How Much Does a Whole-House Fan Cost?

Typical Range:

$900 - $2,500

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Published November 4, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost of a whole-house fan ranges between $900 and $2,500, fully installed. The average homeowner will spend $1,700 on a whole-house fan installation, including materials and labor costs for a local electrician and drywall contractor.

Small, budget-friendly models installed by a handyperson might take prices as low as $700, but if you want a high-end, variable-speed system with smart technology to cool a large home, your overall whole-house fan cost can go as high as $3,600.

Average Whole-House Fan Installation Cost

Average Cost High Cost Low Cost
$1,700 $2,500 $900

What Is a Whole-House Fan?

A whole-house fan is a type of ventilation cooling system for homes in low-humidity climates. Unlike a traditional central air conditioning system, a whole-house fan requires you to open your windows. The fan, usually installed in the attic, will pull cool air into the home through the open windows and force warmer air outside through attic vents.

Whole-house fans are more affordable than the cost of central air conditioning systems and are quiet and energy-efficient. However, they don’t work well in humid climates.

Cost of a Whole-House Fan per Square Foot

The square footage of your home will impact the size of the fan you need—and bigger whole-house fans cost more. The table below shows how your house size can impact cubic feet per minute (CFM), a common rating for fans.

House Size in Sq. Ft. Recommended CFM Rating Average Cost Range
1,500 3,000 – 5,000 $400 – $1,300
2,000 4,000 – 6,000 $500 – $1,400
2,500 5,000 – 7,000 $600 – $1,500
3,000 6,000 – 8,000 $700 – $1,600

Price of Whole-House Fan by Motor Type

Whole-house fans typically run on a belt-drive motor or direct-drive motor. Fans generally cost more when relying on direct-drive motors, but they may be worth the cost.

Belt-Drive Motor Notes Direct-Drive Motor Notes
Lower cost up-front Higher cost up-front
Higher cost to run Lower cost to run
Quieter fan Louder fan
More maintenance and repairs required Less maintenance and repairs required

Belt-Drive vs. Direct-Drive

While the price of either type of motor can vary significantly depending on cost factors like CFM, diameter, and brand, belt-drive models tend to be more affordable up-front. They’re also quieter.

However, belt-drive motors have more moving parts, making them more prone to malfunctioning. You’ll save on fan repair costs by opting for a direct-drive motor. These are also more energy-efficient, meaning you’ll spend less on monthly utility bills to run a direct-drive whole-house fan.

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Whole-House Fan Cost Breakdown

When estimating your whole-house fan installation cost, you’ll have to consider the cost of the system itself, related materials, and the cost of labor. Here’s how that generally breaks down:

Whole-House Fan Cost Factors Average Cost Range
Unit and other materials $600 – $1,500
Labor $300 – $1,000


The price of a whole-house fan ranges between $600 and $1,500 on average, though you can find small models for as little as $400 and large, premium models for as much as $2,600.


In general, budget between $50 and $100 per hour in labor costs for roughly six to 10 hours, or a total whole-fan installation cost of $300 to $1,000. Depending on the complexity of the installation, you'll need to hire an electrician, carpenter, or drywall repair contractor. While a handyperson may be able to handle all the tasks involved, it's better to leave electrical work to licensed professionals.

The electrician may be able to use existing attic wiring for the installation, which can dramatically decrease the price. But if the contractor needs to install a new circuit and switch, expect to pay on the high end for labor.

Depending on the fan you purchase and setup of your home, you may also need to hire a handyperson, drywall contractor, or roofer for the following:

  • Roof ventilation installation: Roof ventilation installation costs from $300–$500.

  • Ceiling joist removal: You may need to find a carpenter to cut into the ceiling joist to install the fan successfully.

  • Drywall repair: Budget about $300–$880 toward the cost of drywall repair if the contractor needs to cut a hole in any existing drywall.

  • Thermostat installation: Installing a thermostat costs around $130–$250

Other Whole-House Fan Cost Factors

The size of your home and the amount of labor required are two of the largest factors to consider when estimating the cost of a whole-house fan installation, but you'll also need to think about factors like fan speed and how it's mounted.

Fan Speed

You can usually purchase a one-speed, two-speed, three-speed, or variable-speed whole-house fan system. Variable-speed fans may have as many as five- or six-speed options. In general, the more speeds at your disposal, the easier it is to regulate your home's temperature.

