how to install shutter mounted exhaust fan

Suppose you want to know How To Install Shutter Mounted Exhaust Fan, then this article is what you need. It contains how to install exhaust fan in wall and install exhaust fan in metal building. Also, it includes how to install exhaust fan in window.

There may not be a more economical way to cool down a large shop than to install a commercial exhaust fan. Let’s face it, options are limited once you exceed 2400 square feet. You could install an AC unit, but that involves a huge up-front expense in both hardware and insulation. It also involves the ongoing costs to run and maintain the system. Large “ceiling fan” solutions also exist from the likes of Big Ass Fans (which we have yet to review). Sometimes, however, just getting the hot air out of the shop makes a huge difference. That involves mounting an exhaust fan high up in the eave to pull that air out of the building while drawing in cooler air from below. We’ll go over how to install a commercial wall exhaust fan to help you lower the overall temperature of your workshop or larger garage.

Companies like Canarm and others make standard exhaust fans to work efficiently and with a minimal amount of installation. Pricing also adds to the attraction of these products. Most wall-mounted exhaust fans come as single-speed, single phase 120V, but you can also purchase them in two-phase as well as variable speed.

how to install exhaust fan in window

How To Install Shutter Mounted Exhaust Fan

How to Install a Commercial Wall Exhaust Fan

The Big Picture

We’ll outline the details below, but you really just need to follow these basic steps:

  • Choose a fan with the proper power and airflow needs and ensure your wall space and the electrical box can accommodate it
  • Measure and cut to the inside fan dimensions through the wall using a reciprocating saw (watch out for any electrical, plumbing, and insulation barriers)
  • Frame the top header and bottom saddle and add any required side studs for securing the fan.
  • Attach the fan to the framing and connect power


Choosing Your Commercial Wall Exhaust Fan – AirFlow

To make sure you get the right fan for your needs you first want to understand how much fan is required to cycle the air in the space. To do this, take the number of cubic feet in the room divided by the number of minutes you want per air change. That’s the required CFM (cubic feet per minute) of capacity the fan must have:

  • Room size (cu. ft.) / air change (minutes) = CFM   —or—
  • Room size (cu. ft.) / CFM = air change (minutes)

Our shop is 2,400 square feet with an average ceiling height of 14 feet. That yields about 33,600 cubic feet. If we want an air change every 10 minutes that would require a fan with a CFM rating of around 3,360 CFM (assuming 1/8″ SP (static pressure).

Now, we’re a bit crazy around here, and we had the room for a larger fan, so we opted for a Canarm 36″ standard exhaust fan (model SD36-G1D). That model can move 8000 CFM at 0.125″ static pressure. Do the math, and this fan will cycle the room every 4.2 minutes:

  • 33,600 cu. ft. / 8,000 CFM = 4.2 minutes

Canarm Wall-mounted Exhaust Fans Features

  • Available in 8” to 48” sizes (150 – 15,300 CFM)
  • Single, two and variable speed models are available.
  • All fans use a totally enclosed, thermally protected motor.
  • The rugged steel welded box housing has a durable powder coated finish.
  • Aluminum louver shutters are supported by long life nylon bushings (30”, 36”, 42” & 48” have PVC louvers).
  • 8” – 24” models have heavy wire chrome-plated OSHA guards on the intake side of the fan (30”, 36”, 42” & 48” models have grey
    powder coated guards.)
  • All fans are shipped completely assembled.

Preparing the Wall

Because our loft had no insulation, we had an easier time prepping the area. We opted to cut out the hole from the inside. As it turns out, the last folks bottom-nailed the exterior vinyl siding. This makes it quite difficult to remove and cut. Before cutting, we drilled four 1-inch holes using Bosch Daredevil spade bits. Using a thin metal blade with fine teeth, we then grabbed our Milwaukee M18 Super Sawzall and “connected the dots”.SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS

Once we had our square hole to the proper size, we cut out a top flat header and bottom saddle from some 2×6 pine lumber. That gave us the clearance we needed for the fan body. We wanted it securely fastened to the frame of our shop without protruding on the outside. A Makita 18V brushless circular saw made short work of these boards.

installing an exterior wall fan

We then cut back the middle studs. This allowed our newly-made flat header and saddle 2×6’s to nestle perfectly in place. Once leveled and fastened with nails, this gave us a perfectly secure attachment point.

leveling the base plate

Next, we reinstalled the J-channel from the inside and slid the siding back into place. Once that was done, we secured the fan to the stud frame using screws and washers.

Canarm Exhaust Fan with louver shutters

Moving outside, we caulked the J-channel to the frame of the commercial wall exhaust fan using DAP DynaFlex Ultra window and door sealant. Given the height of our shop, it was a good thing we had a Little Giant Hyperlite ladder on-hand that could comfortably get us to the peak.

caulking the exterior exhaust fan frame

Wiring It Up

Our fan only required about 6.6 amps of 120V power. After everything was installed, we ran a line to the fan location and passed it through a 2-hour timer switch. This lets us turn the fan on without fear of leaving it running overnight when we close up the shop. It also keeps anyone from operating the fan too long should the oversized 14×18 shop door get closed, cutting off the primary source of air.

install exhaust fan in metal building

I’ve had garage ventilation on my mind for some time now.  Between Eileen and I always doing projects in the garage, we produce a lot of fumes from painting and staining.

