Want to find the best gable attic fan to keep your home nice and cool?
Fortunately, you have found the right website.
At Home Inspector Secrets, we have put together a very valuable guide on choosing the best gable attic fans for you to buy right now.
This exhaustive guide will show you…
- Our #1 best pick for gable attic fans
- How to install a gable ventilation fan
- The most important criteria in choosing the best fan
- The best way to reduce vibrations and noise
- The advantages of installing a gable ventilation unit
Let’s get started with this guide!
Our Top 5 Best Gable Attic Fans
- Cool Attic Gable Attic Fan CX1500UPS
- QuietCool AFG PRO-3.0 Gable Attic Fan
- Eco-Worthy 25w Solar Powered Gable Attic Fan
- Broan 34316 Gable Mount Attic Fan
- QuietCool AFG SMT-3.0 Gable Attic Fan
What is a Gable Attic Ventilation Fan?
A gable attic fan is a ventilation fan that mounts up against your gable vent, the attic vent that is on the upper sides of your home in a vertical position.
These attic fans are installed vertically along the attic vent, as compared to attic fans that are installed on the roof sheathing.
Most gable attic fans are hardwired into the home’s electrical system, but a few are solar powered.
How Do Gable Fans Work?
When the attic hits a certain temperature, the gable attic fan will turn on, blowing out hot attic air, and pulling in fresh outside air.
Most homeowners also have a switch installed that allows you to shutoff the fan during the colder months or when you don’t want it running.
The solar powered gable attic fan usually doesn’t have a switch, and just turns on when the sun is out.
What Are The Benefits of a Gable Attic Fan?
The biggest benefit of installing a gable attic fan is that it can cool down your attic.
Some customers have reported a cooling effect of up to 30 degrees, or a about 1 degree per minute in the attic.
Of course, the effectiveness of your gable attic fan will depend on different criteria such as insulation, house layout, your climate, amount of vent openings, and other things.
In an ideal world, the temperature of your attic should be about the same temperature as the outside air.
Realistically this is rarely achievable; within 20 degrees of the exterior temperature is usually good enough.
Asphalt Roof Shingles
Most roof shingles today are made from a type of asphalt (and fiberglass) which is basically derived from crude oil.
Unfortunately, if these shingles get too hot, they can literally cook on the roof surface — causing curling, cracking, and other deterioration.
When an attic get’s extremely hot, it can prematurely age your roof.
I have been to home inspections where I inspected a very faded asphalt shingle roof (looks almost white) and estimated an age of 25+ years. Later, I find out from the seller that it was replaced only 7 years ago.
The cause of the premature aging of the roof was very poor ventilation (and insulation) in the attic. During summer, it would probably reach over 150 degrees in the attic on certain days.
When your properly ventilate your attic of hot and humid air, you not only help keep your house cooler, but you are also helping to protect your roof.
Probably the biggest benefit of improving your attic ventilation is that it will help keep your whole house cooler because you don’t have a sweltering inferno in your attic.
I have been in attics during home inspections where I felt like I was going to pass out, as if I was going into a sauna.
As you can imagine, this not only makes your interior hotter, but it also makes your air conditioning run harder and longer that normal.
And just like a roof, a very hot attic can prematurely age your air conditioning system.
The standard life expectancy for an air conditioner is about 15 years.
But if it abused, poorly maintained, and runs hard due to a hot attic, it may only last several years.
A cooler attic will also help reduce your electricity bill if your a/c doesn’t have to run as long.
Installing a whole house fan can be another great way to reduce your air conditioning bill.
Another benefit of a properly ventilated attic is that it can help prevent ice damming.
Ice damming is when snow melts on the upper roof, and the water drains to the lower roof, re-freezes, and then forms a type of “dam” blocking the drainage.
Basically, if you see icicles growing along the edge of your roof, you have a type of ice dam.
The ice dam will prevent melting snow from properly draining down the roof and into the gutter.
This backed up water can leak into the house, causing ceiling damage, drywall warping, and may lead to mold problems.
A bad ice dam can also tear off roof shingles, and destroy gutters.
The biggest cause of ice dams is lack of ventilation and insulation in the attic. If there is improper ventilation, then rising heat from the home’s interior will leak into the attic and stay there.
This trapped attic heat will cause snow to melt on the upper roof, leading to ice dams (as the water freezes towards the lower roof or eaves).
