How Do Heat Powered Fans Work?

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Updated July 21, 2022

When most people think of the best fans, they often picture something that cools them down on a hot summer day. However, there are also fans uniquely designed to help keep a room warm. Below, we’ll explore just how do heat-powered fans work. So, if your house has a wood stove, keep reading.


  • Heat-powered fans are small, metal devices that sit either on top or in front of a wood-burning stove, though there are also freestanding models.
  • They are powered by the stove’s heat to blow warm air across the room.
  • You’ll find heat-powered fans in various sizes and blade configurations. The more blades a fan has, the more air it distributes.

For those looking for a fan that blows both hot and cool air, check out our review of the Dyson Pure HotCool link HP02.

How Does a Heat Powered Wood Stove Fan Work?

The stove fan is a curious little gadget. It’s made entirely of metal and requires no power source other than the stove upon which it sits. Once the stove fan is placed on top of a wood burner, it becomes warm.

Insider Tip

Always make sure that there is plenty of space behind your stove fan, so it can draw cold air from behind to help power the fan blades.

As the fan heats, the kinetic energy produced then powers the small motor, which rotates the fan blades. From there, it continues to blow hot air. And ultimately, this heat transfer creates a more uniform temperature throughout a room.

Tips for Using a Heat-Powered Fan

Stove fans are simple and effective, but users must remember a few tips to optimize their use.

A stove fan requires around 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celsius) to function. And to be clear, a stove fan doesn’t emit any heat on its own to make a temperature difference. Still, when put on a stove, it is an excellent device for heat distribution.

Make sure the fan is on a level surface and that nothing obstructs the blades to keep it from tipping over and prevent damage. Also, until you get used to using a stove fan, keep it on the lowest setting. You can always increase it later.

Clean the blades regularly to keep them in top working order by wiping them down with a damp cloth. Doing this simple task will help the fan maintain its efficiency and airflow.

A Warning on Using Traditional Fans

Some people use regular fans near a stove to distribute heat through the room. However, this leads to problems. Traditional fans are often plastic and can’t take the extreme temperatures produced by a wood-burning stove; only a stove fan is built for this purpose.


It is possible to overheat a stove fan and cause it to melt. To avoid this, use a thermometer to ensure that the stove surface doesn’t exceed the maximum temperature your model can withstand.

However, if you are looking for a tower fan, you can check out our Pelonis FZ10 19MB review. And once you’ve purchased it, we have a helpful article covering how to clean a tower fan. And for more articles on exciting fan gadgets, you can read our comparison article about air multipliers, which debates the merits of the Dyson AM04 vs the AM09.

STAT: Heat-powered fans can reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% during the wintertime. (source)

How Do Heat Powered Fans Work FAQs

Are heat-powered fans loud?

Not at all. These fans have a small motor powered by heat energy, which means they hardly make a sound. Although, keep in mind that the more blades it has, the louder it will be.

Is it necessary to get a stove fan?

It largely depends on the room's size and your stove's efficiency. People with older furnaces prefer using a stove fan because they are less efficient at transferring heat.

Is it easy to install a heat-powered fan?

Many can be taken right out of the box and used immediately without any further work. However, others require more setup and installation.
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