How to Create Airflow in a Room

How to Create Airflow in a Room

Beat the heat and circulate fresh air with this handy guide

During the summer months, it can be hard to cool down if you don't have—or don't want to spend money on—air conditioning. Even if you do have AC, sometimes it's nice to get a little fresh air moving in a stuffy room. In this article, we'll be sharing super simple tips to help you create airflow and bring in a breeze. We'll also touch on how to make slight changes to your room or building so you can stay cool all summer long.

[Edit]Things You Should Know

  • Open the door or window for an easy way to increase airflow. Use ceiling fans or box fans to improve the flow even more.
  • To create a cross-breeze, put a box fan in an open window facing inward. Then, put a second box fan in another window across the room facing outside.
  • If you're creating a cross-breeze, add an extra box fan in the center of the room to improve air circulation even more.


[Edit]Using Simple Solutions

  1. Open the door for a quick and easy way to increase airflow. If you can, prop open a door so the warm air that's building up in your room can flow out. This also helps to balance and regulate the temperature around your house.[1][2]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If the room has multiple doors, prop them all open to increase air flow.
  2. Open a window if you want to keep your door closed. Opening the window will help get air moving. If you already have air blowing into the room from your A/C, opening a window will help draw it out, creating airflow and better circulation. You can do this with a closed door, as long as you have air blowing in from the A/C.[3]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • You only need to open the window in order to start drawing the hot air out of the room!
  3. Use ceiling and box fans to generate circulation. If you don't have an air conditioner, purchase a simple box fan or install a ceiling fan for a cost-effective way to circulate air.[4] Using fans while the windows and doors are open will get air moving even faster.
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Use a dehumidifier if the air feels and moist stuffy.[5]
    • If you're in the bathroom or kitchen, turn on the exhaust fan to get air moving. In the kitchen, you can also turn on the range hood fan (if you have one).
  4. Make sure the air conditioning vent is open if you have A/C. An air conditioner can help create airflow even if you don't want to set it to "cool." Just make sure the vent is open and set it to fan mode so air circulates throughout the room.[6]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • If you don't have an A/C, consider buying a window A/C unit or a portable A/C unit, especially if you live in a hot climate. Portable A/C units work great in windowless rooms.
    • If you do have an A/C, schedule HVAC maintenance once a year and get your air ducts cleaned every 2-3 years, or as needed.[7]

[Edit]Creating Cross Ventilation

  1. Place a box fan in a window facing inward. Install the box so that it faces inside the room and pushes cooler air into the space. Then, close the window as much as possible after you place the box fan in the window to hold it in place.[8]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 5 Version 2.jpg
  2. Place a second box fan in a window across the room facing outside. Put the second fan in a higher window if possible, since hot air rises, and set it to blow outwards. Then, just pull the window down to the top of the fan so it stays in place.[9]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • This process creates a vacuum, drawing air through the room and cooling it down.
  3. Use reversible fans. Reversible fans give you the option of turning the fans around with little to no heavy lifting, so that you can have the coolest room possible.[10]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 7 Version 2.jpg
  4. Add extra box fans in the middle of a large room. If the space is large, encourage air movement by placing another box fan in the middle of the room. Orient this fan so it's blowing towards the fan facing outward to encourage the air to go out.[11]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 8 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Modifying the Room or Building

  1. Cut a opening in the door. A small hole in your door can create airflow and cool down the room. You can leave the door as-is or insert a transfer grill to make the cut less obvious.[12]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 9 Version 2.jpg
  2. Install a return duct. Return ducts push air back to the air conditioner so it can be recycled. This increases airflow because it gives the cool air coming into the room somewhere to go.[13]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • If you don't already have these in your home, they can be expensive to install.
    • One basic way to create return air ducts is to cut a hole in the floor in the wall cavity. Connect it to the room and the return air with metal sheeting.
  3. Use jump ducts to allow air flow in and out of the room. Jump ducts are u-shaped tunnels that create the same effect as leaving the door open, as they allow air to flow back out of the room when it comes in through the A/C vent. For best results, install jump ducts in the attic. To install:[14]
    Create Airflow in a Room Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Cut holes in the ceiling drywall.
    • Place the jump duct above the rooms, and connect the registers on the duct to the beams.
    • Seal the registers to the drywall using caulk. Then, seal the registers to the duct using the approved ties and metal tape.
    • In the rooms, place a ceiling grill under the duct.



[Edit]Quick Summary

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