To lower the use and expense of air conditioning a home in the dog days of summer, consider installing a whole house fan to cool it down. The fan, usually installed on the second floor in the ceiling, is designed to pull air through open windows and doors and exhaust it out through the attic to the outdoors. It works best in the evening as the temperature drops, so fresh air is pulled in and forces hot air through attic vents. By morning you’ll be reaching for a blanket after a cool night’s sleep.
An electrician charges $660, including labor and material, to install a belt-driven attic fan that cools a typical 1,500-square-foot house. A homeowner with electrical and carpentry skills can buy one for $450, install it and save about 32%.
The project involves some major heavy-duty work: cutting an opening in the ceiling, installing the unit in the opening, hooking up the wires and then adding the louvered cover panel. This piece is heavy, so have a strong helper on hand to muscle the fan into position. If cutting a hole in your ceiling intimidates you, don’t hesitate to call a contractor.
Follow the fan manufacturer’s directions about wiring the unit into your home’s electrical system and to any switches or controls you choose. For the easiest installation, choose a direct-drive unit that’s designed to fit over the attic floor joists so you don’t have to cut into them. You’ll find them sold online and at home centers and lumberyards.
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Pro Cost — DIY Cost — Pro time — DIY Time — DIY Savings — Percent Saved
$660 — $450 — 8.6 — 10.0 — $210 — 32%