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

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

Ashburn, VA

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

$600 – $2,300average cost installed

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$600 – $2,300 average cost installed

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Are you a pro? Get new customers
Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Whole-house fan cost

A whole-house fan costs $600 to $2,300 installed on average. Whole-house attic fan prices are $300 to $1,500 for the unit alone, depending on the size and type. Installation labor costs $300 to $800 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.

Get free estimates from ceiling fan installers near you.

Whole-house fan installation costs

Whole-house fan installation costs $600 to $2,300, 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

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.

  • Electrician rates are $50 to $130 per hour. Whole-house fan installation takes 4 to 8 hours, depending on if the attic has sufficient venting and wiring.

  • Installing a dedicated circuit and wall switch costs $250 to $900 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. 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 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 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 {#fan)

There are three 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.

Cost to run a whole-house fan

Running a whole-house fan costs $3 to $24 per month, 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

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.

Get free estimates from ceiling fan installers near you.
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

Whole-house vs. attic fan cost estimate

Attic fan installation costs $300 to $900. 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 floor but cools and ventilates the entire home.

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.

Get free estimates from ceiling fan installers near you.
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

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.

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.

  • Read their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for 5+ 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?

  • What is and is not included in the estimate?

  • What additional costs should I expect?

  • 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?