Whole-house fan

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Not to be confused with attic fan. ‹See Tfd›
A typical whole-house fan.
Video of a whole-house fan in operation.

A whole-house fan is a type of fan, or exhaust system commonly venting into a building's attic, designed to circulate air in a home or building.[1] It is sometimes confused with a powered attic ventilator, which exhausts hot air from the attic to the outside through an opening in the roof or gable at a low velocity.[2]

A whole-house fan pulls air out of a building and forces it into the attic space. This causes a positive pressure differential in the attic forcing air out through the gable and/or soffit vents, while at the same time producing a negative pressure differential inside the living areas which draws air in through open windows.

Powered attic ventilators, by comparison, only serve to remove some hot air from the attic.


Whole-house fans were mainly popularized in the Southern United States through the 1950s-60s, as they were much cheaper and easier to find than air conditioners and still removed hot and stale air relatively well.


There are two types of fan:

  • Ceiling Mounted: Mounted on ceiling between the attic and living space.
  • Ducted: Remotely mounted away from the ceiling; can exhaust heat from multiple locations; operation is extremely quiet.



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