiFi whole house fan units give you the ultimate peace of mind knowing you can control the airflow in your home wherever you are. While you should always be there to turn your fans on to ensure all your windows are open, Smart settings like whole house fan switch WiFi-enabled technology make it easy to set the running time. You can also save more on heating and cooling because you can turn your fan off when your home is at a comfortable temperature with a Smart whole house fan. Alexa, Google Home, and other Smart technology providers offer great options for these innovative units, which generally cost between $450 and $900, not including installation.
Whole House Fan Maintenance
Whole house fans have oil ports to help the motor run, which need basic lubrication every few years. Other than that, regular maintenance for whole house fans is almost nonexistent. While exhaust fans do not require much upkeep, it is a good idea to clean the fan shutters and blades every few years to keep everything running well.
Whole House Fan vs Attic Fan
Attic fans circulate the air in the attic space, keeping the attic from getting into superheated conditions while also removing humidity. A whole house fan cools the entire home by pulling cooler air in and pushing hot air out. A whole house fan normally runs early in the morning or late at night, while attic fans run during the day to cool your space. Both units help lower your energy bills and cool your home, but whole house fans get the job done quicker because they are installed between your living space and the attic and pull fresh air throughout the entire space.
Whole House Fan vs AC Cost
Whole house fans are a cost-effective choice for homeowners. Expect to pay between $200 and $1,500 for the equipment alone, depending on if you want a belt-drive or direct-drive unit. Installing an air conditioning unit costs from $2,000 to $4,000. Beyond the unit’s cost, whole house fans also come out on top in energy costs.
Another notable difference between a whole house fan and an air conditioning unit is the noise level. In general, whole house fans tend to be noisy, especially when using a high-speed setting. On the other hand, AC tends to be much quieter, particularly when using a central air conditioning unit. To dampen the noise in a whole house fan, it should be installed with rubber or felt gaskets.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Whole House Fan Covers
Fan covers range in price from $30 to $85. The covers typically go over the shutters on the interior of the house and help keep the cold air out of the attic during the winter months. On top of keeping homes more comfortable, this also helps homeowners save on heating and cooling costs every year.
Choose from various sizes to fit your specific fan and install them on the attic or house side. Fan covers are fairly easy to install whether you choose to tackle the project yourself or hire a professional. They are also easy to remove in the spring when you want to take advantage of your whole house fan throughout the warmer months.
Insulated Whole House Fan
Insulated doors add even more protection than a fan cover. Many whole house fan models come with insulated doors that are on the attic side and attach to the fan system. They close over the fan to insulate from the attic side. The cost is reflected in the price of the fan. Fans with insulated doors cost between $580 and $860 more.
Whole House Fan Timer
Timers are useful because you can set the time you want your system to run, and they automatically turn off at the set time. Choose between analog and digital models that can be controlled manually or through Smart apps on your phone. While this can be a useful feature for turning your fan off, it is recommended that you are the one in control of turning it back on again rather than relying on automatic settings. This ensures all your windows are open and your fireplace is closed before you start running the fan. Timers range in price from $35 to $150.
Whole House Fan Vent
If your attic does not have the proper ventilation, install vents throughout your home to allow the air to flow. Whole house fan vents help prevent condensation due to temperature fluctuations throughout the year. It is important to have a balanced ventilation system to ensure you have the correct number of intake and exhaust vents.
Many homes with whole house fans feature foundation vents, attic vents, and soffit and ridge vents. When it comes to installing whole house fans, you generally need two to four times the normal area that regular attic vents cover to successfully exhaust the fan’s air outside. Installing vents should usually be left to professionals and electricians charge between $40 and $100 an hour. The vents generally cost $20 to $60 each.
Whole House Fan Wall Switch
Fan wall switches can be used to operate both belt-drive and direct-drive whole house fans so that you can easily control different speeds based on the time of day and year. On average, wall switches cost between $20 to $50. While you can install them DIY, it is recommended to hire an electrician, which costs between $40 and $100 an hour.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Windows must be open when using a whole house fan. The system works by pulling the warm, stale air into the attic and drawing the cool, fresh outdoor air into the house through open windows and doors. If you do not open your windows, there is a danger of backdrafting or pulling the flames out from pilot lights of gas appliances and furnaces, causing a carbon dioxide buildup in your home. Do not light a fire in the fireplace when using a whole house fan because the flames could get sucked into the room.
- When using a whole house fan, do not use the air conditioner or furnace. This would defeat the purpose because you use more energy. An air conditioner requires the windows to be closed, while the house fan needs them to be open.
- Certain regions may require permits to install your whole house fan. Check with your local government to see what the requirements are. If you have your system installed by a professional, they can assist you with the permit application.
- Mold can be a problem in humid regions where humid air condenses on surfaces that can eventually form mold. Your basement area must be free of mold and dust to prevent it from circulating throughout your home.
- Whole house fans can increase the resale value of a home, as more prospective buyers are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional energy sources. Most homes with whole house fans have higher energy ratings, which can attract more environmentally conscious buyers.
- In many areas, local electric companies offer rebates to people who purchase a whole house fan. This can lower the overall cost of installing the product, making it an even more economical choice for your home.
- Turn on your whole house fan when the temperature is coolest, and turn it off throughout the hotter parts of the day. This ensures you circulate the best air into your home rather than heating it up.
- Use manual timers to turn your whole house fan on and off. It is especially important that you have control over when it turns on rather than relying on an automatic switch because it is crucial to ensure windows are open and fireplaces are closed.
- How much does it cost to install a whole house fan?
Installing a whole house fan is a complicated process and should be left to a professional. The average cost to install a whole house fan ranges between $580 and $1,270, depending on the fan size and type. This overall price includes labor, materials, and the fan. Ask multiple licensed contractors in your area for a price quote so that you can get the most value out of your new whole house fan.
- How does a whole house attic fan work?
A whole house attic fan creates positive pressure in the house by pulling fresh air in and pushing the hot, humid air out. This provides better ventilation and keeps your home cooler without using as much energy as a traditional air conditioner. A regular attic fan is similar in terms of eliminating hot air out of your attic space, but it will not cool off your entire interior like a whole house fan.
- What is a whole house fan?
A whole house fan circulates the air throughout the entire home by creating positive pressure in the attic and pulling in fresh air from the outdoors. This lowers the temperature and humidity of the home’s interior.
- How long can you run a whole house fan?
You can technically run a whole house fan for as long as you please, but there are optimal times throughout the day to get the most use. Generally, it is best to run your fan when it is the coldest part of the day so that the cool air circulates throughout your space for a longer time. This is generally throughout the night.
- Are whole house fans loud or noisy?
Yes, a whole house fan can be very noisy, especially if it is not installed properly. However, they are quieter than traditional air conditioning units on average. To mitigate noise infiltration, run a larger fan at a low speed rather than relying on a smaller fan at high speed. Additionally, ensure your fan is installed with rubber or felt gaskets to further dampen the noise.
- How much energy does a whole house fan use?
A whole house fan uses 120 to 600 watts, which costs between $0.01 to $0.05 per hour of use. In comparison, a basic air conditioner costs approximately $0.20 per hour, and an average window air conditioning unit can cost more than $0.17 per hour.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.