When it comes to fans, you don’t always have electricity, batteries, or motors. It’s a good idea to know how to make fans run without the grid.
This is how to make a fan work without electricity from the grid:
All modern fans require stored energy converted into electricity. It is possible to make a fan work without electricity from the grid. You can generate electricity from other sources, such as water, heat, wind, gravity, or steam. Alternate energy sources save money and help the environment.
Can a Fan Run Without Electricity?
Fans can run without electricity from your home or the grid—however, all fans need some form of electricity to operate.
To power a fun without grid-based electricity, you just need access to the right materials.
Some of those materials include:
- A fan
- A motor
- An alternate power source
- A connection between the power source and moter
I’ll show you what to do if you don’t have all of these materials later in this article (hint: you can make some of them).
How To Make a Fan Work Without Electricity (7 Good Ways)
If you use a little ingenuity and elbow grease, you can make a fan work without electricity from the grid.
By doing so, you save money, help the environment, and prepare yourself for temporary power outtages.
Here are seven good ways to run fans without electricity:
- Solar power
1) How To Make a Fan Run on Solar Power
You can make a fan spin without electricity by using solar energy.
All you need is a solar panel, some wires, and a fan.
Take your solar panel outside on a sunny day. Attach one end of the wire to the solar panel (it needs to conduct electricity). The other end of the wire connects to the motor on your fan.
That’s it! You’ve got a fan that runs on solar energy.
Here is a good video that shows you how to do it visually:
2) How To Make a Fan Work With a Battery
You can make a fan work without grid-sourced electricity by using batteries.
This is one of the easiest ways to make a fan work without electricity because you don’t need many specialized tools.
All you need are batteries, wires, a snap connector, a soldering tool, and some electrical tape.
To supply power to a small fan, use a AA battery or a 9 volt battery. If you want to power a larger fan, you can even use a car battery.
Strip wire from the ends of each wire connected to the snap connector and the fan.
Twist the red (positive) wires together. Then use a soldering machine to heat them and to stick them together.
Do the same thing with the black (negative) wires. Electrical tape should cover the soldering points so that no wire or solder is visible.
Finally, attach the 9 volt battery to the snap connector.
Now you have a battery-powered fan that runs until the battery goes out.
3) How To Make a Fan Spin With Heat
You can also make a fan work with heat. Essentially, you create a stove fan.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- A stove (or other similar heat source)
- A fan (or motor and blades)
- CPU heatsinks (small one and large one)
- Cutting tools (sciccors, box cutter, etc)
- Super glue
- Steel wire
- Pelitier (Thermoelectric device)
You stack the materials in this order (from the ground up): Small CPU heatsink, Pelitier, large CPU heatsink, and fan motor. Attach the same colored wires together—red wire with red wire and black wire with black wire.
As the stove gets hotter, you transfer the heat into electricity that powers the fan.
4) How To Make a Fan Work With Gravity
You can make a fan spin with gravity by using something heavy, some chains (or ropes), and a few gears.
This is called a “clock fan” or a “gravity fan.”
In this method, you build a homemade energy source using gravity, one of the most accessible forces in nature. You run the chain over a few interlocking gears. A hook on one end of the chain holds some weights.
Think of this as a pulley system that converts gravity into mechanical energy.
The weights pull the chain, which turns the gears. The turning gears power the fan.
5) How to Make a Fan Run on Gas
You can run fans on petrol, diesel, propane, kerosene, or natural gas.
All you need for this method is a gas source, engine, motor, altenator, and an electric fan.
A fan that runs on gas needs a motor with electronic components that work when exposed to heat. The engine powers the alternator that then drives the motor.
The motor spins the fan blades, producing a breeze.
6) How To Power a Fan With Water
You can also use water to run fans. In fact, this is one of the oldest ways to make fans work without electricity from the grid.
You will need water, a turbine, and a fan. You also might need some energy storage, like a water tank.
A turbine is basically an impeller blade that turns water into kinetic or mechanical energy.
Water runs, flowing past the blades, turning them, which creates movement.
This movement is known as rotational energy.
You place the fan under or next to this apparatus, connected to the water tank or other energy storage device. The turbine will turn, powering the fan.
You can create a fan using saltwater, too.
Here’s how you do it:
- Use a block of flat wood as a base (about 12 inches is good for a small fan)
- Glue a small verticle rectangle to the center of the wooden base
- Glue two ceramic cups to the base (one on each side of the base)
- Glue the fan motor to the top of the rectangular piece of wood in the center of the base
- Solder two copper wires to the back of the fan (the opposite side where you will attach the blades)
- Scrape off the loose ends of the wires to expose the copper wire underneath
- Wrap both ends of the exposed wire with aluminum foil
- Drop the aluminum foil ends into the two ceramic cups
- Add two teaspoons of salt to each ceramic cup
- Add small plastic or lightweight blades to the fan motor
- Fill up each ceramic cup hallway with water
As you fill the cups, the fan blades should start to turn, creating airflow.
Basically, you turn the salt water into a saltwater “battery” that stores and discharges energy to power the fan.
7) How To Make a Fan Work With Steam
You can also run fans work with nothing but steam.
To do this, you’ll need to fire and water to create the steam. Then, you need a way to direct the steam to spin a turbine.
