One of the most energy-efficient ways to keep your home comfortable in warm weather is a window fan. A window fan is designed to fit securely in your window frame, pulling hot air out of your home during the day and reversing the direction at night to pull in the cooler air after the sun goes down. A window fan can also be used in conjunction with a window air conditioner to help increase the efficiency of your AC and move cool air throughout your home.
Before you buy a window fan, you will want to consider several factors, including airflow capacity, fan speed, size, and number of blades. You'll also want to determine whether a double fan would work in your home. For more details on how these factors contribute to the effectiveness of a window fan, keep reading.
Considerations when choosing window fans
The airflow of a fan is expressed in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Fans with a higher CFM are more effective in larger spaces. A good rule of thumb for effect exhaust is to find a fan with one CFM for every square foot of space.
A fan moves more air at a higher speed, which may be desirable. However, you may not always want the noise or intensity of a lot of air movement. Many fans have at least two speed levels, but some of the best fans have three or more speeds.
You might be tempted to choose the largest fan your window can handle, but if you plan to keep the fan there for a long period of time, bear in mind that a larger fan would restrict your ability to see out that window.
An important determination to make is whether you'd prefer a double window fan (also called a dual fan) or a single window fan. A double window fan has two sets of blades, and you can elect to have one side pull air out and one side push air in if you choose.
Running a double window fan can increase the amount of fresh air circulating throughout your room, but the unit itself may take up a lot of horizontal space in your window. Keep this in mind as you shop, particularly if you have window frames of unusual sizes. Some manufacturers include a sliding screen that allows you to tailor the fit of the fan to the width of your window, much like a window AC unit.
Single window fans are often taller than dual units. As always, you should measure your space before you invest in a new appliance for a specific area of your home.
Window fan prices
A basic double window fan costs between $20 and $30. These fans should give you the ability to push and pull air from your window at the same time. They improve circulation but are not likely to have many extra features, and many double window fans are loud.
You should be able to get a decent window fan for $30 to $50 that has thermostat controls, an LED screen, and a remote control. Pricier window fans, which can run between $80 and $140, tend to be whole-house fans. These are larger appliances that should be able to circulate fresh air through several rooms.
Q. How is a window fan better than a box fan in my window?
A. A window fan is designed to hold up a window, and it has reversible airflow. While a box fan may, at first glance, seem like a good choice to fit a window, most are not constructed to hold up the pane and are therefore not good choices for window placement.
Q. Can I leave the window fan in the window during a rainstorm?
A. Window fans should have a housing that makes the motor at least partially water-resistant. However, it is wise to unplug your fan in windy rain, and if you notice it has gotten wet, do not plug it back in until the fan motor has completely dried.
Q. What should I do when my fan blades get dusty or dirty?
A. Do not remove the fan from its housing. Instead, use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove the dust. A can of compressed air can also effectively remove dust and dirt from your fan.
Window fans we recommend
Best of the best: Air King/Whole House Window Fan
Our take: We like the size of this fan, and it can move a lot of air -- even through several rooms of your home.
What we like: It has three speed settings and a heavy-duty build. You do not have to remove this fan to close the window.
What we dislike: It has only one blade, which means you can only move the air in one direction at a time with this fan.
Best bang for your buck: Bionaire Window Fan
Our take: This window fan has a lot of bells and whistles and doesn't break the bank.
What we like: It comes with a remote control. Two blades can be controlled individually and can be programmed to turn on and off to keep a steady temperature in your space.
What we dislike: It doesn't have the airflow capacity of larger models. So, it's best only for small spaces in moderate climates.
Choice 3: Holmes/Twin Window Fan
Our take: This fan is easy to use and comes with a thermostat to help you control temperatures.
What we like: As a dual fan, it is able to circulate air more effectively than some other choices. The extender screen allows it to fit in most windows.
What we dislike: The control panel must be manually operated.
Karen Ridder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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