A large health problem with a poorly ventilated attic is possible moisture buildup and mold growth as stated by ProudGreenHome.com
Moisture occurs when cool and warm air meet, which can happen during hot or cold weather.
If the attic is hot, and the home’s interior is cool, when these two air masses meet, water droplets can form inside the attic — water on the roof sheathing, rafters, drywall, insulation, and ceiling joists.
Mold only needs three things to grow..
- Food Source
Your attic is already dark, and the food source is the wood. Add in moisture from a poorly ventilated attic and voila — mold growth.
No Holes in Roof
The last benefit in installing gable attic fans is that you don’t have to cut a hole into your roof’s sheathing.
With a gable attic fan, you simply mount or screw the fan into your gable vent.
On my home inspections, I frequently find signs of roof leaks.
These roof leaks are usually from things installed on or through the roof such as skylights, plumbing vents, bathroom vents and chimneys.
Read Also: The Best Roof Mounted Attic Fans
How To Install a Gable Attic Fan?
Some customers have complained about noise and vibrations when installing gable attic fans, but this problem is easily avoided if you use sound dampening materials during the installation such as…
- Weather stripping around the metal frame where it meets the gable vent
- Rubber washers on the screws
- Rubber mounts
Likewise, some homeowners install the gable attic fan onto a separate piece of plywood, and then mount the plywood to the attic fan.
This helps prevent vibrations and noise since it doesn’t touch the aluminum gable vent.
For the electrical work, some gable attic fans are “plug and play” compatible which means you can just plug the fan into an existing outlet in the attic.
Other gable attic fans will require some simple electrical work such as connecting wiring together using wire nuts.
If you aren’t comfortable with wiring, hiring a qualified contractor is recommended to install a gable attic fan.
The cost for the installation (excluding the fan) can be anywhere from $100 to $300.
How To Pick The Best Attic Fan for Your Gable Vent?
One of the most important things to consider when buying an attic fan is the CFM rating.
CFM stands for “cubic feet per minute” or how much air is moved in sixty seconds.
Most gable attic fans will be rated from 1200 CFM all the way up to 3000 CFM.
Most manufacturers will tell you the maximum size of an attic for their particular fan model.
It is important to follow manufacturer recommendations for adequate venting.
Gable attic fans will be rated for a particular amount of “net free area” of ventilation.
This refers to the amount of vent area independent of the gable vent where the fan be installed.
These vents may be the soffit venting along the eaves, the ridge vent, passive vents, or the gable vent on the other side of the roof.
According to Oregon State University, a general rule is to have one square foot of additional venting per 300 CFM.
The opening of the gable vent must be large enough for the attic fan to exhaust the hot attic air.
But there also must be enough additional venting elsewhere so the gable attic fan will be able to draw in fresh outside air.
If there isn’t enough additional venting, the attic fan may pull in air from the home’s interior and actually increase your air conditioning costs as mentioned by Energy Star.
Carbon Monoxide Hazard
If you have natural gas burning appliances, such as a gas-fired water furnace, and you don’t have enough venting in the attic for fresh “makeup air” — the attic fan can literally suck out the home’s interior air.
If this negative air pressure environment causes your gas-burning appliances to malfunction, this is known as “back drafting”.
Back drafting is when an appliance exhausts it’s fumes into the home rather than to the outside.
When gas-burning appliances back draft, this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning to any of the occupants.
It is very important that homeowners follow the manufacturer recommendations for required attic venting to prevent back drafting.
There are also simple tests to make sure your water heater or furnace is not “back drafting” when your attic fan is on.
One simple test is called the smoke test. You simply light a match, and blow it out. Then put up the smoke next to the water heater or furnace flue pipe. If the smoke or flame is pushed out, then you know back drafting is going on.
Besides this simple test, always install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home if you have gas burning appliances!
How Are Gable Attic Fans Different Than Other Types of Powered Ventilation?
Gable attic fans are different than roof mounted attic fans in that you don’t have to cut a hole in your roof (or walk on your roof) to install the fan.
Besides the installation location, gable attic fans operate in the exact same way as roof fans.
Very similar to attic fans, most homes have bathroom exhaust fans which also help reduce moisture and increase ventilation.
Bathroom exhaust fans can also have thermostats, humidity sensors, and even come with lights and heaters.
Where To Buy The Best Gable Mounted Attic Fan?
You may be able to buy a gable attic fan from a big box store, if they even have a model in stock, but your best bet for more choices is Amazon.
