Whole House Fan vs Attic Fan

Want to cool your home? You have two kinds of fans for your consideration. These are the whole house fan vs attic fan respectively. Though both are elegant and equally beneficial, they possess some distinct differences. It is these differences that impact their performance and determine how suited they are for various roles. Although there are many alternatives such as air conditioning machine or air conditioner, we will only talk about these two in particular.

You can never make an appropriate choice without gaining an insight into the differences between these two wonderful pieces of electronics. Our discussions and reviews here below endeavor to aid you in just that. We are going to shed some light on these two appliances with the view to understanding what to expect from them.

Definition of Whole House Fan and Attic Fan

Before we embark on discussing the finer details of these two pieces of equipment, it is necessary to know just what they are in the first place. We have subsequently dedicated this segment to define the two concepts.

Whole House Fan

A whole house fan such as ceiling fan is a piece of ventilation equipment that is powerful enough to impact entire rooms and halls. This ventilation equipment is mainly fixed at the ceiling. It draws in cooler air from the outside and discharges hot air out of a room via a network of ducts. In this way, it stabilizes your interior temperatures with the cool air.

Attic Fan

As the name suggests, the attic fan is exclusively intended to impact the attic of your home. The attic is basically that space in between the ceiling and the roof of your home. Many homeowners do repurpose it to serve as an extra bedroom or to store items that are too large. There are many alternatives to choose from if you are talking about attic fan installation – attic vent or attic ventilation or simply vent, solar powered attic fan, roof vent, gable vent, solar attic fan, exhaust fan, powered attic ventilator, soffit vent, ridge vent to aerate the attic space and bring down the attic temperature compared to the outside temperature. The vent we use helps in the cooling the indoor temperature. It also improves the indoor air quality. The house can release the heat buildup. These options are better than cooler because they can bring down your cooling costs. Or you can just use a water heater. Let the stale indoor air or warm air out. Vents act like your low cost air conditioning system.


Having known what the whole house and the attic fan are, it is now our pleasure to examine their similarities and differences. This we shall do against any parameters which they exhibit:

1. Applicability

The whole house fans are designed to cool your entire house and the hallways. They are fixed mainly at the roof or at a corner which is strategic. The attic fan, on the other hand, exists to cool the attic alone. This is the space that exists in between the ceiling and the roof of your home.

2. Size and Dimensions

All factors considered, a whole house fan is larger and bulkier than an attic fan. The reason is simple. This kind of fan is designed to impact a larger surface area. It definitely has to be equally larger and stronger. The attic fan, by reason of being limited in scope, is smaller and more compact in size.

3. Power Consumption

Considering that a whole house fan is intended to impact a larger area, it is no surprise that it similarly consumes higher levels of power. With this arrangement in mind, the fan requires that you dig too deep into your pocket to maintain and operationalize it. The opposite applies to the attic fan.

4. Sphere of Influence

The areas that these two kinds of appliances impact also differ markedly in size. A whole house fan generally impacts larger square feet of space when compared to the attic fan. It hence has more powerful blades to make this possible. An attic fan is however limited in scope and area coverage.

5. Time

A whole fan is mostly useful when the exterior weather conditions are lower than your interior. It hence finds some applicability in the cold winter months in most cases. The attic fan, on the other hand, finds applications year-round. These differences stem from their working mechanisms.

6. Impacts

Though these two appliances do result in reduced utility expenses, the whole house fan carries the day. It has the impact of slashing your utility bills by a whopping 80%. The main reason underlying this is the fact that it influences entire rooms rather than the attic alone.

7. Operational Mechanism

A whole house fan sucks in cold air while it jets out stale air. For this to happen, a couple of doors or windows will have to remain open. The attic fan, on the other hand, pumps out exhaust air from the attic into the outward environment, nothing more. It does not require that you leave any window or door open.

8. Costs Implications

Obviously, the whole house fan is more expensive to come by, install, and operationalize much as it leads to huge savings. These are because it is larger, bulkier, and takes up huge space when mounted. An attic fan, on the other hand, is smaller, more compact, and of course, cheaper!

Final Verdict

As you may see from the foregoing discussions, the whole house fan is still the better equipment notwithstanding its shortcomings. It is more comprehensive in scope and brings about many benefits than its attic fan counterpart.

With this in mind, you would rather prioritize it over and above the attic fan!

Leave a Comment