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Go ahead and use a variac (variable transformer) to slow down a box fan to a reasonable speed. Just make sure it's moving enough air to cool its own motor. jwh20 isn't wrong, but his explanation doesn't apply to your use case. He's right about not using voltage as a speed control for a motor with a fixed load. Since you don't need a certain amount of power ...


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Most portable fans use a type of motor called a "shaded pole AC induction motor". Here is a description of them from Wikipedia: Shaded Pole Motor You should not, however, try to control the speed using a "variac" device because the motor will attempt to continue to try to draw the same amount of POWER (Power = Voltage * Amperage) and you will get heating ...


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There should be ducting the entire way. As it is moisture is able to collect on your insulation, lumber, etc. This can result in mold and rot. That said, I doubt that your exhaust venting will be improved by installing full ducting. If airflow is poor it's likely due to a crudded up fan or weak fan motor. Check the fan for collected lint. Clean it ...


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For the most part there are only a few manufacturers of those fan motors, regardless of what brand the fan is. Most of them are interchangeable, but the critical dimension that you often must deal with is the length of the shaft that the fan itself is attached to (and how it attaches). You will need to remove it to determine what you need. What I have found ...


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