Last updated: April 5, 2023
Fans play a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable environment in horse barns. Years ago, I tied box fans to stall windows using hay string to improve air circulation for our horses. Nowadays, there’s no need to devise makeshift solutions; because there are exceptional fans you can safely install in your barns.
My favorite horse barn fans are the iLiving wall mount fans for stalls and Air Kings Industrial-grade pivoting floor fans for aisles. These models have enclosed motors, which are essential for barn fans to protect against dust; they also provide outstanding airflow and are easy to use.
Choosing the perfect fan for your horse barn requires thorough evaluation. In this article, we delve into the vital features that define top-notch fans specifically designed for horse barn environments.
The best fans for your horse barn.
You’ve got a lot of fans to choose from. Some are designed for a more specific use, but all need certain features before they’re worth your time and money. Fortunately, for those who need something small or large, there are plenty of models with different features available, so choosing one should be easy!
The iLiving wall mount is my top choice, even though the Global Industrial fan is likely the group’s highest quality and has higher CFMs. Both fans have enclosed motors and deliver sufficient CFM, but the iLiving is almost $100.00 cheaper.
The right barn fan can keep your horses cool and free from flying pests in the summer. But picking a model isn’t just about cooling and airflow; there are design factors you need to consider before buying one.
Choosing the right fan.
Selecting the right fan for your horse barn is crucial in providing an optimal environment for your horses. With various options available on the market, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, type, and installation requirements. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect fan for your horse barn:
- Fan Type: There are several types of fans available for horse barns, including box fans, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, and circulating fans. Each type serves a specific purpose and may be better suited for certain barn designs and situations. Evaluate your barn’s needs and ventilation requirements to determine which type of fan is best suited for your situation.
Box fans are portable and can be easily mounted on stall doors or walls, providing targeted airflow to specific areas. Ceiling fans are great for providing general air circulation in large spaces, while exhaust fans remove stale air and contaminants from the barn. Circulating fans, also known as air circulators, can help distribute fresh air evenly throughout the barn.
- Size and Power: The size and power of the fan should correspond to the size of the area you need to ventilate. Larger and more powerful fans may be needed for bigger barns, while smaller fans can suffice for individual stalls or smaller spaces. Consider the fan’s cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating, which measures the volume of air it can move per minute. A higher CFM indicates a more powerful fan.
- Durability and Construction: Horse barns can be dusty, damp, and corrosive environments. Choose a fan with a durable construction, such as those made from heavy-duty materials and with sealed motors, to ensure it can withstand harsh conditions and last for a long time.
- Safety Features: Prioritize safety when selecting a fan for your horse barn. Look for features such as enclosed motors, which can prevent dust and debris from entering the motor and causing potential fire hazards. Additionally, choose fans with built-in thermal overload protection, which automatically shuts off the motor if it becomes overheated.
- Noise Level: Horses are sensitive to loud noises, so it’s important to choose a fan with a low noise output. Check the fan’s decibel rating, if available, to ensure it won’t create excessive noise that may disturb or stress your horses.
- Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient fans can help reduce your electricity consumption and lower your utility bills. Look for fans with energy-efficient motors and features such as variable speed controls, which allow you to adjust the fan speed according to your needs.
By carefully considering factors such as fan type, size, durability, safety features, noise level, and energy efficiency, you can choose the right fan for your horse barn. A well-selected fan will help create a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment for your horses and those who care for them.
I list enclosed motors first because it is one of the most critical features that a barn fan should have – horse stalls are well-known for being dusty and dirty places, so if you want your investment in this equipment to last without breaking down, then make sure the motor is protected!
When fans suck dirt and debris into their motors, they can ruin the fan or set themselves on fire. An enclosed motor lasts longer because it’s protected against weather, dirt, and moisture.
We have a shedrow barn with fans attached to the front of the stalls. Because these types of barns are open, the fans are exposed to moisture, making an enclosed motor essential.
Fans with enclosed motors typically last much longer and are more expensive. However, they will save you money in the long term because they are more efficient and last longer.
Enclosed motors are also much safer. Hay and other flammable material can enter exposed fan motors, posing a significant fire hazard to horse barns. If the motor is rated for outdoor use or uses the term “sealed,” it should be suitable for your needs!
To learn more about the safety and installation of barn fans, watch the youtube video below. The person who made the video does a great job of stressing the importance of fan safety.
The airflow rating for a stall fan should be 2,000 cubic feet per minute (CF?M). This airspeed provides adequate airflow while not creating a dust storm. I also like to use a fan with a variable speed setting when I need less airflow.
