Ceiling fans cool you in the summer and warm you in the winter, all for just pennies a day. They are extremely efficient: even at high speeds they use less energy than a 75-watt light bulb. Actually, fans save energy, with cooling costs alone lowered as much as 40 percent, according to a study by Florida Power and Light. In the summer, fans create a wind chill effect that makes a temperature of 78°– 80°F feel like 72°F. So by using them you can set your thermostat higher. On most fans, the summer setting is a counter-clockwise rotation, viewed from below. In the winter, fans run in reverse (clockwise), reclaiming lost heat from the ceiling. They provide an even, comfortable temperature by moving hot air back down to the living areas below. Even though ceiling fans have been around for more than a century, they are more popular today than ever. If you are planning a purchase, use these helpful tips to make a better buy.
The first quality of a ceiling fan to consider is the size, width in particular, as different sized spaces will require different levels of airflow. It’s good to keep in mind that although ceiling fans come in all sizes, not every fan is available in every size. For a space with:
- 50 square feet or less = about 29” width
- The “Spacesaver” by Minka-Aire is a great choice for a room on the smaller side. At the modest size of 26” wide, this tiny ceiling hugger has a high RPM (revolutions per minute) of 300, an integrated light kit that can be covered if desired, and three different finishes to match your home. The “Spacesaver” is currently on display in the Cleveland Lighting showroom if you want to see for yourself!
- 75 square feet = about 36” width
- 100 square feet = about 42” width
- This is one of the most standard sizes as far as ceiling fans go, which means you’ll have a lot more options. On clevelandlighting.com, browse Modern Fan Co.’s catalogue for sleek and contemporary fans, or Savoy House if you prefer ornament and tradition.
- 225 square feet = about 52” width
- This is another common size for ceiling fans. In addition to the afore-mentioned brands, Cleveland Lighting also carries great fans by Minka-Aire, Monte Carlo, and Fanimation.
- If your space is 400 square feet or more, you can go up so much as a 60” fan, or if your space allows for it, two smaller ceiling fans for even more airflow and efficiency.
When shopping for a ceiling fan, you may find it difficult to determine why one costs $50 and another $500. At first glance there may appear to be no difference. Only when you begin to examine them closely, armed with the information that follows, will you be able to recognize the qualities that will assure years and years of beauty and comfort. Inexpensive fans may look good when new, and they may even run well at first. After continued use, however, they will become noisy; or they will warp, wobble or quickly wear out. Selecting a proper ceiling fan should be done as carefully as picking a piece of fine furniture.
The reason poorly made fans wobble is because of cheap blade materials, rotors and/or improper sealing processes are used. Blade brackets should have exact degrees of pitch or angles, while blades should be matched in carefully weighed and balanced sets.
Those that do wear out have undergone poor manufacturing techniques or inadequate testing and inspection. Other problems that promote wear and tear are incorrectly matched motor size and blade pitch. Defective motor windings can cause electrical shorts. And poorly installed on/off pull chains can be pulled out of the housing.
When searching for a ceiling fan, please look for these features which are all found in one of our top fan manufacturers, Minka-Aire.
- A heavy duty motor for smooth, quiet performance
- A 16 pole motor with 2,000+ feet of copper windings for greater efficiency and smoother performance
- Multiple capacitors to control starting and running
- Die-cast aluminum rotors for cool running
- Stamped steel or die-cast zinc housing
- Heavy duty bearings that never need oiling because they are permanently lubricated
- 3-speed reversible switching for summer and winter
- 12°, 14° or 16° blade pitch which greatly increases air flow
- Factory-installed gaskets to reduce noise and vibration.
Hanging a fan: Much a like a lighting fixture, ceiling fans should be installed with the bottom of the fan hanging no lower than 7 feet, and generally no higher than 9 feet, for the most efficient airflow. If you have high ceilings and need a longer extension to hang the fan at this height, extra lengths of metal down rod can be ordered to fix that problem. They can be chosen to match the fan finish, come in various lengths, short and long, and can be cut during installation to achieve the desired length. If the ceiling is vaulted, a slope adapter may also be necessary for install. Whether a slope adapter is needed or not depends on the pitch of the ceiling itself, so it’s important to have that information when placing an order.
If you have standard height or lower ceilings and are in need of a ceiling fan, a hugger can be selected to cut down on the height. A hugger fan will sit flush with the ceiling instead of hanging from a down rod; this will not only fit your sizing needs, but will also provide a sturdiness that will minimize “wobbling” when the ceiling fan is active.
Outdoor fans: If you are in need a ceiling fan for a porch or other outdoor usage, it’s crucial to make sure that it’s wet-rated. As long as the fan has this rating, it will be alright to use for this application. Many outdoor ceiling fans have wet-rated counterparts that look exactly the same as their indoor brethren, but many like to play into the outdoor aesthetic by selecting a tropical ceiling fan with large palm leaves as blades. Midwest manufacturer Fanimation has plenty of these to browse through, including the unique “Punkah” fan, which is a linear shape and fans your color choice of palm leaves back and forth as opposed to a revolution.
Visit the Cleveland Lighting showroom to view our great display of ceiling fans from all different vendors, or to ask one of our dedicated Lighting Specialists any other questions you may have when choosing a fan for your home.