Many of you might have had an attic fan or a whole-house fan when you were a kid. Before modern air conditioning became affordable for the masses, many people used these types of fans to help cool their homes in the summer. But with modern air conditioning, do you still need one of these? What do they do anyways?

PRN Roofing serves the Tuscaloosa area with innovative roofing solutions for your home, business, or multifamily property. From thermal imaging inspections to residential or commercial painting, we aim to offer solutions for all of your exterior needs. In this first of our attic fan blog series, we’ll take a look at what exactly is an attic fan and a whole house fan. Then, we’ll examine if you need one or the other or both in your Tuscaloosa home. Contact us today for your free roofing estimate!


You’ll find an attic fan either in your attic itself or in an exterior wall in your attic. These guys do not move quite as much air as whole-house fans do, with the typical amounts being 72,000 cubic feet of air per hour (CFH). Some can move up to 360,000 CFH, but only if they are installed in the wall. Attic fans only move air through your attic, and they are designed to reduce the heat in your attic, which can significantly impact the temperature in your home if hot air accumulates in your attic. Since your attic is more or less an enclosed space, temperatures can soar above 160 F, which can then cause the ceilings of your upper story to heat up, which makes your whole house hotter. Attic fans need large exhaust openings in the roof for the heat to escape in order to function optimally. An attic fan works quite well in conjunction with your air conditioning unit.


A whole-house fan was probably what your grandparents had to cool their home, and while they probably referred to it as an attic fan, the two, while similar in nature, have very different purposes.

You can probably guess by its name the purpose of a whole-house fan. A whole-house fan is designed to pull air in from the outside world through your home’s open windows and doors and then push this air out through your attic. They are usually found on the upper floor of your home. The amount of air these powerful fans can pull in is incredible, up to 300,000 cubic feet of air per hour (CFH). If your grandparents did have a whole-house fan, you might recall how papers would blow off tables and standing below it as it cooled you off in the middle of a hot July night.

However, because these whole-house fans pull in air from the outside, they are mainly useful at night since you don’t necessarily want hot air being pulled into your home during the day. However, if temperatures drop during the night where you live, these whole-house fans can be run at night and can then keep your home cool for the majority of the next day, saving you in electricity costs over running your air conditioner 24/7.

That being said, if you are running an air conditioner, you don’t want to have your whole-house fan pushing all of that cool air up into your attic. Air conditioning and whole-house fans don’t mix very well together when running at the same time. However, they can work quite well when used to complement each other.

Whole-house fans do require many soffit vents in order to suck in cooler outdoor air into the attic. Otherwise, the fans won’t work, and you will just be wasting your time and money instead. These types of vents are super easy to install by your local roofing company, PRN Roofing in Tuscaloosa.


When you are looking for innovative and expert roofing solutions, PRN Roofing in Tuscaloosa can help. We offer residential, multifamily, and commercial roof repairs, roof replacements, and roof inspections in order to keep your roof in tip-top shape. In addition, we can help repair your siding or fix any gutter leaks you may have. If you need your home painted, give us a call as well. When it comes to home or business exterior needs, PRN Roofing has the answers. Call us today!