What Is a Door Fan? (Explained for Beginners)

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You may have seen an odd-shaped fan in a doorway and wondered what it is and how it works.

What is a door fan?

A door fan is a small electric fan that is attached to the corner of your doorframe. Door fans increase cross-circulation between two separate but connected spaces, such as two rooms. They are also called door frame fans or corner fans for doorways.

In this article, I’ll answer the most common questions I get about door fans.

What Is a Universal Door Fan?

Green room with a colorful door—What is a door fan?
Image by author via Canva—what is a door fan?

Most door fans are universal door fans.

Universal door fans can fit in virtually any frame, regardless of how thick it is.

This comes in handy when you want to move your fan from one door to another. You can also transfer your door to another house or apartment.

How Does a Door Fan Work?

A door fan is mounted directly to your doorframe.

Most doorframes come with mounting screws and wall anchors, but you’ll need your own screwdriver. The shape of the fan makes mounting it a quick job.

I have installed door fans in fifteen minutes or less.

Once installed, you simply plug the fan into a nearby outlet. Turn it on and the fan will gently push air from one section of your house to another.

They typically come with a single-speed option.

Like many electric fans, door fans suck in air from behind the blades and propel it forward out of the front of the fan.

This video shows a door fan in operation:

YouTube video by HSN—What is a door fan?

What Does a Door Fan Not Do?

A door fan will not cool your house.

A door fan will not circulate air very well through large spaces, or generate a strong airflow.

Door fans are designed specifically to slowly move air from one space to another.

If you want more power, you are better off getting a wall fan, ceiling fan, or blower fan. Inline duct fans, pedestal fans, or tower fans might also do the trick.

Who Are Door Fans For?

Anyone with doorframes can use a door fan.

You can use a doorframe fan in a:

  • House
  • Condo
  • Apartment
  • Dorm room
  • Office

Someone with a large house may use several door fans to help move air throughout the many hallways and rooms.

They are also useful in houses with window fans or fireplaces.

Door Fan Vs. Other Fans: Which Is Better?

If you want a slow-moving fan with a small footprint, you might want a door fan.

Other fans—such as floor or wall fans—can sometimes get in the way or mess up your room decor. Bulky, expensive fans might not be necessary.

Also, if you have small children or pets, floor fans and desk fans can become an unwanted risk.

Door fans attach to the top corner of a doorframe, out of reach.

The downside of door fans is that they do not blow very much air. If you want stronger airflow, you’ll likely prefer other residential fans.

What Are the Fans Above Doorways For?

The long, thin fans above doorways are called air doors or air curtains.

They create a barrier of high-speed airflow that keeps air, pests, and contaminants from spreading from one space to another.

You might have seen a downward-facing blower fan mounted over an entrance to a building. Another common application is for the fan to be attached over an opening between rooms that require different temperatures.

You can also mount air doors over windows.

Door fans increase room-to-room circulation, while air doors prevent it.

Do Doorway Fans Really Work?

Some people really love door fans.

My customers who enjoy door fans usually have a few things in common. They typically expect door fans to get somewhat noisy and not to push air very fast.

Those who complain about these fans usually expect much greater airflow and much quieter operation.

Are Door Fans Loud?

Door fans sound as loud as many standard box fans running at higher speeds. You can also compare the sound to an exhaust fan you might find mounted over a stove.

The pitch is a bit higher than other fans to some people, so take that into consideration.

A door fan is not a super quiet fan, but they don’t bother everyone. As far as fans go, I’d say they are on the louder side.

If you mount the fan in a room where you listen to music or watch TV, you shouldn’t have any trouble hearing your devices.

To reduce the noise, you can place a sound-muffling pad between the fan and doorframe.

Can You Shut a Door With a Door Fan?

Yes, you can still close your door after you mount a door fan.

The fan is designed to fit in the door frame between the door and the next room.

Many of my clients appreciate this feature because they sometimes want privacy. They also occasionally don’t want to circulate as much air between rooms.

Do Door Fans Come With a Reverse Switch?

Most door fans do not come with a reverse switch.

Therefore, you cannot automatically change the direction you want the fan to blow (without remounting the fan).

To switch the fan direction, you will need to:

  • Unscrew the fan from the doorframe
  • Flip the fan over (vertically)
  • Remount the fan in the doorframe

Can You Use an Extention Cord With a Door Fan?

You can use an extension cord with a door fan.

A door fan comes with a short cord (approximately 5 feet), but that might not be long enough to reach a nearby outlet.

Before you connect an extension cord, make sure it can handle the wattage requirements of your door fan.

Otherwise, you risk overloading the cord and causing a fire hazard (this is usually not a problem).

Note: As with all electrical appliances, you should never stress your power sources. In this case, your power source is an outlet.

What Is a Door Fan Test?

A door fan test is sometimes called a room integrity fan test.

The test is used to estimate how long a room will keep out contaminants once a building’s fire hazard suppression system is triggered. Essentially, it’s about fire safety and protecting the people in the building.

A somewhat similar-sounding test, a blower door test, is typically used by home energy technicians.

A blower door test determines how much air is coming in and out of your house.

Best Door Fan

You don’t get many options with door fans. Pretty much the standard door fan is the Suncourt Entree fan.

It’s small, lightweight, and easy to install.

You can pick one up from Amazon, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, or other home improvement locations.

You should be able to find a door fan between $30-$40 (USD).

Final Thoughts: What Is a Door Fan?

If you’re looking for a good alternative to a door fan, you might try an inline duct fan or blower.

Related posts:

Sources

Ashrae.org
Energy.gov