Best Place to Install an Attic Fan

An electric attic fan, or whole house fan, is a valuable alternative to air conditioning if you do not want the expense of running your air conditioning unit all summer or don’t have the money to install central air. These are easy to use, as long as they are correctly installed. They require minimal maintenance, as well. They suitably cool down your living space for added comfort. These functional units are easy to install and offer superb performance. If you have decided to install an attic fan, then this is the article for you.

Where should attic fans be placed?

Where to place an attic fan is a matter of personal preference and budget as well. Gable and the roof are the familiar places. The benefits of these two locations are quite similar.

Roof installation

This type may be relatively costlier as the shingles need to be removed and a hole created. This type also requires work down from the outside- the roof. It may also not meet your preferred aesthetics as it is visible from the ceiling.

Gable placement

Gable placement is a more cost-effective option, particularly if you have a gable vent already in place. It should be closer to an available outlet. This type is also easier to install as no outside work is required.

How much does it cost to install an attic fan?

Attic fans are a great way to cool the space as well as protect the stored items. They also result in cutting down your energy bills as your air conditioning unit may have a hard time trying to cool off this area. In general, the prices of best attic fans are between $300 and $600. Most homeowners spend up to $550 to install an attic fan, with labor inclusive. Several factors may influence the final cost.

Fan size and cost

The fan size should be proportional to the attic size. The prices of the fans differ depending on their sizes. There are other considerations you may need to make if the attic is poorly insulated.

Installation and Location

Also, depending on the location for fan installation, the cost may differ. Roof installations cost more the gable installations. Roof installations require sealing roof holes with shingles and other materials that may translate to additional installation and labor costs. Gable installation is a more convenient option, especially if you have a gable vent already installed.

Labor costs

Finally, labor costs depend on the company. The hired professionals may include an electrician, carpenters, roofers, and so on. They may charge differently depending on the services they offer.

When should an attic fan be installed?

Attic fans are the perfect combination to achieve a durable and energy-efficient home. Here are the times why you should install an attic fan:

During the winter

A natural flow of natural air into the attic ventilates during the winter keeping it cold and reducing the risk of ice damming. Moreover, proper air sealing and insulation keep the attic cold as it blocks the entry of moist air and heat from below.

During the summer

At this time, the natural airflow protects the roof shingles and remove moisture. The insulation will also resist heat transfer into the house.

How long should you run an attic fan?

Attic fans are designed to cool down your living space. It works to pull air in through the open windows and doors while pushing the hot air out through the attic vents. Some models are designed with thermostats, so they automatically turn on when the air attains a specific temperature. The more straightforward attic fans have on/off switches or dials to run the fan for a particular amount of time, like 15 minutes.

Depending on the season, you may need to run the attic fan for different lengths of time. For instance, during the summer, the fan may run for a longer time than in the winter. Otherwise, attic fans can run to a limited period.

Attic Gable-mounted fan installation

Attic gable-mounted fan installations are the simplest to be performed, particularly if you have a gable vent already in place. All the work can be done from the interior, and you do not have to work from outside. You can install it by yourself or hire a professional. Also, be keen on the fan owner’s manual to get exact details and measurements. The following steps can be followed.

Prepare the opening

This should be done if there is no existing gable vent or an accurately sized one. If there is one ideally-sized gable vent in place, you can proceed to the next step. If the vent is too small, however, you are required to remove the shutter that is under-sized, and using your new shutter, make edge markings that you’ll use for cutting.

After this, clear all obstructions such as lap siding and framing. With the use of a saber saw, cut the new marked edges. The new shutter can be secured using screws and the caulk for sealing the perimeter.

Mounting panel

The plywood should be ideally-sized to fit the framing that is around the shutter. The fan to be installed should have a cutout, which will be used to mark out the hole size. With this as the guide, a hole should be made on the plywood and cut out using the saber saw. The fan should be set and centered in the plywood, and the mounting bracket screwed in.

