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It is important to use a window fan properly for the greatest comfort and efficiency. The purpose of a window fan is two-fold. First it will circulate the air in the room were you are. This creates a windchill effect to make you feel cooler from the breeze. Second it will draw cooler outdoor air into your house to cool down the entire house.
During the heat of the day, you generally should not use a window fan. The air that it blows indoors is too hot. You are better off just using a ceiling paddle fan to create the breeze indoors. In the morning or early morning is the best time to have your window fan blowing indoors.
During the night is the best time to have the fan blowing outdoors. This draws cooler nighttime air indoor throughout your entire house. In the early morning, reverse the fan direction and start the cycle over again