Fans & Heaters: How to Install a Fan or Home Heater

Man Drilling Vent Under Eaves

Fans that pull air through a room, an attic, or even the whole house contribute to making your home more comfortable, and they reduce energy costs. Small vent fans in the bathroom or kitchen expel unwanted fumes and moisture. Each requires relatively simple wiring; the fan and ducts or vents require the most time.

Projects in Installing Fans & Heaters

An attic must breathe
When the weather is hot and sunny, a stuffy attic can heat up to higher than 100 degrees F, making it difficult to cool a house. In cold weather an attic that is too warm collects moisture that can damage insulation. It also can cause snow on the roof to melt, leading to ice dams at the eaves, which can damage roofing, sheathing, and interior walls and ceilings. The solution to both problems is a well-ventilated attic.

Outside air must circulate freely through an attic. Modern building codes specify types and sizes of attic vents, but an older home may be inadequately vented. An attic should have vents below, at the eaves or the soffit, and above, on the roof, at the ridge, or in the gable. A gable fan or roof fan pulls hot air out of an attic but only if the eaves or soffit vents can sufficiently allow the air to easily escape.

Choosing the right fan
Ask local builders or home center employees to determine which fan or combination of fans works best in your house. If your attic is not adequately vented, a gable fan usually is the easiest way to get the air moving. Install a roof fan if a gable fan is not feasible. To keep a house cool without turning on the air-conditioning, a whole-house fan can work wonders. Consult with a dealer to find out which size fan or fans works most effectively.

If a bathroom stays steamy or a kitchen stays smoky even with a vent fan on, poorly designed or blocked ductwork may be the culprit. Or you mayneed a more powerful fan. Add warmth to a bathroom or other areas with radiant floor heating or an electric heater.

One Hour or Less

Three simple projects to cross off of your to-do list -- just print these instructions and begin!