How Much Does it Cost to Run a Box Fan? And Can it Replace Your Ac Units?

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Box Fan

Using a box fan is an inexpensive way to cool the air in your home. Especially for areas with cool summer nights and constant breeze, a box fan can come in handy. Instead of turning up the air conditioners, you can make use of natural ventilation through these portable cooling units. 

It won’t require much electricity.  And you’ll also be saving up on global energy use. But exactly how much energy does it cost per hour to run a box fan? This article will also help you gauge how much energy it requires and how it can affect your electricity bills.

So let’s see how much savings you could get.

What is a Box fan

It is a portable fan that is housed in a box enclosure, thus the name. It’s a viable option if you need air to keep flowing yet you have a small space. The frame of the fan has a grill or a plastic latticework through which air comes in and out of the fan.

It’s best to place it near windows. It can get rid of any off-putting odors and smoke. They can be square or rectangular. And they are often easy to move from one room to another.

Tips on Box Fan Use

We’ve dabbled a bit on where these portable fans are often used. We’ll toss in more tips on box fan use so  you can maximize it.

1. Box fans can pull in warm air out of the room and it can also pull in cool air. And it all depends on where the blades are facing.

  • If the blades face the room, it can pull in warm air from the room. This can also be handy when you want to get rid of the smell of the fish you just fried for lunch. 
  • On the other hand, when the blades are facing the opposite direction, it can pull in cold air. This is very useful if there is little ventilation in your small room. A box fan can help cool up a small space without using much electricity.

2. It can remove dust in the air.

 A box fan is an inexpensive air cleaner. Attach a furnace filter to a box fan and it can suck in the dust. That will save you moolah on having to buy a special air cleaner.

3. Swamp cooler alternative

Swamp coolers are like air conditioners that you can install on the roofs of your homes. And it can cost you. Instead of installing a swamp cooler, place a bowl of ice in front of a box fan, and run it. This can instantly give off cool air. Alternatingly, use rechargeable ice packs instead so you can easily toss them in the freezer once it thaws.

4. Natural ventilation

Instead of using an air conditioner, a box fan can pull in fresh air from outside. This can naturally cool your space. Natural ventilation is suitable for areas with cool summer nights and regular breezes. 

5. It can lower down your power usage

Fans can help lower down your energy use. Use fans along with your AC units so you don’t have to crank it up to its highest temperature  setting. You will be consuming lesser wattage. Thus, you can save money by lowering your electricity consumption. 

Cost of Box Fans (Cents Per Hour)

These portable fans are quite inexpensive and they require minimal energy use. 

Let’s do the math. As per the central Iowa power cooperative, a standard box fan uses  40-200 wattage. Assuming you’re using a box fan rated at 70 wattage and a kilowatt will cost 10 cents per hour. Doing the math, the box fan would cost .7 cents per hour. 

Say you’re going to run the fan round the clock. We’ll use the equation 0 .7 cents per hour x 24 hours x 30 days. That will roughly cost you just 1.68 dollars per hour!

In summary, a box fan usage will cost you 5 dollars per month if you’re going to use it round the clock. When compared to air conditioning costs, it can significantly lower your power consumption.

How much is the kwh of air conditioners?

It depends on the horespower. Say one with a  lower .5 horsepower will consume 600 wattage. Using the same formula above let’s compute. 

So .6 wattage ( cents per hour) x  24 hours x 30 days. That’s equivalent to 432 dollars per month. And that’s a small capacity unit with less horsepower. So you can see how much electricity these units can consume. That can cost you a lot of money to run  one with a higher wattage. And for a larger home, a unit with a smaller wattage won’t suffice.  It can skyrocket your electric bill in no time. 

What about a ceiling fan and floor fan?  Fans like these can also save help lower down your electric bills. 

Say a high velocity floor fan uses 135 wattage. At .135 kwh, it would cost you 9.72 dollars per month. So it’s closer to the electricity usage of this type of fan. And still, a floor fan uses less kwh than an air conditioner.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Box Fan

A single box fan can cost 5 dollars for 30 days. Two fans that will run 24 hours a day, for 30 days will cost 10 dollars per month. Those are minimal electricity costs, right? So you’ll be saving a lot of money.

Running air conditioners can spike up your power consumption. Especially in the summer where you;re going to use it for several hours a day, it can account for at least 50 percent of the city’s power lines. But can we really compare a box fan to an air conditioner? Head on to the next section to find out.

Can we Compare a Floor fan to an Air Conditioner?

It’s like this, these two units came from different trees. So while a fan use has lower energy costs  per hour compared to an air conditioner, they have different functions.

Air conditioners can lower the total temperature of a room. So even if the air outside is hot, you can still enjoy the cool air.