But you'll pay more for three-speed and variable-speed systems. A variable-speed whole-house fan with smart technology could cost as much as $3,600, fully installed.


How your electrician mounts the system can affect the overall labor cost.

  • A direct-mounted fan sits on your attic floor. You may have to hire a carpenter to cut into the joists for installation.

  • A ducted fan uses a long (generally 6-foot) duct to aim hot air at the attic vents. This can make the system quieter and more efficient, but you may need to clear out or create attic space for this to work.

  • A roof-mounted fan makes sense if you have a flat roof. Hire a roofer near you to install it since it involves cutting a hole in your roof.


The diameter of the fan (if you measure from the tip of one blade to the tip of the opposite blade) is related to the CFM rating. In general, the larger the fan, the more powerful it is.

Thus, you'll pay more (around $700 to $1,600) for a 36-inch-diameter fan that provides 7,000 CFM than for a 20-inch-diameter fan that promises 4,000 CFM (around $400 to $1,300).


Most brands charge competitive prices for similarly powered whole-house fans. That said, more budget-friendly brands include Master Flow and Air Vent, while you’ll pay more for fans from Solatube and Centric Air.


You may need to obtain a permit to install a whole-house fan. Your contractor can advise if this is necessary and help you obtain one. Electrical permits cost between $10 and $500, depending on the project.

Whole-House Fan Cost Comparison

Whole-house fans aren’t right for every environment, but if you live in a low-humidity climate, you could save money by going with a whole-house fan over central AC. Here’s how the typical whole-house fan cost stacks up against other cooling methods.

Whole-House Fan vs. Air Conditioning

Fully installed, a whole-house fan ranges between $900 and $2,500, while central air conditioning costs much more at $3,880 to $7,900.

The cost to install a window AC is only $150 to $530, but you'll only be able to cool a single room—and not very efficiently. A mini-split ductless AC system costs between $2,000 and $14,500.

Running a whole-house fan is much more affordable than running an AC system. Depending on how often it runs, you'll spend between $5 and $25 per month on electricity for a whole-house fan.

Whole-House Fan vs. Attic Fan

Attic fans only reduce heat buildup in your attic but won't cool your entire home. Thus, attic fans are more affordable than whole-house fans, but you'll still need a cooling solution for your home. On average, an attic fan costs between $380 and $880.

Whole-House Fan vs. Swamp Cooler

Swamp coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, are ideal for dry, low-humidity environments, so they could be a good alternative to a whole-house fan. Swamp cooler prices range between $1,550 and $3,750, fully installed.

DIY Whole-House Fan Installation vs. Hiring a Pro

Whole-house fans are difficult to install, as they often require the installation of a new circuit and switch and may involve cutting into floor joists or your roof. Thus, it’s best to leave this project to professionals.

While you can hire a handyperson for basic installation, stick with local drywall installers, roofers, and electricians for more involved work. Some electrical work may even require a license.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are whole-house fans expensive to run?

No, a whole-house fan isn't expensive to run. In fact, most homeowners spend between $5 and $25 per month in electricity costs to run their whole-house fans, significantly less expensive than a high electric bill in the hot summer months when you're blasting the AC. However, remember that whole-house fans use a natural cooling method and can't do as much to keep you cool.

How long do whole-house fans last?

Whole-house fans can last between 10 and 20 years when properly maintained. Many newer whole-house fans come with extended warranties, typically anywhere between five and 15 years. If you run your whole-house fan regularly, it may give out sooner. If the system seems less effective or makes more noise than usual, it may be time to replace it.

Should my whole-house fan be off in the winter?

You should turn your whole-house fan off in the winter and close the ceiling vent. Otherwise, you risk letting hot air escape through the fan and the attic. Keep in mind that closing the vent doesn't mean it's airtight; heat can still travel through the ceiling vent. You can find whole-house fan-insulated shutter seals online or in hardware stores to keep hot air from escaping during the winter. In general, winterizing a house costs from $200 to $250. 

Can you run a whole-house fan with the windows closed?

Never run your whole-house fan with the windows closed because doing so creates negative pressure and backdrafts. Whole-house fan systems draw cool air in from outside and blow hot air out through the attic vents. Thus, the loop needs to remain open for your house to maintain a cooler temperature. Consider a different cooling system if you aren't comfortable leaving windows open at all times during the summer months.