As we look forward to the summer season, consumers everywhere are scrambling to get their air conditioning and general cooling equipment ready for the big battle.
Many are already servicing their air conditioners, while others make plans to acquire dehumidifiers and air purifiers. Others are also seeking ways to improve insulation to minimize energy losses.
If you’re one of those who’ll be adding a fan to the HVAC arsenal, a room-to-room fan would be a thoughtful acquisition. They are incredibly effective if used correctly. Also, they don’t cost much. The average room-to-room fan costs about $70.
If you’re hearing about them for the first time, don’t worry. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about the room-to-room fan shortly.
So, should you buy a through-the-wall fan in the first place? And, if so, which one should you buy? The rest of this guide answers these and many other questions on room to room fans.
What’s a Room-to-Room Fan?
Room-to-room fans, also known as through-wall fans, transfer fans, or through-the-wall fans, are ventilation fans designed to move large volumes of air from one room to the next.
They are typically paired with other HVAC appliances, such as air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers, and even dehumidifiers. Doing this helps transfer conditioner or warm air to adjacent rooms for even heating and air conditioning throughout the home.
How Room-to-Room Fans Work
First and foremost, room-to-room fans are merely a variation of ventilation fans. Ventilation fans work by bringing in clean, fresh air into an enclosed space. This is different from exhaust fans designed to extract and dispose of stale air from an enclosed space.
The main difference between through-wall ventilation fans and ordinary ventilation fans is that whereas the typical ventilation fan draws cool, fresh air from outside the house into the selected room, room-to-room fans draw their fresh, cool/warm air from a room inside the house.
For instance, if the kitchen feels stuffy, you can install a room-to-room fan connecting it to, perhaps, the living room or any other adjacent room where there’s plenty of fresh air with good air circulation. This way, the conditioned air from the adjacent room would freshen things up in the kitchen.
Why Would I Want to Move Air from One Room to the Next?
There could be many reasons. For instance, if you have an air conditioner in the master bedroom but none in the adjacent kids’ bedroom, you a room-to-room fan allows you to transfer conditioned air from the master bedroom to the kids’ bedroom. It effectively saves you from purchasing a new AC for the kids’ bedroom until you’re ready to do so.
The same applies to heating. A through-wall fan will transfer the warm, relaxing air into adjacent rooms, so you don’t have to worry about the lack of heating in the next room.
Other applications of through-wall fans are as follows;
- Venting a room that always feels stuffy
- Venting a family room with a smoker
- Moving air in and out of an all-season room
- Moving air between floors
Advantages of Room-to-Room Fans
The US Energy Department’s Build America team has conducted several studies on the effectiveness and benefits of room-to-room fans. All these studies have returned positive results. The results show that through-wall fans meet ASHRAE standards 100% of the time.
Indeed, the DOE summarizes the benefits of these fans are follows;
- Reduced heating and cooling costs: Using a transfer fan to allow heating and cooling energy to reach other rooms in the home eliminates material, labor, and associated bulkhead costs, especially where the alternative is ductwork.
- Easy installation and maintenance: Transfer fan assemblies are easy to install and straightforward to maintain. The only challenge is cases where hardwiring to the home’s power system is needed.
- More even heating/cooling: Room-to-room fans also guarantee more even cooling or heating throughout the home. If one room feels under heated/cooled, a room to room fan eliminates the difference.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Room to Room Fan
When buying a room-to-room fan, the factors to consider are similar to those when buying any other vent fan.
- Size in CFM
A vent fan’s capacity is measured in cubic feet per minute, i.e., the amount of air (in cubic feet) it can move per minute. Most room-to-room fans are rated 60-110 CFM. A great fan moves the room’s entire volume (floor area x ceiling height) 3x to 4x every hour.
- Fan speeds
Fan speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). You’ll find most vent fans rated 1,000+ RPM. Very few are rated below 1,000 RPM. The more important thing is the available speed levels.
A variable-speed fan is the best because it works at any speed between zero and 100% capacity, thus giving you exceptional flexibility and control. Two-stage/speed fans are also good enough. However, single-speed fans draw a low of power and tend to break down more frequently.
- Build quality
The best through-wall fans are built to last. Therefore, look out for metal fan blades and housing. Galvanized aluminum and steel are two common materials. Toughened ABS plastic is also acceptable. However, ordinary plastics are a no-no.