Securing the fat to the gable wall

The entire assembly is then centered behind the shutter, and the framing is secured with nails. The included thermostat can be attached at a corner of the plywood mount.

Fan wiring

The power should be off before you commence the wiring procedure. The thermostat should be connected to the circuit using an electrical cable. Make sure the correct wires are connected. The wires should be secured using staples. You are advised to hire an electrician for the wiring process.

Roof vent exhaust installation

For roof vent exhaust installation, you will be required to work from the interior and the exterior. It is highly recommended that you hire a professional for enhanced safety since this work poses a danger. The correct handling of shingles and roofing is crucial to prevent leakage. If you take on DIY, ensure that you use the proper safety precautions, particularly the electricity part.

It is noteworthy that roof vents to be installed near the peak, ridge, or the highest point of your roof for best performance. You may also need to put aside your aesthetic preferences or plans and ensure that replacing and lifting shingles and flashing is followed. That is to spare you leaks or water damage.

Marking a center

From the ridge, you’re required to take a measurement 20 inches down and mark the center between the joists. You can drive a dowel through the center to show the center on your roof.

Cutting and removing immediate shingles

A circle should be marked on the roof around the dowel that matches the fan’s flashing measurement requirements. Cut out the marked circle in the shingles with a utility knife and temporarily remove the surrounding shingles.

Cut your airway

Again mark a circle to fit between the joists on your roof. Be sure not to cut the beams. After which you can go ahead and cut the hole through the roof.

Vent installation

The vent can now be secured on the roof. What’s more, roofing cement to be used around the circle edge and directly applied to the ceiling. The fan should be secured using screws.

Flash sealing

Caulk should be applied to the flashing edges to block out any moisture. The shingles can now be replaced and secured.

Fan wiring

The necessary wiring should be performed, paying heed to the precautions.

The whole house fan installation

A whole house fan installation is the work of a professional. This process will require wiring, measurements, as well as creating new vents. Proper installation is vital to prevent backdrafts, pulling air from your water heater, furnace, or gas appliances. On the other hand, insufficient ventilation may allow dangerous combustion toxins such as carbon monoxide to enter your living space.

A licensed and experienced professional will do a great job putting a tight-sealing winter cover and an access door to allow the homeowner to switch between the cooling and heating methods easily. A professional will also make accurate calculations for the ventilation requirements to ensure maximum cooling and energy efficiency.

Follow these steps will be taken for the whole house fan installation:

Prepare the framing

Plywood and insulation should be removed from the installation area, ideally a central hallway. Whole house fans are designed to fit between joists of the attic. Install two 2 x 10 boards, which act as fan frames between joists. Leave a little space (wiggle room) for the fan. This should be secured with nails. You are then required to re-install the plywood cutting a square along with the framing in the ceiling and plywood as well.

Insulate and weather-strip

Spray the insulation in the gaps between ceiling and attic. Also, apply weather stripping to the fan at the point where it rests on the plywood.

Install the fan

You can now set the fan in the frame and secure it with screws. You should also secure the grill to the hallway side of the installation.

Connection to an electrical outlet

After all, this is done, you need to connect to an electrical outlet. You may need to have one installed if you do not have one in range or is not available.

DIY fans vs. hiring a pro

On average, hiring a professional for attic fan installation may cost you less than $600. Labor makes up a small percentage of the total, making hiring a professional a more cost-effective and worthwhile option.

At this cost, you are assured of quality installation in all aspects, from electricity to the final mounting’s optimal performance. You will also be adequately informed, and the professional will advise you on the best equipment that will meet your needs.

Moreover, a professional is most likely able to complete the work in a single day. DIY is not recommended for roofing, electrical, or solar work.


Attic fans or whole house fans are a worthy investment in any home. These units are not only functional but also save you on time and money in the long run. You can count on them to do the job once correctly installed. Do not hesitate to have one installed for the ideal living space.