On the other hand, fans make use of the breeze outside. So if the air is cool, it will pull in the cool breeze. Whereas, if the outside air is warm, it will also pull in warm air. So it won’t be able to lower down the temperature. Thus, in regions where the climate is extremely hot during the summer, fans might not suffice. 

But if you live in an area where there are cool summer nights, you can turn on a fan instead of the air conditioner. And that can mean great savings on your utility bills. Also, you can use fans in conjunction with the AC. This will help circulate the cold air coming from the AC unit. So you don’t have to crank up the air conditioning unit to a higher  room temperature. So it can still lower down your electricity bill.

Features to Look for in a Box Fan

So what are some factors to consider when buying a box fan? Here are several.

1. Size

The size of the fan will determine its prowess. A larger fan will be able to cool a larger room. 

2. CFM

This is also known as the cubic feet per minute. And this will determine the power of the fans. The higher it is, the more powerful the box fan is.

3. Noise level

Traditional fans are quite noisy. But thanks to technology, some brands are as meek as a mouse. So check for the decibels. The lower it is, the more quiet the fan is.

4. Speed settings

Standard fans have three speed settings: low, medium, and high. The more options the fan offers, the more customizable the comfort is.

5. Removable grills

Removable grills will make it easier for maintenance and clean up.

6. Cord length

Go for units with a longer cord so that you can place it almost anywhere even if its’ a bit far from the wall outlet. Otherwise, you can make use of an extension cord.

7. Energy efficiency

Fans with Energy Star rating are more energy efficient.  You may also want to check at the watts ( kwh) of electricity needed to run it. Technically, the standard is 70 watts. Anything lower than that is more efficient. 

Why Do You Need to Clean your Box Fan?

Your box fan needs to be regularly cleaned. While we all shun the thought of leaning, it should be done. Here are several reasons why you should clean it.

  1. It can extend your fan’s life.
  2. It can enhance the efficiency of your box fan. The more efficient it is, the lesser electricity or power it will consume. 
  3. It will be able to give off the cleaner and fresher air.
  4. Cleaning the blades and removing the dust will make it function as if it’s brand new.

How to Clean a Box Fan

Now that you know why you should clean your box fan, here’s how to do it.

  1. Gather all the materials that you need. You’ll have to have these handy- q tips, scrubby pad, soft cloths, screwdriver, scrubbing brush, and water with a cleaner.
  2. If you want it to go all-natural, instead of using a cleaner, you can use white vinegar instead.
  3. Unplug the fan box from the power source.
  4. Using your screwdriver, unscrew the fan’s grill. Remove both the front and back grills.
  5. Once the covers are removed, it’s time to clean them. You have three options.
  6. You can also use the same technique to clean a ceiling fan, except that it doesn’t have any cover.

Option # 1: spray vinegar all over the grill and let it sit in for a few minutes. Then use a toilet hose to rinse the vinegar off. The high-pressure water will also remove the dust and dirt that are clinging to the covers.

Option #2: Using your hand, grab the cleaner and scrubbing pad. Manually remove the dirt, dust, and grime by hand. Then rinse thoroughly.

Option #3: Drop cleaner in the bathtub. Then soak the grill in the bathtub and let sit for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

6. Get a dry cleaning cloth and spray it with vinegar and water. Gently clean the blades of the fan. Never spray water directly into the blades.

7. You can do this multiple times until all the dirt has been cleared off.

8. Get your scrubbing pad and start to remove dirt from the motor. You may also use q tips for hard to reach areas. Never allow the motor to get in contact with water or the cleaner. 

9. After the covers are dried out, screw the grill back to the fan. Make sure to tighten them. Any loose connections can result in noise. 

10. Always replace cracked blades immediately. This may result in injury if left otherwise.  This goes for a ceiling fan or any type of fan. Never use it if there are cracks in the balde. 


When’s the best time to clean a box fan?

Once it gets dirty you have to clean it. Otherwise, it might not function properly. Alternatingly, it’s best to clean it before storing it for the winter.

Is a ceiling fan a great alternative to a box fan?

A ceiling fan only consumes 1/10 of the power used by air conditioning units. Thus, ceiling fans are also inexpensive means to bring cool air into your room. And unlike a box fan, it can pretty much cover a larger room, making it more energy-efficient. 

What’s the difference between a box and a tower fan?

A tower fan is another type of portable fan. It has blowers arranged in a vertical position, thus the name tower. Compared to box fans that move air from the back to front, tower fans circulate air upward, downward, and rotary angle up to 180 degrees. 


How much electricity does it cost to run a box fan? A lot less. You’d be surprised at how it can lower down your energy consumption. You’ll also be lowering your carbon footprint.  And box fans can also be used in conjunction with your AC units. And you’ll still be able to lower down your electricity bills.