Cutting wood in there also throws a lot of sawdust into the air.  Even when I work on the mower and other small engines in there, the smell of gasoline lingers.

On nice days when it’s not raining, we leave the garage door open and sometimes even put a fan to help exhaust the air.

However, this was not the ideal solution.

Easy to follow instructions for installing an exhaust fan

Many painting and staining projects would sit in the garage overnight filling the air with fumes, just to be aired out when the sun came up and when we can open the garage doors.

Aside from the noxious odors sitting in the garage the next morning, it would also delay the completion of these projects.

A better solution had to be devised for garage ventilation.  ​

To add to the pressure, I recently acquired a snow blower for the upcoming winter snow storms, and that was bound to leave the garage filled with gasoline odors after usage. Even more reason to look into garage ventilation systems.


So I put my thinking cap on and wandered around the garage looking for ventilation ideas.

I knew I wanted to set up some type of fan that would exhaust the air, so I was looking for areas in the garage that would be an ideal location.

In my previous home, I used to run a lot of computer equipment in the garage that would produce a lot of heat. I had researched garage venting options back then and settled on a small fan and vent that could be installed directly in the garage door (via a small hole that you cut).

This solved my problem of exhausting the heat, but had an unfortunate side effect. During the winter, the garage door vent would let all the cold air in and drop the garage temperature below the freezing point, wreaking havoc on my paints and other liquids that were not meant to be frozen.

The garage door vents and exhaust option left a bad taste in my mouth ever since, and I was determined not to pursue that direction again. Also, to properly exhaust the size of my current garage, I would need a much larger fan and hole to make the job worthwhile.


I finally settled on a way of venting the garage. I would find an ideal venting location in the garage, and cut a large square hole in the wall (roughly 14”x14” in between the wall studs).

Then I would install self-closing shutter vents on both the interior and exterior of the wall. Finally, on the inside, I would install a powerful exhaust fan to ventilate the garage.  The double shutter vents were going to be key in helping to keep the cold air outside during the winter.

I did a lot of research on exhaust fans and decided on one with built-in shutters. I purchased a 14” diameter fan capable of 800 CFM.

No wiring was needed with this particular model because it just plugs into an outlet. I already had a wireless switch ready for it too, so I could activate it from the other side of the garage. For the exterior wall, I went a 14” aluminum shutter vent.

With the hardware identified, I looked for an ideal location for the vent.  The best location would have been above one of the garage doors, but for aesthetics, I didn’t want the vent to be visible from the street.

So I went with a wall that faced the rear of the house. It would be practically invisible but still serve its purpose.

Here’s the location I chose inside for the garage exhaust fan:

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Determining a Location for Installing an Exhaust Fan - Tutorial
How to Install an Exhaust Garage Fan

Choosing a Location for Installing an Exhaust Fan in the Garage - TutorialHere’s where the vent would exhaust outside:


Above, you’ll see the first layer I went through was the drywall. Then I had 2 layers of insulating foam.

Next was the white vinyl siding. I left this intact for now while I awaited shipment of the exterior vent.   DIY Before and Afters that Will Amaze YouPauseUnmuteLoaded: 51.59%Remaining Time -0:29

The cutout got a little rough at some of the edges, but it was not a big deal. The fan would cover all the edges, and hide any irregularities in my cut.

Next, I had to seal the top and bottom edges of the hole.

This was a necessary step to prevent the fan from venting air into the wall. I simply cut two pieces of 2x4s, inserted them in the top and bottom, and attached to the wall studs using some pocket hole screws (with the help of my Kreg Pocket Hole jig).

I put temporary hooks into the 2x4s to make it easier to maneuver them.

​Here’s one of the 2x4s ready to be inserted:

Cutting and Sealing the Hole to Install the Exhaust Fan

Here’s a picture of the bottom of the hole, sealed in with the 2×4:

Cutting and Sealing the Hole to Install Exhaust Fan

Next I inserted the exhaust fan to make sure it fit properly:

How to Install an Exhaust Fan

A few days later, the exterior shutter vent arrived and I resumed work on the project.

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Cutting a hole through the wall meant that I had to be careful to make the exterior side water proof. I couldn’t just cut a hole in the siding, insert the vent, and call it a day.

To keep water from penetrating the siding, I needed to use J channel. This would allow me to create a frame around the vent that would overlap the siding and shield the rough cut edges from water.

Here is a picture showing 4 pieces of J channel cut to make the vent frame:

Constructing a J Frame to Install an Exhaust Fan

This was actually my first time working with J channel, so I had to do some research online to see how to make the cuts on the ends (important to prevent water from seeping in).

I followed some great instructions on (under the section “Install J-channel around the window”).