- Ease of use
Ease of use is mostly about controls. Since there aren’t many with smart/app control, try to find one with remote control. If that’s also not possible, insist on an independent wall switch.
Best Room to Room Fan Reviews
Let’s begin, though, with a review of some of the best room-to-room fans. These fans are powerful and proven to be reliable. Above all, they won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
1. TJernlund AS1 AireShare Room-to-Room Fan Ventilator
The TJernlund AS1 AireShare room-to-room fan transfers cool or warm air from one room to the next to ensure even heating and cooling within the home. It can also transfer conditioned or heated air from a given floor level to the next to make your home uniformly comfortable.
It comprises a powder-coated white intake grille and supply diffuser. The intake blower installs at a height in the wall that best takes advantage of the air conditioner or heater. This allows for the natural movement of air between rooms and across floors.
Key features of the model AS1 (which is almost similar to the model AS2) include a switch-it wireless wall switch model SWS which comprises a rocker switch, batteries, receiver, and mounting hardware. This switch allows for fast and easy installation. It should be located at least 80’ from the receiver.
The package also includes a Switch-It wireless digital thermostat that mounts in the receiving room to activate the fan. The batteries and mounting hardware are included.
The AS1 is designed for small applications, up to 150 square feet, where it delivers 3-4 air changes per hour. For larger rooms, consider the AS2, which is effective in rooms up to 275 square feet.
- It’s a quiet, low-watt blower
- Blends with any indoor décor
- Staggered intake/discharge reduces sound transfer
- No straight line of light/sight
- Wall switch and thermostat sold separately
- Requires hardwiring
2. SunCourt TW208P ThroughWall Hardwired Variable Speed Room-to-Room Fan
- EQUALIZE TEMPERATURE - Used in conjunction with PTAC units, mini-splits, fireplaces, wood stoves, window air conditioning units and other HVAC systems
- QUIET OPERATION - The sound levels are 55dBA on high speed and 49dBA at low speed, this compares to the sound of a desktop computer fan
- VARIABLE SPEED - The ThruWall Pro has a variable speed dial that lets you control how powerful to make the airflow
- COMFORT - Balance temperature between rooms, with the rotatable grille you can direct airflow to your preference
- HARDWIRED - Requires direct installation into the homes electricity. The telescoping housing allows wall widths from: 4"-6.5" thick
Another excellent through-the-wall fan is the model TW208P from SunCourt. It’s a durable fan built with polycarbonate blades for a long life of worry-free use. The 100 CFM (high) and 40 CFM (low) fan is rated 49-55 decibels and about 3.0 sones. Although it requires hardwiring, it connects to the standard 120V lines and consumes about 55 watts per hour.
It’s a reasonably compact fan. The front grille measures 12 ½ inches x 10 inches, while the back grille measures 10.0 inches. Both grilles can be painted to match your interior décor.
More importantly, the rotating grilles can be adjusted to focus the airflow as you wish. The telescoping housing length is 4 inches to 6 ½ inches. At about 6.0 pounds, you’d also say it’s very lightweight.
The unit boasts a variable speed dial that gives you complete control over the cooling in your home. Variable speed fans self-adjust to deliver the correct amount of cooling based on indoor conditions. The fan airflow exhausts on the switch side, though a reverse airflow blade is available for purchase.
This fan is recommended for PTAC systems, mini-split systems, fireplaces, and window air conditioners. It’s ETL-approved and comes with a 12-month warranty.
