Ashburn, VA

How much does a whole-house fan cost to install?

$600 – $2,300 average cost installed

Get free estimates from attic fan installers near you, or view our cost guide below.

January 11, 2022

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert attic fan installers on HomeGuide.

Whole-house fan cost

A whole-house fan costs $600 to $2,300 installed on average. Whole-house attic fan prices alone are $300 to $1,500, depending on the size and type. Whole-house fan installation costs $300 to $800 in labor when using existing wiring or $600 to $1,600 with a new circuit and switch.

Whole-house fan installation cost - chart
Whole-house fan installation cost - chart

Whole-house fan cost
National average cost $1,500
Minimum cost $450
Maximum cost $3,000
Average cost range $600 to $2,300

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

  • A whole-house fan cools the entire home, while an attic fan only cools the attic itself.
  • A whole-house fan does not reduce humidity as it uses the outside air to cool the home.

Whole-house fan installation costs

Whole-house fan installation costs $600 to $2,300 on average, depending on attic conditions and the fan size and type. The installation estimate typically includes labor, insulation, and permit costs but not a fan cover or shutters.

Whole-house-fan installation costs
Factor Average cost
Whole-house fan $300 – $1,500
Fan shutters (if not included) $40 – $200
Attic fan cover $20 – $40
Insulation (1 roll) $20 – $30
Permits / inspection $50 – $350
Installation labor & wiring $300 – $1,600

Whole-house fan installation example - side view
Whole-house fan installation example - side view

Labor costs to install a whole-house fan

Labor costs $300 to $800 to install a whole-house fan when using existing wiring or $600 to $1,600 with a new dedicated circuit and switch. Labor costs increase if additional vents or framework modifications are required.

Labor costs to install whole-house fan
Job Labor cost to install
Installation using existing attic wiring $300 – $800
Installation including a dedicated circuit and switch $600 – $1,600
Find top-rated contractors to install your fan. View Pros

The following factors affect the labor cost:

  • Attic size and modifications – Some fan installations require cutting the ceiling joists, adding rafters, or adding vents.
  • Roof vent installation costs $200 to $700 per vent. An attic needs 1 square foot of venting for every 450 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and may require more if the vents are screened or louvered.
  • Electricians charge $40 to $100 per hour. Whole-house fan installation takes 4 to 8 hours, depending on whether the attic has sufficient venting and wiring.
  • Installing a dedicated circuit and wall switch costs $300 to $800 and is sometimes required for a whole-house fan.
  • Handyman prices are $50 to $80 per hour. A handyman with electrical, carpentry, and drywall experience may be qualified to install a whole-house fan.
  • Drywall repair costs $200 to $750 on average. Installing a whole-house fan requires cutting a hole in the ceiling.
  • Permits cost $50 to $350 and are required for structural and electrical wiring changes.

Whole-house fan prices

Whole-house fan prices are $300 to $1,500 on average for the unit alone. Direct mounted models typically fall at the low end of the price range, while roof-mounted fans or quieter ducted fans are priced at the high end.

Whole-house fan prices
Home size (square feet) CFM recommended Average unit price
1,500 3,000 – 4,500 $300 – $1,200
2,000 4,000 – 6,000 $350 – $1,300
2,500 5,000 – 7,500 $400 – $1,400
3,000 6,000 – 9,000 $450 – $1,500

Other factors that affect whole-house fan prices include:

  • Fan size – The fan price increases as the diameter and cubic feet per minute (CFM) increase.
  • Features – Optional features like a thermostat, timer, multiple speeds, and smart functionality increase the cost but add convenience and improve efficiency.
  • Motor type – A belt-driven motor costs 20% more on average than a direct-drive model.
  • Winter cover – Adding an insulated fan cover during the winter months prevents heat from escaping through the fan opening. Most attic fans do not come with a cover.

Whole-house fan types

  • Direct mounted fans are installed in the attic floor. Installation may require moving ceiling joists due to the fan's diameter.
  • Ducted fans include a 6' long duct between a vent in the attic floor and a fan aimed at a gable or roof vent. The duct adds space between the fan and the home’s interior, providing quieter operation than direct mount fans.
  • Roof-mounted fans are installed directly in the roof and may be ducted or non-ducted, depending on the house. Roof-mounted fans are ideal for flat roofs or limited attic space. Professional installation is recommended to prevent leaks as it requires cutting a hole in the roof.

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Cost to run a whole-house fan

Running a whole-house fan costs $3 to $24 per month on average, compared to central AC running costs of $80 to $200 per month.