The turbine then spins a fan.
You can add water to a covered aluminum or copper pot that you hang over an open hot fire. As the fire boils, it produces steam.
Once you generate steam, you funnel it through a tube to a turbine to make the fan turn.
How To Run a Ceiling Fan at Home Without Electricity
You can also run a ceiling fan without using electricity from the grid. To do this, you’ll need a motor and a power source that runs the motor.
This power must be efficient enough to turn the blades of your ceiling fan.
You can use solar energy, wind power, or human power to do this.
Option 1: How To Run a Ceiling Fan With Solar Energy
One of the easiest ways to run your ceiling fan without electricity is by using solar panels.
Although it is the most expensive option, it is also the easiest.
You can buy a solar generator or purchase individual solar panels for this purpose. You can eve make your own panels.
Option 2: How to Run a Ceiling Fan With Wind Power
Another way to make your ceiling fan work is by using wind power.
You can purchase a wind turbine from a manufacturer for this purpose. This is the second-most expensive option, after using solar energy.
Option 3: How To Run a Ceiling Fan With Human Power
You can also make your ceiling fan work without electricity from the grid by using human power.
To do this, you’ll need a bike generator to plug your fan into.
This is one of the cheapest solutions for powering your ceiling fan. However, you’ll need to ride the stationary bike (exercise) to generate mechanical energy to power your fan.
How To Run a Box Fan Without Electricity
You can run a box fan without electricity by using any of the methods mentioned in this article. You can power your box fan with solar energy, steam, or gravity.
However, the easiest method is probably to use a battery.
You connect the battery to your fan by running wires from your battery to the fan.
Then, you simply turn on your fan and enjoy the breeze.
Once the battery dies, you can replace the batteries or even recharge them using a small solar panel.
How To Make a Fan Without Electricity
Once you know the basic materials, it is pretty simple to create a small fan without electricity.
This is also how to make a fan without electricity or a motor.
- A plastic soda bottle (20 or 24 oz is good)
- Cutting tool (like a small knife, box cutter, or scissors)
- Plastic fan head and blades
- A wooden rod (tapered at one end)
- A small ring of rubber or plastic
Here are the steps:
- Cut a small hole into the bottle cap (while it is screwed on the bottle)
- Cut a small hole in the back of the bottle
- Poke a small hole in the cylindrical “body” of the bottle
- Tie one end of the thread to the small rubber or plastic ring
- Unscrew the bottle cap and remove it from the bottle
- Thread the loose end of the string through the hole in the cylindrical body of the bottle
- Pull the string out of the top of the bottle (where you drink)
- Place the wooden rod through the hole in the bottle cap
- Attach the fan head and blades to the tapered end of the wooden rod (make sure they fit well).
- Tie the loose end of the string to the wooden rod
- Insert the rod into the bottle (the blunt end of the wooden rod should poke out through the hole on the bottom of the bottle)
- Screw the cap onto the bottle
- Manually spin the fan blades to wrap the string around the wooden rod (which is now inside the bottle)
By pulling the rubber ring, the string spins the rod, which turns the blades.
As the blades turn, the string gets twisted around the wooden rod. Therefore, if you continue to pull the rubber ring, you will continue to power the fan.
Here is a short video that demonstrates the construction of this small hand-held fan:
How To Make a Big Fan Without Electricity
If you want to make a big fan without electricity from the grid then I suggest that you use gas, a battery, or solar energy.
The bigger fan (and more powerful) fan that you want, the bigger power source you’ll need.
That means more gas, a larger-sized battery, or a bigger solar panel. You could also use several smaller solar panels to power a stronger motor.
To make solar panels at home, you’ll need:
- Copper plates
- A marker
- Ferric chloride
- Alcohol-based cleaner
- Soldering tool
- Cyrstal silicone paste
- Wires (for a positive and negative charge)
To put it simply, you draw grid lines on the copper plate with the marker, soak the plate in ferric chloride, clean the plate, solder tin into the grooves on the plate, brush the plate with crystal silicone paste, and solder wires to the plate.
Then you attach the loose ends of the wires to a battery, turbine, or the fan motor.
Once you place the panel (and fan) out in the sun for a while, the fan should start to spin.
You can watch YouTube videos that show you exactly how this process is done.
Fans That Work Without Electricity
You can purchase (or build) fans that work without electricity from the grid.
These fans include:
- Wind up fans
- Battery-powered fans
- Gas-powered fans
- Stove fans
- Solar fans
- Traditional hand fans
Best Fans Without Electricity
Here are my recommendations for the best fans that don’t use electricity from the grid:
|Type of Fan
|Heat powered fan
|Ecofan AirMax, 812AMXBX
|Japanese Handmade Bamboo Silk Fan
|Solar Powered Fan
|Cowin Solar Fan System
|Solar-powered generator with panels
|BLUETTI AC200P Solar Generator
Final Thoughts: How To Make a Fan Work Without Electricity
If you’re looking to save money or survive off the grid, you really can’t go wrong with portable solar-powered or heat-powered fans.
You can almost always find sunlight or make heat.
- How Long Do Fans Last? (Answers for 21 Types of Fans)
- Can Fans Pick Up Radio Signals? (Explained)
- Can I Put Fans in the Trash? (Solved)