STEP 2: Choose a fan
Our research led to the Vortex Powerfan line of high performance inline duct blowers built by Atmosphere Inc. just north of Montreal, Canada.
Vortex fans are high performance industrial centrifugal fans that are meant to be installed inline. They install directly to ducts that range in size from 4-12" in diameter. Airflow ratings start at 177CFM for the smallest 4" model up to 1140CFM for the largest 12" model.
Vortex Powerfan features include:
- True sizes in inches, eliminating duct adapters.
- Aerodynamic design allowing for more air flow.
- Heavy gage steel casing with a Hammertone powder coat finish, making it more sound absorbing, durable, impact resistant and rustproof.
- High quality maintenance-free balanced motor, making it vibration free, quieter and longer lasting.
- Extended collar and lip, allowing easy duct hook-up.
- Optional speed control easing air flow adjustment, allowing better balancing of the ventilation system.
- 115V, 6 foot power cord, ready to plug in.
These fans are incredibly silent when in use (you'll hear the turbulence of the air flowing through the hood, not the fan itself) due to the balanced motorized impellers with permanently lubricated ball bearings. They also maintain excellent static pressure, as the resistance increases the airflow remains considerably higher than what most other brands/models are able to produce. Vortex fans are sold with a (surprisingly long) 10-year warranty.
A heads up on Vortex fans: While doing research we found that Vortex fans seem to be the"go to" fan used by marijuana growers around the world who run them 24/7 (a good sign that they're quality fans). So don't be surprised if a seller advertises that they "ship in discreet packaging". While we found this a bit odd (who cares - it's only a fan), TheElectricBrewery.com assumes no responsibility if your name gets added to some FBI watch list. ;)
For our application we choose the Vortex VTX600 Powerfan (6" duct size). It is capable of producing up to 452 CFM of airflow which is more than adequate for our brewery. A bigger fan can always be slowed down as required (more on this later).
VTX600 weight and dimensions:
VTX600 specifications (flow rate does not drop off drastically as static pressure increases like most fans):
We confirmed with the manufacturer that the Vortex line of fans is appropriate for use in range hood applications where steam and heat are evacuated.
We do find, however, that some condensation forms on the inside of the unit when in use. If left to accumulate, this condensation may make its way in to the black electrical box attached to the side.
At the suggestion of the manufacturer, we leave the center screw off the bottom of the fan to allow any condensation to drip out.
We also removed the electrical box cover and sealed the wire entry point with all purpose kitchen/bath silicone sealant just to be safe. This will ensure that moisture is not able to pass from the fan chamber to the electrical box.
Bottom center screw removed to create a drip hole:
Sealing the electrical box from the main fan chamber: