Whole House Fan Pros and Cons To Know

Whole House Fan Pros and Cons

whole house fan pros and cons

Whole house fans work by taking in outside air from a ventilation system in your attic space then moving the air through your whole home’s interior to help cool it.

They’re perfect for homes that don’t have air conditioning units and are especially common in older homes. Although it’s pretty common for new homeowners to install an air conditioning unit after buying their new home, opting for a whole house fan instead is becoming more common.

Here are a few whole house fan pros and cons to know.


  • Whole house fans help homeowners save money on cooling costs and use significantly less energy than air conditioners or HVAC systems especially in locations where nights are cool. They’re a good way to take advantage of the outside air if you live in a moderate to cool climate.
  • Removes stale air that can cause infections or spread viruses.
  • Whole house fans with enclosed motors are maintenance-free.
  • These fans circulate air through the home and the attic for an all-around cooling system that can be used essentially any time of the year you like.


  • Whole house fans don’t save much money in climates where the night is as warm as the daytime. That’s because there’s not much of a temperature difference to take advantage of.
  • Older whole house fan models can be loud, causing unwanted vibrations and excess noise throughout your home.
  • Depending on the model, you might need to add extensive framing in the attic as well as additional electrical power wiring for the installation.
  • Whole house fans do not dehumidify, unlike air conditioners. If you live in a humid climate, the whole house fan may not be enough to cool your home on its own.

What’s the Difference Between an Attic Fan and a Whole House Fan?

Attic fans and whole-house fans are similar in several ways but there are a few key differences. The main difference between the two is that an attic fan runs only during the heat of the day while house fans run at night and during the cooler evening hours.

Another key difference is that an attic fan helps mitigate the build-up of stale air and heat in your attic, so the attic ventilation keeps the warm air from radiating into your living space. The whole house fan cools the entire living space and forces hot, stale air out of the entire home to bring fresh air indoors.

According to the Home Ventilating Institue (HVI), whole house fans bring in cooler air, push it throughout the home, then expel the hot air out of the vents in the attic. In comparison, attic fans reduce built-up heat in the attic only.

How Much Does It Cost To Run a Whole House Fan?

how much does it cost to run a whole house fan

Whole house fans are well known for being more energy-efficient. Overall, whole house fans cost about $0.01 – $0.05 per hour of use while an air conditioning system may cost about $0.20 per hour of use.

That’s enough to really add up over time!

Does a Whole House Fan Save Money vs. Air Conditioning?

Yes, absolutely! You’ll save money compared to running air conditioning. The cost of installation is cheaper as well.

Is It Worth Getting a Whole House Fan?

is it worth getting a whole house fan

If you want to save on installation and energy costs, a whole house fan will likely be worth it for your home. Remember, you need to check on your attic structure.

The structure will determine if the equipment you buy will require more work, like installing more framing in the attic to accommodate the fan. If you’re dealing with high humidity you might want to consider air conditioning instead if that’s important to you for your comfort.

How Do You Use a Whole House Fan in Summer?

how do you use a whole house fan in summer

Using a whole house fan in the summer is one of the main reasons people install them. Climates that are hot during the day and cool at night are perfect for using a whole house fan in the summer.

Here’s how:

  • Open your windows when using the fan. Failure to do so could result in a backdraft which will overrun your fan.
  • If you don’t live in a dry climate where whole house fans work the best, you can still use it in the summer, along with your air conditioning unit. Doing this will minimize the energy you use with the air conditioner, making the whole house fan an excellent energy-saving option.

Do Whole House Fans Work in Winter?

do whole house fans work in winter

Whole house fans work all year round. If you live in a climate where it’s hot during the day and cool at night only in the winter months, you will find that you use your whole house fan in the winter far more than in the summer.

However, if you live in a region where it is hot during the day and cool at night for more months of the year, you will use it more than just in wintertime.

If you live in this type of climate, you might find that you do not use the whole house fan in the winter at all. In this instance, you might want to heat your home instead of cool it during these times.

How Long Do Whole House Fans Last?

how long do whole house fans last

Whole house fans last for about 10-15 years if used correctly. Some fans come with a limited warranty for only five years, but the general rule is that you can go about a decade without needing to replace it.

Are Whole House Fans Noisy?

are whole house fans noisy

Newer whole house fans are not very noisy if they’re still in good shape and the installation was good However, if you hear a lot of noise or clanking, there’s a good chance you’ll need to replace the fan or the fan blades.

Older versions of whole house fans are noisier than new ones, so if you have an old one, the solution to the noise might be to replace it with an updated model or see if maintenance is needed where it’s installed.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »