Complete Guide To Window Fans


A complete guide to window fans is given below. It covers what a window fan is and how/why they are used.

Window fans are probably one of the most under-rated appliances on the market today. Yes, they can help cool a house or room, but they can do much more than that. Widow fans can:

  • Window fans can cool a home or whole house.
  • Window fans remove stale air from a room or home & replace with fresh outside air.
  • Window fans remove smoking odors from a room
  • Window fans remove cooking and pet odors from a kitchen or living room

Yes, who hasn’t burned the pot roast, a slice of bread or set the kitchen towel on fire! Even regular cooking – especially frying, can smell up the kitchen or the whole house. 

And what do most people do when this happens? Some people turn on their vents over the stove, but most vents are either too weak to do the job or some even vent the smoke back into the kitchen!

Another option is to open a door or window. But what if the wind isn’t blowing? Or there is a pet or small child in the home? The solution? A window fan! Simply turn it on (some units even have a remote control) and within minutes, those nasty smells are out the window.

An Overview of Window Fans

Of course many people buy window fans to cool down a room or whole house. Window fans, not to be confused with mounted box fans, are either a single or double fan, and they do a great job in either blowing in cooler fresh air or blowing out the warmer air in a room or home. Some double window fans actually do both at the same time!

And we all know how pointless small inside fans are when you are hot. Though they blow air on you, it’s the hot air already inside the home!

Many people don’t think they can have both a window fan and an air conditioner (either a central unit or a window a/c unit). This is incorrect. A window fan can actually help the existing air conditioner be more efficient and not work as hard. Simply use the window fan for a bit to get the room cooled down a bit, then use the existing air conditioner to continue the work.

Of course, it’s not advisable to operate both the window fan and the a/c at the same time. If you do own an existing air conditioner, be sure and purchase a window fan that has a damper or closing mechanism to close the window opening – once the a/c is turned on.

So remember, while short exposures to heat are not dangerous, regular excessive heat might lead to dizziness, exhaustion, and other negative health effects. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that you properly manage the temperature of the environment where you spend a significant part of your time during the hot season. One of the greatest solutions to beat the heat is a window fan.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and discuss the types of fans, functions, benefits, manufacturers and uses of window fans.

What Is A Window Fan?

A window fan is a special cooling appliance that is created to be placed inside a window frame, and usually have expandable side panels that facilitates covering the window opening completely.

A window fan is a great way to maintain comfortable temperature and purity of air inside a room. These fans not only come at a reasonable price but also are actually great alternatives to a central air conditioning unit. The operational cost of a window fan is low, which helps save on utility bills.

Most window fans have either one large fan or two small ones located next to each other. Also, most units feature two or three operational speeds. Some window fans available on the market are electrically reversible. This feature gives the user an opportunity to switch between intake and exhaust modes.

The older window fan models are made of metal and are somewhat heavy. However, they are more solid in comparison to modern units that are made of plastic.

Over the years, window fans have changed a lot—now you can enjoy a number of different features, such as built-in thermostats and adjustable grills. Thermostats are used to turn the fan off when the temperature in the room reaches a certain level. The adjustable grills are perfect for changing the direction of airflow.

Some more sophisticated models offer advanced electronic features such as a remote control, different speed motor controls and automated shut-down timers etc.

Talking about the diversity of window fans, it is worth mentioning that the options available are wide ranging. Some of the one-fanned units are very energy-efficient and are created for ventilating and cooling a single room. Other more powerful models are able to circulate air through the whole house.

In fact, a window fan has a great advantage in comparison to a room fan – it is able to circulate air within the room, bring in cool air from the outside or push hot/smelly odors from the inside to the outside.

This makes a window fan an ultimate air purifying and cooling appliance. In fact, window fans come in handy not only in regular small square rooms—their functional construction makes it easy for them to deliver fresh air even in irregular shaped rooms or large two story rooms.

In addition to the above mentioned facts, a window fan is a great alternative to air conditioners due to its environment friendliness. If a window fan is properly installed, it is capable of reducing the temperature by 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

How Does A Window Fan Work?

Now, when we already know what a window fan is, it is time to understand how it works. Everything genius is simple – just like the principle behind a window fan’s operations. A window fan operates in one of two following ways:

  • It either pulls in cold air from outside
  • Or pushes out hot/stuffy air from the room

The way you position your window fan will determine the principle of the unit’s operations. There is also a great combinative option to create the perfect environment by installing one window fan to pull in cold air and the other to push stale air out.

However, as we mentioned before, there are some models that offer the reverse function—so you don’t need to use two fans—just change the mode from intake to exhaust and vice versa.

Some modern models also feature two sets of blades that run independently. This allows the unit to push the stale air out and pull in the fresh air from outside at the same time.

What Are The Benefits Of A Window Fan?

There are a number of benefits to buying a window fan. Consider the following perks window fans have over traditional air conditioning:

  • Affordable, energy saving option. The main reason behind using a window fan is that it is a very affordable and energy-efficient option to fight the summer heat in comparison to air conditioners and central air conditioning systems.
  • Great A/C supplement. These fans can serve as a great addition to air conditioners, if you already use one. Since an A/C is not able to actually clean the air around just as a window fan does, the joint work of these two can ensure clean and cool air is always circulating!
  • Optimize your air. Moreover, using both of these appliances simultaneously will further optimize their operations, and, as a result, you can minimize operation costs of your A/C.
  • Fresh air circulation. A window fan can eliminate odors from kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and any other area types. The exhaust function comes in handy when your favorite cookies are burnt in the oven if you don’t have a normal exhaust fan. This is also good for reducing VOC levels and eliminating mold.
  • Fit most windows with ease. Most window fan models come with adjustable panels, which allows hassle free installation in a matter of minutes. You need to just take the unit out of the box, fix it onto the window frame with the help of the panels, plug in the device and enjoy fresh air!
  • Quieter than some indoor fans. When choosing a quiet fan is a priority, window fans offer something more subtle than box fans or window air conditioners if you want something quiet for sleeping.

However, some models require window screens to be removed. This implies that when the fan does not operate, small insects are able to get through the spaces in the fan’s grill.

Don’t worry, a simple solution for this exists. A special cover for the window fan will make you forget about this issue. It is recommended to cover your fan even if it fits your window perfectly. This will prolong the life of your cooling device by keeping the fan’s motor safe from moisture.

How To Use A Window Fan?

Window fans are a great way to cool down your house without having to pay much for it. This economical, energy-wise cooling option is used alone or as a supplement to an air conditioner. However, if you place your window fan in a proper way, it can even replace the A/C, while saving you money. To make sure that you use the fan in the most efficient way, follow these tips:

How To Install The Window Fan

Most window fans are able to fit into a standard double-hung window frame. Installation requires you to lift the lower window frame, insert the fan into the frame, and lower the sash back down to ensure that the fans are sealed in place by the weight and support of the window on it.

Some window fan models are customized for sliding windows that open horizontally. They are installed in the same way, following the same principals of the regular vertical ones.

Think About Fan Direction

When humidity rises during the day and the sun is high, hot and stale air is created inside the house. One of the most efficient methods to cool and lower the temperature is to pull cool air in overnight.

Some advanced fan models turn on automatically, when the temperature and humidity outside are lower than what it is inside the house. This feature ensures that the fan is only used when needed by eliminating the need to turn on/off the fan at night. During the warm part of the day, use the window fan to push the hot air out of the house.

For this method to work, you will need to find a balance between a fan pushing air out and another fan pulling air in. Ideally, opt for an equal number of fans between the two. Yet, if that is not possible, go for more fans blowing air into your house.

As I have mentioned before, some fans feature reversible blades that allow you to use the same fan to pull in cool air at night and push hot air out of the house during hot days.

Increase Circulation Of Air

You can maximize the circulation of fresh air inside your house with the help of a window fan. In order to do that, you will need to set up a system of window fans.

Place the intake fans on the shady side of your house to use them to pull the cool air in, overnight. Then, install the exhaust fan variants on the sunny side of your house to use it to push out stale air from your apartment.

In case you live in a multi-story house, install the intake fans on the lower floors, with the exhaust fans on the upper floors. This way, you will make sure that the warm air does not rise to the upper floors. Don’t forget to open as many doors between rooms as possible, for good air flow.

Go Full Mode

Larger fan blades are able to move air more efficiently than smaller ones. Thus, in order to maximize results, opt for a larger fan that can easily fit onto your window. Moreover, you can consider dual and even triple system units to increase overall airflow around your premise.

Aside from fan size, pay attention to the window fan’s efficiency rating. This number will tell you how much air the fan is able to move per minute. Fans with higher efficiency ratings are able to cool the space quicker with more efficiency. They also help cut down on utility bills.

In order to perfectly fit a fan into your window, use paper, drapes, or cardboard to fill in the gaps in between the window frame and the unit. This will prevent the air that has already come through the fan from moving around the fan and through it again. Using this technique is especially important for intake fans since the change in pressure will force the air to go back outside.

Window Fan Placement To Avoid

Avoid placing the intake window fans near parking areas or garbage, since the fans will bring smells from those areas into your house. I would also not recommend placing a window fan near freezers or fridges. The window fan can blow cold air out of the appliance quicker than usual when you open it. This significantly increases the load on the unit.

Moreover, do not place a window fan above valuable items, as this can lead to water damage if the fan is operating during the rains.

Utilize Right Fan Running Time

The key idea behind using a window fan is to bring fresh air inside your house once the temperature of the air outside is cooler than the air inside the house. When the air inside the house is cool enough to counterweight the expected daytime temperature, turn off the fan, remove it from the window and close the windows.

