What are the Benefits of an Attic Fan?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

An attic fan can provide a number of benefits, most of which have to do with the regulation of heat within a home. An attic fan can significantly reduce the heat in the attic, as well as in the entire house. Furthermore, many attic fan models use less energy than air conditioners. For these reasons, many people in climates that are hot year round, or even just for a portion of the year, choose to install attic fans. Depending on the size of the house and the effectiveness of the attic fan, it is possible for this kind of ventilation to take the place of air conditioning.

Solar attic fans are powered by solar panels mounted to roofs.
Solar attic fans are powered by solar panels mounted to roofs.

In order for an attic fan to properly reduce heat within a home, it must be possible for windows to be open, especially on the lower levels of the house. It is also important for air to flow through all of the rooms of the house. This means that, for the best results, doors to rooms such as bedrooms, offices, and dens should be left open. When the attic fan is on and the windows are open, the fan pulls cool air into the house and forces hotter air out of the house. Rooms that are closed off may not be ventilated as well as those that are left open.

Many people find that the temperature in the house noticeably drops when an attic fan is turned on. This is another benefit to attic fans. While air conditioners can take longer to cool a house, an attic fan changes the temperature in a more immediate way. Another benefit is that an attic fan constantly pulls fresh air into the house, unlike most air conditioners.

There are also financial and environmental benefits to using an attic fan. Because these kinds of fans often use less energy than air conditioners, they are better for the earth and also result in lower energy bills. There are some especially efficient attic fans that are powered by solar energy. These, of course, are even more environmentally friendly.

In regions that regularly experience very high temperatures, these kinds of fans may not be sufficient to cool a house. They can, however, be used along with air conditioners to reduce the use of air conditioners. When installing attic fans, it is important to place them in a way that maximizes their effectiveness and promotes the best flow of air throughout the house.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


Most people think a good exhaust fan in the attic is solely for lowering the temperature in the space. Sure, keeping the attic cool in the summer is important. However, the fan also helps control moisture build up and prevent mold. We all know how dangerous to your health and how costly to remove mold can be.

And another bad thing about mold is it can be in your house and growing in the walls for a long time without you knowing it is there.


The attic in our house was unbelievably hot when we first moved into the house. The temperature would rise to well over 90 degrees on average during the summer. This didn't concern us too much because we don't use the attic, and we keep the door closed. However, we knew that our energy costs were much higher because of the heat building up above us.

There was an old attic fan already in place, but it was outdated and no longer worked. We had so may other repairs to make on the old house that we didn't make buying a new attic fan a top priority. Once we did get around to getting a new fan and installing it, the temperature in the attic drop about 10 degrees and our energy bills have come down a little as well.

We really should have done this as soon as we moved in, but like I said, we were overwhelmed with all the repairs and upgrades the house needed.

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