For many households, ceiling fans are as common as a tall glass of sweet tea. A ceiling fan produces a cooling breeze that allows residents to feel comfortable in a room while reducing energy cost year-round. Newer fan models integrate lighting fixtures, remote control features and are available in a range of designs and finishes stylish enough to be the focal point in a room. Many residents often rely solely on style and cost when select a new fan. However, location, room dimensions and motor construction are just a few of the factors to consider when selecting a new fan. Here is a simple and effective guide to buying the best ceiling fans for your home.
Benefits of Buying a Ceiling Fan
Owning a ceiling fan is an economical and eco-friendly way to cool and heat a home. Homeowners about to purchase a fan can look forward to the following benefits:
Reduced Energy Use
Fans cool and heat a residence year-round at a fraction of the energy consumed by traditional air conditioning units. During the summer, the fan blades rotate in a counter-clockwise direction and produce a wind chill effect that makes a room feel up eight degrees cooler. Homeowners can raise the thermostat and save 40% on cooling cost. During the winter, the fan blades rotate in a clockwise direction and push warm air accumulated near the ceiling down to the floor. This allows residents to save up to 10% in heating. For information on how to change your new ceiling fan’s blade direction, see our guide on ceiling fan rotation. This allows residents to reduce the use of air conditioning and heating devises. An Energy Star ceiling fan is an ideal choice for energy-conscious residents as it uses 70 percent less energy than standard fans.
A ceiling fan creates a wind chill effect that makes a room feel up to eight degrees cooler without actually changing the temperature. This allows homeowners to raise the thermostat without sacrificing airflow and comfort. Residents are reminded to turn off the ceiling fan when leaving a room as fan cool people, not rooms.
One of the primary benefits of owning a ceiling fan is the savings on utility bills. During the summer months, a ceiling fan cost an average $0.10 per day to operate while a typical air conditioning unit can cost an average of $3.00 to $5.00 per day to operate. A fan also reduces the cost of heating fuel during the winter months. Some residents report an annual savings of $500. However, savings vary depending on location, home construction and cost of energy.
Ceiling Fan Terms
A set of tools that contain a plastic clip and weights used when balancing a ceiling fan.
The angle formed by the ceiling fan blades and the horizon, measured in degrees. Fan blades with a higher pitch circulate more air.
The diameter of ceiling fan’s blade(s) or the distance from one blade tip to another while the fan is in motion.
A decorative cover that conceals the mounting bracket.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
The measurement of a fan's airflow, also known as CFM. Ceiling fans with a higher CFM circulate more air.
UL-rating for damp, humid or covered outdoor areas. Fans with a damp rating have a moisture-resistant motor, finish and hardware.
A metal bar that extends from the mounting bracket to the ceiling fan. A included with most fans. Sloped or vaulted ceilings require longer downrods.
Products that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines by preventing greenhouse emissions.
Area were the switches are found, also known as the switch housing, located just below the motor housing.
A fan mounted directly onto the ceiling, also known as flush mount or low profile fan.
A metal box where the fan and the fan’s wires are attached, also known as the outlet box. Boxes should be labeled for ceiling fan use.
A light fixture that is attached to the bottom of the fan, may be included with the fan at the time of purchase or sold separately.
A decorative covering that protects the motor.
A support that connects the ceiling fan to the ceiling.
Another term for blade(s).
The angle of a sloped or vaulted ceiling.
Seals that are permanently lubricated.
Rating provided by the Underwriters Laboratories, a non-profit company that test electronic products for safety.
A light fixture that shines upward.
UL-rating for areas with direct exposure to the elements. Use a recessed and sealed outlet box when installing a wet-rated fan.
10 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Ceiling Fan
When purchasing a new ceiling fan, homeowners must consider the benefits and multiple factors before making a decision. Use the guidelines below to make the correct selection. In addition, review the common ceiling fan terms on the right for additional assistance.
First, identify the room or space where the ceiling fan will be installed. Then, determine whether the room is in one of the following environments:
Dry - An area protected from direct exposure to moisture, humidity or water, usually indoors. Look for bedroom ceiling fans or great room ceiling fans with a UL-rating of dry.