As with most products, manufacturers make commercial and residential-grade models of the same product. From my experience, it’s not always worth the extra costs to pay for the heavier exterior of a fan with the same internal components.
However, that’s not always the case; you have to research each fan to find the differences between the manufacturers’ commercial model and their residential models.
Types of barn fans
There are many types of fans people use in their barns, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, and circulation fans. We are going to focus on circulation fans, precisely two types, wall-mounted and aisle fans.
Powerful barn fans can be strategically mounted to ensure airflow in your barn, keep harmful insects off your animal and provide a cool breeze all day long.
In the photo above, you can see that by adding a board to mount our fan, we were able to put it in the perfect place, over the stall gate. This helps keep our horse cool, covers a large stall, and prevents flies from bothering her.
The best wall-mounted model I found on Amazon is the 30 inches Global Industrial outdoor fan. It is an oscillating fan with 8,400 CFM. It is more expensive than other similar models made without an enclosed motor, but I think having an enclosed motor is worth the extra money.
However, as I stated above, the best value is the iLIVING Fan which also is wall-mounting and has an enclosed motor.
Wall-mounted fans are ideal for stalls and are preferred by most horse owners to circulate air and keep their animals cool. They’re a must-have in the summer months when temperatures are high.
It’s not only critical to choose the right type of fan, but it’s also essential to install the fan in a spot that provides good airflow and is safe.
Where you place your wall-mounted fan depends on the design of your barn. But there are basics you need to consider. First, the fan should be high enough to circulate the air without blowing shaving and dust around the stall.
Next, it should be out of reach of your animal, and no cords exposed that it could hit. If you place the fan outside of the stall and blow across your animal, it shouldn’t be so low that it lifts things off the ground.
A fan often gets the best air when mounted near a window; however, it’s not uncommon that fans close to the barn center can also be a good spot for mounting.
You need to experiment and place the fan in different locations to find the optimal spot for your horse. Note: you want to move fresh air across your horse without disturbing too much trash.
I use a big industrial fan to bring in fresh air for our horse barn and sometimes draw out stale air. We place the fans at the end of the aisle and blow in the outside air. These mobile fans are essential for removing moisture and circulating air.
They come with wheels to easily roll them out of the way when you are not using them. On scorching days they are invaluable. Here is a link to the MaxxAir fan on Amazon, a commercial-grade 30″ model that delivers 5,500 CFM.
Why fans are essential in horse barns.
Horse barns are designed to provide shelter and protection for horses, but maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment inside is crucial. One key factor in creating this ideal environment is proper ventilation, which is where fans play a significant role. Here’s why fans are essential in horse barns:
In conclusion, fans are essential in horse barns to maintain a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment for horses and their caretakers. By regulating temperature, improving air quality, controlling humidity, reducing odors, and limiting insect presence, fans contribute to the well-being of horses and humans alike.
Horse barns house many harmful airborne elements, such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Fans introduce fresh air from outside and move contaminated inside air outside.
Barn fans help prevent respiratory illnesses.
Horse barns can accumulate dust, ammonia, and other harmful particles due to bedding materials, manure, and hay. Fans help to circulate the air, reducing the concentration of these contaminants and promoting better air quality. This is crucial for maintaining the respiratory health of both horses and humans working in the barn.
Respiratory diseases, such as heaves, are not only harmful to your horse; treating the disease can be costly for owners. Heaves are a common respiratory illness horses contract by inhaling airborne irritants like dust and molds, similar to asthma in humans.
Barn fans keep insects off your horse.
Flies and other insects can be a nuisance and a health hazard for horses. Efficient air circulation from fans can make it more difficult for insects to fly, reducing their presence in the barn and limiting the spread of diseases they may carry. In addition, barn fans cool your horse, so they sweat less and are less attractive to horseflies.
Besides fans, it’s also critical you keep your horse stall clean. You want to take all the steps you can to reduce your horse’s exposure to insects because they transmit disease and cause intestinal worms. If you don’t have a fan available, then fly masks and boots are helpful to protect your animal.
Excessive humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can be harmful to horses’ respiratory systems and compromise the integrity of the barn structure. By improving air circulation, fans can help control humidity levels, reducing the risk of mold and mildew development.
Odor and humidity reduction
Circulating fresh air reduces moisture in barns, which is critical to prevent bacteria growth and ammonia buildup. Humidity buildup also increases the stench of urine and is overall unsanitary.