Additional Window Fan warnings and tips:

  • Pulling cool air in at night and pushing out hot air in the daytime will lead to you seeing a 10 to 20 degrees F temperature difference between night and day. This fluctuation in humidity and temperature might appear uncomfortable for some people.
  • In case nighttime air in your region is not as cool as you wish, excessively humid or polluted, using intake fans are not recommended.
  • Important: Make sure that your windows have proper screens. Windows with no screens, with broken or ripped ones, can easily be breached by small insects or animals. Moreover, such windows appear to be an easy aim for criminals.
  • Do not leave your window fans in the window frames during bad weather conditions. Leaving an operating window fan in the window can lead to water or electrical damage in such adverse conditions.

Types Of Window Fans

Most of the window fans look alike—they look likes cages with blades inside the housing. Ain addition, all of the window fan models are intended to fit inside the frame of a window.

Window fans can be classified by the number of blades they feature. The most popular types of window fans are single and twin fans. Normally, most of them have more than one operating speed setting. Moreover, some of the single and twin window fans can be reversed from intake to exhaust modes and vice versa either manually or electronically.

Why You Should Have a Window Fan

Single window fans feature one set of blades. These type of fans are relatively small in comparison to twin window fans. They are perfect to fit into regular windows and usually come with installation kits.

As you might already have guessed, twin window fans have two sets of blades. These fans are usually bigger than single window fans. Moreover, with twin window fans, you can efficiently maximize the circulation of fresh air inside the apartment by setting one set of blades for intake and another set for exhaust. Like this, you will have fresh air coming in from outside and stale air pushed out from your apartment.

Window Fan Manufacturers

Now, when we have already discussed the key points of window fan functionalities, its benefits and the types of window fans, let’s turn our attention to the main producers of these appliances. We will look into the most popular and reliable window fan manufacturers.


Holmes Window Fans

Holmes Products Corporation or Holmes Group is a company that is based in Milford, Massachusetts. The company produces mechanical fans, space heaters, and humidifiers. The key products manufactured by Holmes include, but are not limited to box fans, outdoor fans, personal fans, power fans, stand fans, table fans, tower fans, floor fans, window fans, and replacement fan parts.

The firm was founded by Jordan Kahn in 1982. Then, in 2005, the company was sold to Jarden Corporation.


Bionaire Window Fans

Bionaire is a brand of Sunbeam Products, Inc. The latter is a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation. Thus, it falls under the same umbrella as Holmes products.

The brand specializes in indoor appliance production. The company’s products provide a great balance of design and functionality.

Bionaire’s engineers do their best to ensure that the products are of highest quality. Moreover, they strive to deliver the most innovative appliances to the market. Bionaire’s range of products are always improving in terms of design and technology. They produce various kinds of fan parts, pedestal fans, table fans, tower fans, and window fans.


Lasko Window Fans

Lasko Products is a Pennsylvania-based indoor and outdoor home appliances manufacturer. The firm produces a variety of cooling and heating devices.

The range of Lasko products include air circulators, blower fans, box fans, desktop & table fans, high-velocity fans, outdoor living fans, ceiling fans, pedestal fans, tower fans, wall mount fans, industrial fans, and window fans.

How To Clean A Window Fan

Cleaning your window fan is what you will need to do on a regular basis in order to prolong the life of your appliance. While this task might seem challenging at first sight, it is actually not that hard if you use the right tools and materials. You will need a soft cloth, a vacuum cleaner, a screwdriver and these are minimum requirements to get started. Follow the cleaning routine indicated further to ensure the best cleaning results for your window fan.

Unplug The Device And Detach The Grill (If Possible)

Make sure that you are never cleaning a window fan that is still connected to electricity. Moreover, you will need to place your fan on a solid flat (non slippery) surface for cleaning purposes.

In case the grill on your fan is secured with screws, remove them with a screwdriver. Some fan grills are removed by pressing the release button on them.

After you have removed the grill off your window fan, use a vacuum cleaner or duster to get rid of the accumulated dust and dirt that is on the grill.

Clean The Fan Blades And Put the Fan Grill Back On

Now, you want to clean the fan blades, since they also tend to gather a lot of dust on them, over time. Clean the blades with a soft cloth soaked in a mild soap solution. Make sure that no moisture comes through the inner construction of the window fan.

Then, dry out the blades with a paper towel before putting the fan grill back onto the device. After the blades are dry, place the grill back in place, secure it and place the fan back into the window frame. Plug in the appliance in and you are all set to go! This time feeling fresh and as good as new!


Now that we have discussed in detail, questions and facts about window fans and their operations, you are now probably wondering about which window fan models to choose from. This is why we have researched in advance. the window fans and options available on the market.

In our Best Window Fan Buying Guide, We discuss the key factors that you should pay attention to when choosing a window fan. Moreover, we will take a look at the most popular models of window fans currently available on the market, their main properties, advantages, and drawbacks.


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