- Energy-efficient and economical
- Rotating grilles allow flexible airflow
- Variable fan speeds enable customization
- Backed by a 12-month warranty
- No smart controls
- A bit noisy at 55 dB
3. SunCourt TW408 Through-Wall 2-Speed Room-to-Room Wall Mounted Fan
- GREAT FOR ALL KINDS OF APPLICATIONS: Perfect for workshops, work-spaces, craft stations, rooms without windows, or any room that needs improved air circulation
- 2-SPEED OPERATION: Features a 2-speed motor so you can customize airflow to meet your specific needs
- EASY TO INSTALL: Can be mounted in any normal drywall or paneled stud construction wall with a 3-3/4 to 6-1/2-inch total thickness thanks to the telescoping metal sleeve
- NO HARD WIRING NEEDED: Includes number 6 screws, wall anchors, and a 10-foot cord for easy installation with no hard wiring required
- GREAT FOR ANY SEASON: Whether you are trying to keep things cold in the summer, or things warm throughout winter with the simple flick of a switch you are bouncing between heat and cool; Color: White; Dimensions (L x W x H): 9.25 x 6.5 x 9.25 inches; Weight: 4 pounds
If you want something a little more powerful, SunCourt has a second through-wall fan rated 130 CFM. It’s actually slightly smaller than the model 208 in physical dimensions. The back grille, for instance, measures 9.25 inches x 9.25 inches x 6.5 inches. The grilles can be painted to match your décor. The fan weighs only 4.0 pounds.
This fan installs on any ordinary drywall or paneled stud construction wall with a 3¾ to 6 ½ inch total thickness. The telescoping metal sleeve ensures fast installation. It draws slightly less power (20-36 watts) than the model TW208. It’s rated 0.75 amps and 120 volts. However, unlike the model TW208, it doesn’t require hardwiring. Simply plug-and-play.
The other thing that sets it apart is the 2-speed operation. Remember that that model TW208 is a variable speed unit. Two-speed fans are almost as good but offer less flexibility. It’s rated 54 dB, and the package includes six screws, wall anchors, and a 10-foot cord for easy installation.
As with other SunCourt room-to-room fans, the model TW408 has the fan airflow exhaust on the switch side. It’s also ETL Listed and arrives with a 12-month limited manufacturer warranty.
- Powerful at 130 CFM
- Compact and lightweight
- Airflow adapter plates control airflow
- Grilles are paintable
- Backed by a 12-month warranty
- No remote control
4. Broan NuTone 512 Room Ventilation Plastic Square 90 CFM Exhaust Fan
- VERSATILE FAN: Ventilation fan helps eliminate humidity, tobacco smoke, and cooking odors to keep your house smelling fresh
- EFFICIENT: Operates at 90 CFM and has a 3.5 Sone rating for an efficient and effective operation in rooms up to 85 sq. ft. every use
- EASY INSTALLATION: Easy to install and/or replace existing product with adjustable housings to fit walls up to 5-1/8" thick
- DECORATIVE: Paintable white polymeric grilles allow you to ensure the fan is cohesive with your existing decor
- FEATURES: Permanently lubricated, thermally protected, plug-in motor and specially designed polymeric fan blade for optimal performance
- 0.7 A
The versatile Broan NuTone 512 is a 90 CFM fan designed to eliminate humidity, tobacco smoke, and cooking odors to keep your home smelling fresh. It’s rated 4.0 sones and can comfortably serve small rooms up to 85 square feet. Also, the fan installs with ease on your exterior wall, fitting walls up to 5 1/8 inches thick.
It arrives in a galvanized 25-gauge steel housing with an electrically bonded epoxy finish pain that stands to moisture for many years of productive use. The two 6.0 x 4 3/8 inch polymeric grilles are white when the appliance arrives but can be painted as you wish to match your décor. Both grilles spin on easily to install and come off effortlessly during maintenance.
The plug-in motor is permanently lubricated and thermally protected for durability and safety. Motor assembly offers fast, easy twist-lock installation. The solid-state speed control for fan speed and sound level selection are the other notable features. The functions and speed are controllable from a remotely mounted wall switch or the Broan Model 57W or 57V variable speed control.
Installing the unit is straightforward, though you’ll need to drill an 11 5/8-inch hole through the interior wall. The housing can be fastened to the wall in several ways.
- Permanently lubricated plug-in motor
- Variable speed control
- 25-gauge steel housing
- 1-year warranty
- A bit noisy at 4.0 sones
5. SunCourt ThroughWall Model TW108 2-Speed Room-to-Room Fan
- IMPROVED AIR CIRCULATION - Circulate air from one room to another. Perfect for work-shops, work-spaces, craft stations, rooms without windows, or any room that needs improved air circulation.
- TWO-SPEED OPERATION - The ThruWall Fan features a two-speed motor so you can customize airflow to meet your needs.
- EASY INSTALLATION: The ThruWall can be mounted in any normal drywall or paneled stud construction wall with a 3-3/4" to 6-1/2" total thickness thanks to the telescoping metal sleeve.