Damp - An area with a high amount of humidity, but no direct exposure to water, rain or snow, such as a bathroom or covered patio. These fans use non-corrosive materials that ensure performance and longevity. Look for bathroom ceiling fans with a UL-rating of damp.
Wet - An area with direct exposure to water, rain or snow, such an exposed porch or patio. These fans have all-weather blades, and sealed motors and wiring that guarantee functionality and durability. Look for outdoor ceiling fan with a UL-rating of wet.
Once the room and environment has been selected, determine the size of the area. To calculate the dimensions of the room, multiply the length of the space by the width of the space. The size of the ceiling fan is proportionate to the total square feet of the room where the fan will be installed. For guidance, see the table below.
The blade span indicates the distance from one blade tip to the opposing blade tip or the overall diameter of a fan's blades while in motion. Generally, the manufacturer provides the measurement on the packaging. However, you can figure the blade span using one of the following methods. If a fan has an even number of blades, measure distance between two opposing blades to obtain the span or diameter (see Figure 1 below). If a fan has an odd number of blades, measure the distance from the center of the fan to the tip of one of the blades (see Figure 2 below). Once you have obtained the measurement, also known as the radius, double the measurement to obtain the overall span.
For fans with an even number of blades, measure the diameter or distance between opposite blades to obtain the blade span.
For fans with an odd number of blades, measure the radius or distance from the center of the fan to a blade tip. Then, double the value to obtain the diameter.
Generally, a fan is suspended eight to nine feet above the floor. The fan blades are required to be at least seven feet above the floor and 28 inches away from any wall. If the room has a ceiling height less than eight feet, look for low profile ceiling fans. If the room has high ceiling, suspend the fan 10 – 14 feet above the floor using a ceiling fan downrod.
For additional guidance on how choose the right fan based on a room’s size and height, see the video by Kichler ceiling fans:
The motor is the heart of the ceiling fan. The fan motor, along with the blades, determines airflow movement as well as ensures a smooth, quiet operation. A silent motor is important when choosing a fan for a bedroom, but not as essential as when choosing a fan for a garage or outdoor area. Choose a ceiling fan with a motor made with die cast metal for stability and noise reduction, sealed bearings for durability and little to no maintenance, and various speed settings including reverse blade rotation. To learn more about motor grades, see our ceiling fans reviews.
The ceiling fan blades, along with the fan motor, determine the airflow circulated in a room. Ceiling fans with longer blades positioned at a higher pitch, or angle, circulate more air in a room. For optimal air circulation, position blade brackets at 12 -15 degree angles. Tropical ceiling fan blades provide a decorative touch, but do not circulate as much air as traditional blades.
Ceiling fans are available in numerous styles and designs to complement room’s individual décor. Some fans include crystals, stones and hand-blown glass accents. Modern ceiling fans are ideal in rooms with clean design lines and brushed nickel accents while rustic ceiling fans match a log cabin’s rugged style. Vintage fans are a popular style among our customers.
A ceiling fan’s motor and blade finish can tie together different elements of style in a room. However, a general rule of thumb is that the motor housing finish should match the metallic hardware such as door knobs, cabinet pulls, handles and/or table lamps; while the fan blade finish should match the furniture, flooring and/or doors. White ceiling fans and black ceiling fans are classic finishes that compliment many motifs while a brushed nickel ceiling fan provides a modern, sleek finish that matches any existing décor.
Lighting enhances the function and style of a ceiling fan. A ceiling fan with light is cost-effective way to cool and illuminate a space at once. Light kits are included with the fan at the time of purchase or sold separately. A fan with uplighting, which creates a soft glow by pointing illumination toward the ceiling, is one of our most liked fan and lighting combinations. A chandelier ceiling fan, which incorporates the beauty of a chandelier with the function of task lighting, is also a popular choice among our customers.
Ceiling fans are generally controlled by a pull chain attached to the housing; however, many models offer remote or wall controls that change speed settings and reverse blade rotation. Remote control ceiling fans are convenient for hard to reach areas such as a living room with a sloped or vaulted ceiling.
Cost is an important factor when making any household purchase. A good ceiling fan is functional, effective and within any budget.
We offer an extensive selection of ceiling fans from renowned manufacturers like Ellington fans and Monte Carlo fans. Purchase a fan that is right for your home’s needs and style. Then, see our step-by-step guide on mounting a ceiling fan.