Here’s a picture showing the assembled J channel pieces wrapping around the vent:

Assembling a J Frame to Install an Exhaust Fan for the Garage


Now came the fun task of working with the siding.

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To properly install the exterior vent, I needed access to the wall underneath the siding, which meant removing several pieces of siding. This was a learning process as I went along (I did all my research, so I was confident in the task at hand).

With the help of a siding removal tool, I was able to easily detach some siding, and pull it away from the wall.

With enough of the siding out of the way, I was able to continue work on the hole.

To help with the waterproofing, I used some flashing tape (left over from my shed project) to seal in the edges of the hole.

Here’s a picture showing the flashing tape in action:

Preparing the Siding for Installing a Garage Exhaust Fan
In the event that water did make its way through the siding, the flashing tape would ensure that the water couldn’t seep behind the exposed edges of the foam insulation.


Next, I inserted the shutter vent and nailed it in the wall studs. Here’s a picture showing some progress:

How to Install a Garage Exhaust Fan Vent

With the garage vent in place, I attached the J channel frame, overlapping the rough cut edges of the vinyl siding.

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​Here’s a close-up showing the finished outside wall with J channel:

DIY Instructions for Installing a Garage Exhaust Fan

Looks very professional, doesn’t it?  It should be very water tight too.

Here’s a picture showing the vent from the inside:

DIY Instructions for Installing a Garage Exhaust Fan


I was nearing the end of the project of putting vents in the garage. I inserted the exhaust fan in the hole and was getting ready to screw it into the studs.

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image 403

Then, I decided to check the vents on the fan to make sure they opened and closed properly.

They opened fine. Unfortunately, they had trouble closing.

They would stick on the way down and not close all the way. This was bothersome because a partially open vent meant cold drafts coming in.

After some fiddling, I discovered that the hole I cut was too snug of a fit for the fan frame.

It was distorting the frame ever so slightly to cause the shutters to not close properly. If I pulled the fan about 2 inches out from the wall, the shutters worked fine.

So the solution was simple.


I would built a 2×4 wooden frame between the wall and the fan, to give the exhaust fan enough distance from the hole for the shutters to operate properly.

I literally spent only 10 minutes on this task – I chopped some 2x4s to length with the miter saw.

Then I attached them to each other with pocket hole screws to form a frame.

​Finally, I used some lag bolts (countersunk with a forstner bit) to attach the frame to the wall studs.

Here’s a picture of the garage wall exhaust fan frame (the pocket holes are hidden on the other side):

How to Install a Garage Exhaust Fan - Spacer

At last, the exhaust fan could be bolted to the wall.

I pressed the fan against the 2×4 frame and made sure the shutters opened and closed freely. Then I attached the fan to the 2x4s with some heavy duty screws.

My garage vent was now completed.  I stood back, admired my handiwork and then fired up the exhaust fan with my wireless switch.

​As the fan speed increased to full, both the inside and outside shutters opened to exhaust the garage.  The fan was not that loud either (it was barely audible outside the garage).

Here’s a picture of the mounted garage wall exhaust fan (powered on) from the inside:

How to Install an Exhaust Fan with a Framed Wooden Spacer

​Here’s a picture of the outside of the garage wall exhaust fan, showing the vents open with the fan on:

How to Install a Garage Exhaust Fan - Simple DIY Instructions

I’m very excited about our new garage exhaust fan.  I already used it this past weekend with great success.

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image 403

We had a mild snow shower (about 4 inches), and so I broke out the snowblower to try it out.

As predicted, when I finished clearing out the snow from the driveway, and put away the snowblower in the garage, the still warm engine started to stink up the garage.

I engaged the new exhaust fan for a few hours, and the garage was back to normal.

​I can’t wait to see what the fan does when the garage is full of sawdust in the air.

Total cost of putting the vent fan in the garage was around $150 and was collectively about a day’s worth of work.If you are in need of exhaust fans in the garage, this tutorial will have your new garage wall exhaust fan up and running in no time!

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I was really pleased with the garage vent fan. It runs great and really airs the garage out nicely.

However, I did add on more thing to our garage vent fan.

I had been manually turning the fan on and off as needed. Sometimes I left it running longer than I anticipated.

So I wanted a better system of turning the fan off.  I ended up purchasing an electronic timer switch and plugged the fan into it.

Now, I just press a button for how long I’d like the fan to run for and it runs for just that duration. 

Learn how to properly ventilate your garage by installing a simple exhaust vent fan.


While an AC unit will cool down a shop and make it pleasant to work in, consider the expense. A wall-mounted exhaust fan cuts costs while providing much-needed airflow. A properly-sized system quickly moves hot air out of your shop while drawing in cool air from below. Installation may seem daunting, but the right tools and some attention to detail will put you on the right track.

Other considerations for alleviating heat in a large unconditioned space include:

  • Installing radiant barriers to control heat buildup inside the space
  • Adding insulation (this can also include elements of a radiant barrier system)
  • Consider a limited AC solution with direct airflow to where you work
  • For drier climates, a “swamp cooler” system may be of some benefit to your workspace depending upon your type of work and materials used.

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