Cost to run a whole-house fan
Cooling method Cost per day Cost per month
Whole-house fan $0.10 – $0.80 $3 – $24
Central AC $2.70 – $6.70 $80 – $200

*Average cost to run 8 hours per day

Whole-house fan energy usage and savings

Running a whole-house fan overnight instead of the AC can save $70 to $170 per month. A whole-house fan uses 70% to 90% less energy than a central AC system, depending on the motor type. Whole-house fans with electronically commutated (ECM) motors provide the most energy savings.

Whole-house fan energy usage and savings
System Average energy usage (Watts per hour)
Whole-house fan 120 – 600
Central AC 3,000 – 5,000

Whole-house vs. attic fan cost estimate

Attic fan installation costs $300 to $900 on average. Attic fans reduce the temperature in the attic, preventing structural damage caused by heat and humidity. A whole-house fan is often installed in the attic but cools and ventilates the entire home.

Is a whole-house fan cheaper than AC?

A whole-house fan costs less to install and run than central or mini-split AC systems. Running a whole-house fan during the cooler hours reduces air conditioning needs in most homes. Still, a whole-house fan cannot completely replace an air conditioner in hot and humid climates.

Whole-house fan cost vs. central AC
Cooling system Average cost installed
Whole-house fan $600 – $2,300
Central AC installation cost $2,500 ­– $7,500
Ductless mini-split AC installation cost $1,800 – $10,500
Consult with a professional to find the best system for you. View Pros

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Whole-house fan pros and cons

A whole-house fan improves indoor air quality and comfort by exchanging the home's air volume every 3 to 4 minutes. Whole-house fans are not ideal for hot and humid climates or areas requiring extra security because they rely on outside air drawn in through open windows.

Whole-house fan pros and cons
Pros Cons
  • Cools the home quickly
  • Keeps attic air cool
  • Reduces AC use by 50% to 90% and prolongs its life
  • Improves indoor air quality and comfort
  • Inexpensive to run
  • Better for the environment than AC
  • Does not lower humidity
  • Requires open windows
  • May pull dust and pollen into the house
  • Older models can be noisy
  • Some models require additional framework and venting
  • May increase winter utility bills due to escaped heat
Use pollen- and dust-blocking screens on open windows when using a whole-house fan to allow fresh air into the home without any allergens.

Are whole-house fans worth it?

Whole-house fans are worth it in most homes and typically have a 1- to 3-year return on investment (ROI) due to AC energy savings. Homes in moderate climates with a significant temperature difference between the days and evenings see the most benefit.

Do whole-house fans work?

A whole-house fan effectively cools the home when the outside air is cooler than the indoor air. Whole-house fans draw in outside air through open windows and vent warm indoor air through the attic. Whole-house fans work best in the evening, overnight, and early morning.

How much does a QuietCool whole-house fan cost?

A QuietCool whole-house fan costs $500 to $3,000 installed or $450 to $1,500 for the fan alone, depending on the size, type, and motor. QuietCool offers "whisper-quiet and energy-efficient" ducted whole-house fans for attic installation and roof-mounted fans for homes without attic space.

Whole-house fan size calculator (CFM)

Select a whole-house fan size that moves 2 to 3 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air per square foot of living space. Ceiling height and geographical location also impact the required fan size. Homes with ceilings over 8 feet should size up due to the increased air volume.

Whole-house fan size calculator (CFM)
Home location Recommended CFM per square foot
Coastal and mountain regions 2
Inland region 2.5
Desert region 3

Where to install a whole-house fan?

The ideal location to install a whole-house fan is in the attic floor through the ceiling at the home's center, typically in a hallway and free from obstructions. Install the fan in the uppermost ceiling of a multi-level home.

When should I run my whole-house fan?

Run a whole-house fan when the outside air is cooler than the inside air, usually in the evening, overnight, or early morning. Turn off the air conditioning when running the whole-house fan to avoid wasting energy.

Still have questions? Ask a pro. View Pros

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Finding a whole-house fan installer

Before hiring an electrician or handyman near you to install a whole-house fan:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for professionals with experience installing whole-house fans and evaluating the attic's venting requirements.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • Ask for references.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Use a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • What experience do you have with installing whole-house fans?
  • What size fan do I need for my home?
  • Does the installation include a cover or insulation to prevent heat from escaping during the winter?
  • Will my attic require additional vents?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • How long should a new fan last?
  • How do I control the fan?
  • Is there a warranty, and if so, what does it include?
  • What is and is not included in the estimate?
  • What additional costs should I expect?

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