Amazon will have a variety of gable ventilation fans to choose from, as well as reviews from customers that can alert you to certain advantages and disadvantages of a product.
At Home Inspector Secrets, we recommend buying from Amazon because…
- Ease of Shipping. Some products will ship in two days for free.
- Credibility. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world.
- Reviews. Read reviews from customers on your prospective purchase.
- Great Deals. Shop from a variety of attic fans for the best deal.
What Are The Best Gable Attic Fans?
The Cool Attic ventilation fan comes with a 14″ fan blade, adjustable thermostat, and is made of galvanized steel.
This gable attic fan is rated at 1300 CFM and is for attics up to 1850 square feet.
The gable fan requires 600 square inches of net free vent area.
The housing is 15″ x 15″ x 7″.
- Very affordable price
- Thermally protected motor to prevent a fire hazard
- Includes an adjustable thermostat so you can dial it in to your preference
- Made of galvanized steel so it should last a long time
- Some customers have complained about missing screws & parts
- It may require some DIY wiring skills
- Complaints are typically about noise and vibrations (can be greatly reduced by using weather stripping during install)
The QuietCool PRO gable attic fan is a premium option with a high quality fan.
This model is rated at 3013 CFM, and is suitable for medium to large sized attics.
This gable fan will provide 3x the air flow of a traditional attic fan.
The motor is single speed and comes with a thermostat.
- Motor is a powerful PSC motor so it can remove a lot of hot attic air
- The fan is 1.6x more efficient than a traditional fan
- Comes with a 10 year warranty
- The fan has 3x more airflow than a traditional fan
- More expensive than a typical gable attic fan
- May be too powerful for smaller attics
- Is not plug and play ready
Do you like free energy? Then this solar powered attic fan is for you.
Made by Eco-Worthy, this fan comes with a 30 watt adjustable solar panel that is installed on your roof and is connected to the gable vent fan.
This fan is for attics up to 2200sf, and is rated at 1960 CFM.
The unit comes with a 16 foot solar cable.
- Customers have said it still get’s good fan movement on cloudy days
- After initial purchase, fan will run on free solar energy
- Frame is made of heavy duty aluminum
- Plug & play ready, just plug into an attic outlet
- 5 year warranty on solar panel
- No thermostat, it will always turn on when sun is out, will wear out motor more quickly than conventional fans
- Some users are confused about the install and face the fan the wrong way
- May cause roof leaks if you don’t install the solar panel properly
This gable attic fan made by Broan is an affordable attic fan that is rated at 1600 CFM.
It is for attics up to 2280 square feet, and is made of galvanized steel.
The fan comes with an adjustable thermostat that is built into the fan.
The unit also comes with a built in insect screen.
- Built in thermostat so less wiring needed
- Includes an already installed insect screen
- Has an adjustable thermostat
- The motor isn’t as powerful as other fans
- Thermostat installed inside fan may cause issues
The QuietCool SMT-3.0 is our #1 top premium choice at Home Inspector Secrets.
This amazing gable attic fan is rated at 2830 CFM and has a built in thermostat and humidistat.
The intelligent ECM motor has 10 speeds and is self-adjusting.
A very nice feature is that this fan is “plug & play” ready, you can simply plug the fan into an outlet in your attic—no wiring is needed.
- Powerful & intelligent motor, saves energy and money
- Fan has a built in thermostat and humidistat so it turns on when needed
- Just plug the fan into an outlet, no wiring needed (save money on install)
- 3x more energy efficient than a conventional gable attic fan.
- Users have complained that the humidistat causes the fan to always be running and they had to bypass it with a switch
- It is much more expensive than a conventional gable attic fan
1. Intelligent Motor
- The intelligent ECM motor has 10 speeds, so when the attic is cooler, it doesn’t have to run as hard. But when high speed is needed on very hot days, this motor will have you covered.
2. Less Electrical Work
- Since this gable fan is “plug & play” ready, if you have an existing outlet in your attic (or garage), you can just plug it in. No wiring is required.
3. Humidistat Incuded
- This fan includes not only a standard thermostat, but it has has a humidistat just like some bathroom exhaust fans. This means that the fan will turn on automatically if the humidity reaches a certain level even if the temperature is lower, and help prevent mold issues.
4. Energy Efficiency
- Because of the 10 speed ECM motor, this gable fan is much more energy efficient than traditional attic fans, and will save you money