Get Introduced to Different Types of Fans Used in HVAC Systems

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are equipped with fans, which serve as cooling and air circulating devices. Fans are of great significance in HVAC systems. However, not each cooling or ventilation activity is performed by one type of fan. HVAC systems are often designed for result-centric output and therefore for different activities, and performance parameters, different types of fans are used in an HVAC system. There are ideally two types of industrial fans, namely, axial fans and centrifugal fans. These two fundamental types are further categorized based on design, and performance. Owing to the same, the list of the types of fans used in HVAC systems becomes lengthy. This post introduces different types of fans used in the HVAC systems and the specific roles of each type of fan.


Types of Fans Used in HVAC Systems

Different Types of Fans and Their Roles in HVAC Systems

The following types of fans are used in an HVAC system.

  1. Axial Fans: In this type of fan, the blades are attached parallel to the direction of the rotor axis. In an HVAC system, the axial fans are used for cooling or diluted ventilation purposes. These can be AC/DC powered.

There are two types of these fans used selectively in the HVAC systems.

  • Tube Axial FansIn these fans, the fan blades are enclosed in a tube from the outer tips. This generates consistent airflow. These fans are used for consistent cooling and uniform air volume output.

  • Vane Axial Fans: These fans consists of vanes/pockets between the blades. This helps in directing the flow of air without creating swirl motion. These fans are ideal for variable flow cooling and ventilation applications.

  1. Centrifugal Fans: The centrifugal fans consists of blades aligned 90° to the axis of the rotor. The construction of these fans resembles the hamster wheel. These fans are suitable for generating high-volume air for cooling and ventilation applications. These fans use centrifuge action to increase the volume of air and deliver high pressure, high volume air output.

The output of centrifugal fans changes according to the design. The following are popular designs of centrifugal fans used in HVAC systems.

  • Forward Curved: The forward-curved design offers high-pressure air output. The tips of blades in these fans are forward-curved and therefore provide moderate air volume at high pressure.

  • Backward Curved: The backward fans feature straightened or slightly backward curved blades. These fans consume low power and generate less noise. These fans are used when a high volume of air is needed at comparatively low power. The most common application of these fans in HAVC systems is energy-recovery ventilation (ERV).

  • Airfoil: The airfoil type of centrifugal fans feature inclined blades that create an airfoil construction. The inclination of these blades is set according to Bernoulli’s Principle. These fans can generate high-speed air output without creating a swirl. These fans operate silently and are suitable for HVAC systems with active ventilation requirements.

Note: One or a few of the above-mentioned fans can be used in one ventilation system. However, the selection of a fan for a specific HVAC operation requires consideration of factors such as desired air volume, pressure, temperature, air circulation capacity, energy consumption, etc.

Now that all the types of fans used in HVAC systems are discussed along with their significance, you can choose the one that suits your application. However, the quality of fans should be one of the primary considerations so that performance and durability are ensured. That is why you should purchase industrial fans for HVAC systems from reliable suppliers like Sofasco. The company offers RoHS-compliant and UL-certified industrial fans, blowers, etc.

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Jack Funkhouser

Jack is the Vice President of Sofasco TM International, a leading industrial cooling fans manufacturer based in Winchester, Virginia, United States. With over 23 years of experience in the industrial sector, he is dedicated to driving SOFASCO towards new heights and making it a preferred choice for industrial cooling solutions. Get in touch with Jack Funkhouser and his team to know more about these industrial fans by visiting

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