How to Install a Whole-House Fan

A close-up of a thermostat.
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 300-750
What You'll Need
Stud finder
Portable drill
Assorted drill bits
Caulking gun
Silicone caulking
Tape measure
Carpenters square
Scrap 2x4 inch or 2x6 inch boards
Whole house fan

Installing a whole-house fan will cool your home in summer and drastically lower your electric bill. During cool nights and early mornings, turn on the fan to quickly bring in cooler air to keep the temperature of the home cooler for most of the day.

Step 1 - Select the Fan's Location

Select a location for installing your whole-house fan so that it is as near to the center of the home as possible. This location will provide maximum cooling efficiency by allowing maximum airflow to the fan's location.

Using a stud finder or going into the attic, locate and mark the studs where you will install the equipment. Ensure that no obstructions exist in the surrounding area. Remove insulation within the area of the fan’s installation. Do this from the attic, before you cut the ceiling from below.

Step 2 - Build the Fan Installation Box

Using either a fan template or a rough estimate, cut a hole into the ceiling wide and long enough to house the fan. Depending on the construction of your home, use either 2-by-4-inch or 2-by-6-inch boards to make a box above the ceiling. This box will contain the whole-house fan. Install the foam gasket that came with your fan on top of the ceiling box.

Step 3 - Install Your Whole-House Fan

Carefully raise the fan through the hole you just made and place it on top of the box. Ensure that it fits correctly and, if necessary, apply silicone caulking around any gaps or spaces between the fan and the ceiling box. Secure the fan with the installation hardware provided. When you finish, carefully replace the attic insulation that you removed earlier.

Step 4 - Complete the Wiring

You can call an electrician to wire your whole-house fan, but if you have some experience wiring, you can complete this step yourself. Wire the fan to a nearby wall switch. Once power is provided to the fan, you can control it with a remote control (which is supplied with most whole-house fans). Either the remote control or the wall switch can control the fan's air flow and power at different speeds.

Step 5 - Complete the Final Touch-Up

After the fan is wired, install the grill. Touch up the ceiling if it was marred during the installation. If necessary, apply silicone caulk between the edges of the grill and the ceiling. After the silicone dries, you can apply touch-up paint.

2 old ladies fanning themselves in lawn chairs.Sweating the cost of cooling your house? Here are the top 9 ways to save on your cooling costs.