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How to Choose the Best Exhaust Fan for Your Garage

Your garage can be prone to having excessive humidity. Coupling that with it being dim most of the time, makes it the perfect breeding ground for mold. 

Installing an exhaust fan in your home is one solution to this problem.

Aside from excess moisture, your garage can have a buildup of fumes from our car and chemicals you use in your garage that can be hazardous to your health.

When choosing an exhaust fan for your garage, get the dimensions of your garage so you can figure out the sufficient cubic feet per minute (CFM) the fan needs to have to work effectively.

Consider also how comfortable and experienced you are with doing some electrical work when you install your fan. If you’re not comfortable at all, it’s best to look for an exhaust fan that you can plug into an outlet or hire an electrician for more complicated setups.

How Does an Exhaust Fan Work

Exhaust fans draw out the air and moisture in your garage into a ducting system then expelled outside. A motor, using electricity, turns the fan’s blades, which pulls the air out. 

Fresh air is drawn in through the door or from a vent. Exhaust fans are controlled with a switch on your wall, and some even automatically turn on when your garage reaches a specific temperature.

Exhaust fans help maintain your garage’s air quality and the ideal temperature.

How to Choose a Garage Exhaust Fan

Choosing the right exhaust fan for your garage is essential to ensure it does its job correctly. There are five factors to consider before making a decision on which one to purchase:

  • Fan type. Will your exhaust fan have a direct drive or belt drive? Centrifugal or propeller? Will it be installed in your roof, duct, or wall?
  • Direct drive vs. Belt drive: Direct drive fans are better suited for smaller garages, while belt drive fans are better for garages that require more than 2,000 CFM.
  • Propeller vs. Centrifugal: Propeller fans draw air straight through the fan, while centrifugal fans draw air into the middle of the fan and expel it at a 90-degree angle. Propeller fans are better for lower static pressure, while centrifugal fans are more efficient at higher static pressure levels.
  • Where to install your exhaust fan: This depends on how the air should flow in your garage.
  • Cubic feet per minute (CFM). The CFM is the amount of air your exhaust fan can pull. You can tell how efficiently the fan pulls the air in the room by looking at its CFM.
  • Static pressure. This measures the resistance to airflow calculated in inches of water gauge. The amount of static pressure depends on the length of your duct, the number of duct turns, and air velocity in the duct. 
  • Loudness limit. Also known as sone, this determines how loud your exhaust fan will be. The Air Movement and Control Association recommends that the sone range be between 1.3 to 4.0. Some exhaust fans provide the decibel level. You may check the Industrial Fans Direct website to convert this into sones.
  • Fan size. Your exhaust fan has to be the right size to be effective.

Additional Garage Exhaust Fan Features

Exhaust fans nowadays come with a whole list of added features that make them more convenient to use and also may save you money in the long run. 

Here are a few more popular features available:

  • Built-in temperature control. This added feature turns your exhaust fan on and off automatically at a predetermined temperature. This feature saves in energy consumption because your exhaust fan won’t run unnecessarily. It’s also convenient for you since you don’t have to manually turn off the fan when your garage hits the ideal temperature you want.
  • Variable speed. Many exhaust fans have various speeds available depending on what your needs are at the time. For example, if your garage feels just a little stuffy, you can turn on the exhaust at its lowest setting. If you’re working in your garage and the fumes from chemicals you’re using are starting to accumulate in your garage, you can turn the fan on at full speed to quickly get rid of it.
  • Speed control. Having the flexibility to adjust the speed of your fan can lessen energy consumption. Being able to turn down the speed at which the fan runs uses less energy than when you’re running it at full speed.

Position and Mounting of Exhaust Fans

You can install garage exhaust fans in your ceiling, your wall, or your attic. The ideal type depends on the proximity available in your duct system and the space available.

  • Ceiling-Mounted Exhaust Fans: This exhaust fan is installed in your ceiling or vent through ducts or the roof. 
  • Inline Exhaust Fans: Inline exhaust fans work the same way as a standard exhaust fan, except inline exhaust fans are mounted to a joist in your attic. A duct runs from the fan to a vent in your ceiling and sucks out the air in your garage. A second duct runs from the fan to a vent in your roof, expelling the sucked air outside your house.
  • Wall-Mounted Exhaust Fan: These fans are installed into the exterior of your garage walls and do not require any ductwork.

Here are the exhaust fans we recommend for every mounting scenario.

Best Ceiling-Mounted Exhaust Fan: Panasonic WhisperCeiling Spot Ventilation Fan (FV-30VQ3)

Panasonic FV-30VQ3 WhisperCeiling Ventilation Fan, Quiet Air Flow, Long Lasting, Easy to Install, Code Compliant, Energy Star Certified, White

The Panasonic WhisperCeiling Fan is powerful but quiet and energy-efficient. It has a 290 CFM and 2.0 sones and has a three-year warranty. 

Its motor is enclosed by a galvanized steel enclosure with a double-tapered blower wheel, making it quieter than other fans.

Pros:

  • High capacity: It efficiently ventilates large spaces
  • The instruction manual is easy to follow
  • Three-year factory warranty. Panasonic will replace any defective or damaged parts

Cons:

  • The fan is not suitable for industrial use
  • The kit does not include a mounting bracket
  • It is challenging to install, according to many reviews

Best Wall-Mounted Exhaust Fan: AC Infinity AIRLIFT T14 Shutter Exhaust Fan

AC Infinity AIRLIFT T14, Shutter Exhaust Fan 14-inch with Temperature Humidity Controller - Wall Mount Ventilation and Cooling for Sheds, Attics, Workshops

This exhaust fan has an LCD, smart humidity and temperature sensors, and different fan speeds. It includes a 12-foot sensor probe that provides humidity and temperature readings. 

You can program the fan to run at different speeds depending on the humidity and temperature in your garage. You can also program it to run on a timer at different speeds.

The unit has galvanized steel shutters, steel wire guards, and aluminum blades. The shutters automatically close when not in use.

This fan has a backup memory, eco-mode, alerts for when the fan fails, and alarm warnings. It has a 2,418 CFM and 16 sones.

Make sure you can install the fan you’re getting in the thickness of your garage wall. Check the thickness of your garage wall against the thickness of the wall the exhaust fan can be installed in.

Pros:

  • Durable and made from good quality materials
  • It is a powerful fan that can quickly cool down your garage in a few minutes
  • It runs quietly, even at maximum speed

Cons:

  • It is challenging to install
  • Programming the time and sensor are a bit tricky

Best Inline Exhaust Fan: Vivosun 6 Inch Inline Duct Exhaust Fan

VIVOSUN 6 inch Inline Duct Fan 240 CFM, HVAC Exhaust Intake Fan, Low Noise & Extra Long 5.5' Grounded Power Cord

The Vivosun Inline Duct Exhaust Fan is reasonably priced compared to other exhaust fans. While it may be lacking a few of the bells and whistles other fans offer, it performs well as an exhaust fan.

The fan is lightweight and smaller than other fans. It is quiet when it runs at only 5.00 sones.

Its motor is not as powerful as others. It has 240 CFM. The motor has a permanently lubricated bearing and requires no maintenance. It has a carbon filter that helps eliminate odors in your garage.

Its power cord, at 5.5 feet, is short.  

Pros

  • It is one of the more inexpensive exhaust fans in the market
  • The fan is made from all metal
  • It works well as an exhaust fan

Cons

  • Some customers have reported problems with the motor.
  • Short power cord limits where you can install it

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