When the heat of summer becomes intolerable, inevitably we all start thinking about how to stay cool, and window fans offer an ideal alternative to bulky and expensive air conditioning units. Window fans are friendlier to your wallet and to the environment and when installed correctly can be much easier to use and move than air conditioners. Proper installation is very important if you're going to get the most from your new window fans. In this article we'll explore how to choose the right window fan, where to put it, and how to use it safely and effectively.
The first thing you need to consider when buying and installing window fans is size. Many people wrongly assume that bigger is better. You might be surprised by how much cooling power you can get from a smaller fan. That said, your best option is to measure your windows first and to look for the window fan that offers the best fit both literally and figuratively. Take the inner measurements of the selected windows for the most accurate fit. If your windows are irregular in size or shape then you may need to purchase additional mounting supplies, but if your windows are one of many standard sizes you shouldn't have trouble finding fans that are pre-sized to fit those dimensions.
Obviously a fan with larger blades is going to move air more efficiently, but fan placement plays a large part in optimizing air movement too.
When it comes to fan placement, the obvious choices aren't always the best ones. Many people automatically choose the largest window in their most-used room with the belief that it will get more air while covering more space. What is often overlooked in this scenario is wind direction. Most window fans work best when their power is used to optimize existing airflow, thus placing your fans where they will work with the prevailing winds is the best way to keep your home cool. If you live in an area where wind flow is inconsistent, then consider investing in two-way or reversible fans which will automatically pull in cool air or push out warm air depending on the way the wind blows.
Another way to use fan placement to your advantage is by utilizing more than one type of fan. This may mean placing exhaust fans in warmer rooms where they can pull out hot air, or it may mean the use of both inward and outward blowing fans.
While the ultimate goal of installing window fans is always to get the most effective setup for cooling, this should never be done at the cost of your or your family's safety. Always ensure that your fans are properly fitted to their windows and that they remain stationary when operating at full power. Never use an inward blowing window fan that does not have a protective screen. And never use window fans in a capacity they were not designed for. Also, when you are using exhaust fans as part of your cooling setup be sure that there is enough ventilation to prevent the fans from attracting and spreading combustible gases