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One of the most important elements in HVAC products are the fans. There are many different types of fans that are used, so it is important to understand the basic fan types to be able to choose the best and most cost-efficient type that is suitable for the job.

Types of HVAC fansAll types of fans are designed for the sole purpose of delivering air. In an HVAC unit, most furnaces contain one or more fans, and different fans are used for different applications. There are three basic fan types that are usually encountered in the HVAC industry: The Axial Fan, the Forward Curved Centrifugal Fan and the Backward Inclined Fan.

Axial fans, also known as propeller fans, are engineered to move a low volume of air under low static conditions. Static pressure is the resistance to air flow. These types of fans are low cost, and don’t work well when they face resistance. Since propeller fans are low cost, most are built to run on Single Phase voltages. These types of fans are more suited for applications with lower air volumes and pressures.

Axial fans can usually be found positioned on top of an HVAC rooftop or home compressor which is outside a house. A basic HVAC system which doesn’t run a heat pump is designed with condenser coils which remove heat from an area. These coils have fins that need air to move through them so as to remove heat. Since these sections don’t require a high power fan, an axial fan is the best and most cost efficient solution.

Centrifugal fans look similar to hamster exercise wheels. These types of fans produce more pressure for a given air volume than axial fans. They are usually noisier as compared to axial fans and are suited for applications with higher air flow volumes and pressures. Centrifugal fans have three types of drive mechanism: direct, belt, or variable drive.

A centrifugal fan is typically found inside the HVAC rooftop system. These fans should be strong enough to overcome all the resistance of the room’s duct-work. This is where axial fans are inadequate. Centrifugal fans move a large quantity of air while overcoming all the resistance or static pressure of the duct-work so that it can provide adequate air flow throughout the facility.

Backward inclined fans are designed to handle large volumes of clean air as needed in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. These are also used in many industrial air supply and exhaust applications. Some HVAC rooftop units and accessories may contain one or a series of backward inclined fans.

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