How To Cool a Garage With a Fan the Right Way

Garages are notorious for getting hot and holding in heat. Thankfully, there are quite a few solutions out there to keep garages cool. One of those solutions is simple and cost-effective: use a fan. 

Contrary to what you may think, cooling a garage with a fan isn’t as simple as plugging in the fan, leaving it, and enjoying cooler air.

You’ll need to have the right kind of fan(s) for your garage, place them strategically, and understand how to move cool air in and push hot air out of your garage. 

Let’s look at the steps to cooling your garage with a fan. Don’t worry – it’ll be a breeze!

Know Your Fans

If you’ve got a sweltering garage and want to cool it down with a fan, you first need to know your fans. As you’d probably imagine, there are different types. Those fans provide various methods of cooling when it comes to garages. 

There are three main types of fans used to cool garages:

Wall-Mountable Fans

Wall-mountable fans are just like their name implies: they’re fans that are mounted to the wall. These fans typically oscillate from side to side to move air horizontally through a garage. 

While wall-mountable fans are a more permanent fixture, they can still be positioned and set up to control the airflow strategically.

Ceiling-Mountable Fans

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Ceiling-mountable fans are also like their name implies. They’re mounted on the ceiling of a garage and move air directly underneath them. 

You can think of ceiling-mountable fans just like the ones that you may have in your home – they have long, horizontal blades that move around to circulate air. 

Garage ceiling fans are great at ensuring hot air doesn’t get trapped towards the top of the garage, but they can’t be positioned and moved to control the airflow. 

Floor-Standing Fans

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Floor-standing fans come in all shapes, sizes, and heights, but they all operate in roughly the same way. 

They’re fan units that are free-standing on the floor and can be moved around to different areas. Like wall-mountable fans, floor-standing fans move air horizontally through a garage.

Floor-standing fans are arguably the easiest type of fan to use to cool down a garage. Not only are they relatively inexpensive compared to other fans, but they can easily be moved and positioned to achieve the best air circulation. 

Know Your Garage

Before you can cool your garage down with a fan – whether it be wall-mountable, ceiling-mountable, or floor-standing – you also need to know your garage.

Consider your garage’s features and layout – does it have an overhead door? Does it have a back door or any other entrances/exits? Does it have any windows? If it has windows, can those windows open?

The features and layout of your garage will determine how you need to position and space your fan(s) for optimum cooling

Cooling Off a Garage with an Overhead Door – No Windows

Remember, there are various strategies for cooling off different garages with a fan. If your garage has a large overhead door and no windows, this how-to is for you. 

This method works best with two floor-standing fans, but you can achieve similar effects with one floor-standing fan or one to two wall-mounted fans. 

Position Your Fan(s)

You may think that in order to cool down your garage, you need to position a fan at the back of the garage to push the hot air out. Actually, the opposite is true. 

Fan #1

To cool off a garage that has an overhead door and no windows, you’ll want to position your fan right in front of the open overhead door, off to either side. Make sure your fan is facing so that air blows into the garage. 

Next, you’ll want to angle the fan so that it’s somewhat facing the center of the garage.

The same positioning goes for either a wall-mounted fan or a floor-standing fan.

Fan #2

If you’ve got an extra fan lying around or you’ve chosen to take on this method with two fans, take your other fan and position it on the direct opposite side of the first fan. However, you want to make sure your second fan is facing so that air blows out of the garage. 

Again, whether you’re using wall-mounted fans or floor-standing fans, the positioning is the same. 

If you can adjust the height of either fan, adjust your first fan (blowing air into the garage) so that it’s lower than the second fan (blowing air out of the garage). 

When the second fan is positioned higher than the first fan, it catches the hot air as it rises and pulls it out of the garage (source).

Cooling Off a Garage with an Overhead Door and Windows

If your garage has both an overhead door and a window (or several), the method for cooling it off is relatively similar to the method outlined above. 

Make sure the windows in your garage can actually open. If they can’t, you’ll want to refer to the first cooling method. 

The idea is still the same – you want to bring cool air in and push hot air out. 

Position Your Fan(s)

To decide where to position your fan(s) for this method, consider the layout of your windows in relation to your overhead door. Your windows may be in the back of the garage (directly behind the overhead door), or on either side of the garage. 

Fan #1

Your first fan should again be the fan that brings cold air into the garage. For this cooling method, you might be placing the fan in the same place as the above method. However, you might not. 

Consider where the shadiest and coolest part of your garage is. That’s where your first (or only, if you’re only using one fan) fan should be positioned. 

If your fan is being positioned on either side of the overhead door (whichever side is shadier/cooler), angle it so air blows towards the open window(s). 

If your garage has windows or another opening at the back of the garage, position your first fan right at the opening of the overhead door (on whichever side is shadier/cooler) and keep it angled straight on so air flows right towards the back. 

Fan #2

This method will still work with only one fan, but if you want to implement it with two, that’s even better. 

Your second fan should be positioned in front of the window or other opening so that it can pull hot air out of the garage. 

If you have windows or another opening at the back of the garage, position the fan right at the opening, facing the outside so air circulates out. 

Again, if you can make the second fan higher than the first fan, do so. It’ll -capture and push out more hot air as the hot air rises. 

Ways to Keep Your Garage Cool – and for Longer

Fans are a quick, simple, and relatively inexpensive way to cool your garage. However, unless it’s already cool outside, your fans can’t help keep your garage cool if they aren’t in use.  

How can you keep your garage cool for longer, or keep your garage cool when you’re not using fans?

There are both portable and permanent options (source)

Cooling OptionPortable or Permanent?Benefits
Window or wall AC UnitPermanent – Long-lastingEasily cools off smaller garages; lasts a long time
InsulationPermanent – Long-lasting Keeps cold (or hot) air in the garage for longer
Portable Air ConditionerPortableEasily cools off garages without having to do an installation
DehumidifierPortableRemoving humidity can make conditions more comfortable and easier to cool 
Attic VentsPermanent – Long-lastingAllow hot air to escape through the attic when it rises

If you want better cooling than a garage fan can give you, the next step is to look at air conditioning. But can you really cool your garage with a portable air conditioner? I’ve already tackled that question and you can find the answer by clicking on the link above.

I also discuss whether you should air condition your garage in the first place. Either way, you’ll get some great info to help point you in the right direction.

If you’re shopping for a garage fan, check out my ultimate buyer’s guide article. Its full of everything you need to know to get the best garage fan, without spending a fortune!