Proper ventilation helps dissipate unpleasant odors from manure and urine, creating a more pleasant environment for both horses and their caretakers.
Comfort for Horses and Humans.
Fans create a more comfortable environment for horses, which can result in reduced stress and improved overall well-being. A well-ventilated barn is also a more pleasant workspace for humans, promoting better working conditions and overall health.
Horses, like humans, can suffer from heat stress and heat-related illnesses. Fans help regulate the temperature inside the barn, ensuring that horses remain comfortable and cool, especially during hot summer months. Proper air circulation aids in the prevention of heatstroke and other heat-related issues.
Most of us cool our horses down before returning them to their stall; however, they benefit from air flowing across their body, reducing their body temperature, especially on hot days. Overheated horses are prone to dehydration, so keep your animal cool and well-hydrated. And as mentioned earlier, cool horses with less sweat attract fewer insects.
Check out our YouTube video below to get some ideas for your barn.
Fan Features to Consider for Your Horse Barn
When selecting a fan for your horse barn, it’s essential to consider the specific features that will cater to your unique needs and provide the most comfortable environment for your horses. Here are some key fan features to look for:
- Adjustable Speeds: Fans with adjustable speed settings allow you to control the airflow according to your needs and the current conditions inside the barn. Multiple speed options provide greater flexibility in managing air circulation, temperature, and humidity levels.
- Oscillation and Airflow Direction: Fans with oscillation features can help distribute air more evenly throughout the barn, improving overall air circulation. Some fans also offer adjustable airflow direction, allowing you to direct the air toward specific areas or stalls as needed.
- Remote Control: Remote-controlled fans provide added convenience, allowing you to adjust the settings without having to manually access the fan. This can be particularly helpful for fans mounted in hard-to-reach locations, such as high ceilings or rafters.
- Timer Function: A built-in timer function allows you to program the fan to operate during specific hours or intervals, providing optimal air circulation when needed and conserving energy when the barn is unoccupied.
- Dust and Moisture Resistance: Horse barns can be dusty and humid environments. Look for fans with dust and moisture-resistant features, such as sealed motors and protective coatings, to ensure they can withstand these conditions and provide reliable performance.
- Quiet Operation: As mentioned earlier, horses are sensitive to loud noises, so selecting a fan with a quiet operation is crucial. Fans with noise-reducing features, such as specially designed blades or insulated motors, can help minimize noise levels without compromising air circulation.
- Safety Features: Safety is paramount in horse barns, so choose fans with safety features such as enclosed motors, thermal overload protection, and sturdy mounting hardware. Enclosed motors prevent dust and debris from entering the motor, reducing fire hazards, while thermal overload protection prevents overheating.
- Easy Maintenance: Fans that are easy to clean and maintain will help ensure their longevity and continued performance. Look for fans with removable grills or accessible designs that allow for easy cleaning and maintenance.
- Energy Efficiency: Energy-efficient fans can help reduce your energy consumption and utility costs. Look for fans with energy-saving features, such as energy-efficient motors or variable speed controls.
Can horse stalls have concrete floors?
Yes, you can have concrete floors in horse stalls, but they need to be covered with pliable material. I wrote an article on this topic you may find helpful: Can Horse Stalls Have Concrete Floors? Why Or Why Not
How big should a horse stall be?
Standard horse stalls are 12 x 12; however, for larger horses, you may need more room. To learn more about the sizes of horse stalls, check out this article: How Big Does a Horse Stall Need to Be, and Why? 3 Examples
What’s the best bedding for horse stalls?
Wood shavings are my choice for stall bedding. There are various materials people use for stall bedding, including straw, wood pellets, sand, or even paper. To read a comparison of the different materials used for bedding, read this article: What’s the Best Stall Bedding for Your Horse Barn? 4 Options.
What’s the best flooring for a barn?
The best flooring for a horse barn is different in different areas of the barn. I like concrete in tack rooms, clay stall floors, and asphalt for the aisleways. Here is an article that explains the advantages of having the correct floor in your barn: What’s the Best Horse Barn Flooring: Stalls, Aisles, Tack Room
Meet Miles Henry
An avid equestrian and seasoned racehorse owner, Miles Henry brings his extensive experience to the equine world, proudly associating with the AQHA, The Jockey Club, and various other equine organizations. Beyond the racetrack, Miles is an accomplished author, having published various books about horses, and is a recognized authority in the field, with his work cited in multiple publications.
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