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What is a Whole House Fan?

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If you’re looking for the best fan, you may wonder what whole house fans are. Like central air conditioners, house ventilation systems use air vents to lower your indoor temperature. This model produces a cool breeze throughout your living space with house exhaust fans. The consistent, moderate airflow can improve indoor air quality and make your traditional air conditioner more energy efficient. So, stick around to learn what is a whole house fan and if it’s best for your house cooling needs.


  • Whole house fans draw cool air into your home and exhaust warm air through a roof vent.
  • Experts recommend running a whole house fan during nighttime and in a dry climate.
  • This type of fan requires professional installation that can cost over $1000.

After learning what whole house fans are, you should investigate what size whole house fan you need. You can learn how to calculate the CFM of a fan because getting the proper CFM (cubic feet per minute) airflow rating is critical for energy efficiency. Also, consider checking out our iLIVING 10-inch shutter exhaust fan review for a great addition to your home’s attic ventilation.

Insider Tip

To ensure proper ventilation, get a whole home fan with a high enough air-change rate for your space.

What are Whole House Fans?

Whole home fans use a negative pressure system to achieve comfortable temperatures for your room. Air intake fans pull air from the outside, filling the house with a cool breeze. Hot air rises through the attic vents, creating positive pressure on the attic floor. The built-up heat leaves the attic space through the attic exhaust vent and cools your house with a cross breeze.

How to Use a Whole House Fan

House fan manufacturers recommend cooling one space per cooling session to reach max airflow. In addition, you can use a window unit to pull air from a shaded area of your home. Open a window in your cooling space, and close other openings like windows and doors to your home. Turn on your fan to create an active breeze in your room. Lastly, experts do not recommend running your air conditioning unit while using an attic fan.


Do not run your air vent fan during high humidity levels because it can raise the air temperature in your home.

Benefits of Whole House Fans

An attic ventilator is a cost-effective cooling option during the hot summer months, thanks to the gentle breeze from cross-airflow. The active breeze in your home helps the energy efficiency of your cooling system and improves your indoor air quality. Additionally, these models last longer than box or ceiling fans, but attic fan installation requires an electrician.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 6.4% of American households use a whole house fan system. (source)

What is a Whole House Fan FAQs

When should I run my whole house fan?

You can run your fan most times, but it will be most effective during nighttime and in a dry climate. Additionally, you can maximize your cooling power by cooling one room at a time and utilizing other fans to pull air from shaded windows or sliding doors.

How expensive are whole house fans?

A whole house fan should cost between $500 to $2000, depending on the features and speed settings. That said, installation costs between $400 and $800, so the total cost might approach $3000.

What is a CFM in a fan?

Experts measure airflow as the volume of air that the fan produces in cubic meters per minute or cubic feet per minute (CFM). The average fan has a CFM rating of 4000, but the most powerful models offer up to 10,000 CFM. You need the correct CFM rating, or your fan cannot create a powerful breeze.

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