What is a Gable Attic Fan?

Troy Holmes

There are many types of fans designed for homes and other buildings. A gable attic fan is a special fan made for an attic wall. The fan is attached to the exterior wall of a home or building and is used to pull heat out of the building by forcing it outside. A gable fan helps keep a home cool in the summer months by reducing the temperature in the upper area of home.

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

A gable attic fan is available in many sizes, though most less then 2 feet (60.96 cm) in diameter. These fans are typically connected to an electrical outlet as the primary source of power. The fan is placed on one side of the building with the opposite side having an air grill vent in the wall. This enables fresh air to be pulled in from one end of the building and pushed out the other end.

Attic fans are a good option for livestock barns.
Attic fans are a good option for livestock barns.

Installing a gable attic fan is a simple process that requires only a few tools. A hole should be cut into the side of the building that matches the size of the fan unit. The unit should next be mounted in the hole with screws and attachment devices. After it is connected to the building, a screen protector and air grill should be connected to the outside of the building.

A gable attic fan can run automatically. This is done with a special temperature gauge feature, which is similar to a heater system in a home. When the fan reaches a predefined temperature, it turns on and remains running until the built-in thermometer reads an acceptable temperature. This automatic feature is a convenient option because it keeps the attic cool at all times.

The solar-powered gable attic fan is a new energy-efficient form of attic fan. These fans include a small solar panel as the energy supply. This panel is connected to the roof of the building and includes a small power wire that is connected to the fan device. A small solar panel is sufficient because gable fans do not require much energy.

Large barns and warehouses often use gable attic fans as the primary cooling device for the building. These fans can reduce the interior temperature of a building considerably because without them the heat becomes trapped in the ceiling area. The attic fan is good option for livestock barns because it is an inexpensive cooling device that can protect the animals from excessive temperatures.

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Discussion Comments


@JimmyT - Putting a fan under the house is an interesting idea. I am certainly no expert, but at least in my experience, the crawlspace under a house stays at a fairly cool temperature during the summer. I'm sure a fan could make it a little colder, but it probably wouldn't be enough to have a huge effect.

I am curious, though, about how loud one of these fans would be. I have see similar fans in barns and warehouses, and they are quite loud. Are there fans made especially for houses that are quieter than their industrial counterparts?


I love the idea of being able to use solar panels to power the fan. I wonder how much more the fan costs to have the solar panels rather than using an electrical outlet. In the long run, it is probably cheaper to go with the plug method, which is a shame.

I know that heat rises, so having a fan in the attic is more sensible, but could you also have a fan under the house? Would this do anything to keep it cooler?


Has anyone ever used a gable attic fan in a house? I have heard of fans being used to cool things like livestock barns but never the attic of a home.

What kind of temperature change is typical when using a fan like this, and how long does it take to cool the area?

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