- HARDWARE INCLUDED: Includes #6 screws and wall anchors for ease of installation.
- GREAT FOR ALL SEASONS - Whether you are trying to keep things cold in the summer, or things warm throughout winter with the simple flick of a switch you are bouncing between heat and cool.
Although we’ve already covered two SunCourt products on this list, there’s a third option if you want an even smaller through-wall fan – the model TW108.
The model TW108 combines several qualities of the model TW208 and TW408. Although it’s a 2-speed fan like the model 408, it’s hardwired like the model 208. All the six screws needed for the installation are included in the package for greater convenience. The necessary wall anchors are also included.
The two speed levels (Low at 60 CFM and High at 110 CFM) limit you to only two settings. However, it’s a lot better than single-speed fans, either off at 0% or on at 100%. The lower speed is less noisy and consumes less power. The good news, though, is that even in the High-speed setting, it’s still rated 3.0 sones.
The fan’s telescoping housing installs in frame walls from 3 ¾ inches to 6 ¼ inches thick. More importantly, the wall opening must be cut to approximately 7 5/8 inches in diameter. A 10-foot grounded cord makes the electrical wiring easy. The corded side of the fan is on the output/discharge side.
- Powerful fan, up to 110 CFM
- Two-speed levels
- Includes 10-foot power cord
- 12-month limited warranty
- Requires hardwiring
6. Achla Designs Model F-11 Room-to-Room Minuteman Doorway Fan
- Use this Room-to-Room Circulating Fan to move heat around the house
- Ideal for temperature regulation in homes heated with a woodstove, pellet stove, or fireplace
- Can be mounted in a doorway, with hardware included, easily reversible
- Single Speed, 55 CFM (1100 RPM) Lifelong lubricated motor rated for continuous use, single speed
- Outside dimension 4 3/4-in x 4 3/4-in x 1 3/4-in, with 11-ft cord, Black and Chrome
Finally, another excellent choice when shopping for a through-wall fan would be the model F-11 from Achla Designs. At just 1.0 pounds, it’s the lightest fan on this list.
It’s also one of the most compact through-wall fans at 4.75 x 1.75 x 4.75 inches. The manufacturer says it is best utilized in doorways. However, it also works in other through-the-wall applications.
There’s plenty to like about the model F-11. For one, it’s the most affordable product on this list, priced at under $40. As we’ve already seen, some through-wall fans can cost over $150. Secondly, it’s a straightforward fan. You can practically see every internal component. Also, the grille is fasted t the housing using four screws on each face. When the time comes for maintenance, all you need to do is remove the screws to wise the internal component.
It’s also easily reversible. The front side can face backward and vice versa. It’s a level of flexibility other through-wall fans don’t offer. The provided 11-foot power cable should reach the power outlet with ease. There’s no need for hardwiring as the cable plugs into the standard household outlet.
The only downside is that it’s a single-stage fan. This means that whenever it’s on, it’ll be running at the 55 CFM rating. There are no other speeds. Other than that, it’s a worthwhile consideration.
- Very affordable fan
- Simple construction
- Easy maintenance
- Includes 11-foot power cord
- Single-stage fan speed
What does a transfer fan do? Transfer fans, also known as room-to-room fans, move large volumes of air from one room to the next.
Does a fan ventilate a room? Yes. Vent fans ventilate rooms. They draw cool air from other sources into the room where the fan is installed to improve indoor conditions.
How do you circulate air in a room with a fan? There are several tips to consider. Begin by opening your doors and windows to enhance air movement (when cooling). Also, consider adding a ceiling fan and possibly an attic exhaust fan. Above all, make sure nothing is obstructing the fans.
Where should a fan be to cool a room? It depends on the fan. For portable fans, position it close enough to you and the rest of the family, with the front facing the opposite wall. However, other fans such as the attic and room-to-room fans are designed with a particular position in mind. For room-to-room fans, the best spot is above the door.
A room-to-room fan presents a practical solution to poor ventilation and air conditioning in the home. By moving warm or cool air from one room to the next, they ensure even heating and cooling throughout the home. The best part is that they’re very affordable and easy to maintain. If the budget allows, you should consider buying one.