What’s better than sitting on your porch swing and enjoying a warm summer evening with a cold glass of iced tea? How about swinging on your porch and sipping cold iced tea under the cool breeze of an outdoor ceiling fan! Outdoor fans are great for keeping porches and patios cool during the summer, but there are some important factors to think about when buying outdoor ceiling fans.

If you're looking for an affordable, high-quality fan, then check out our huge outdoor ceiling fan selection. Look for a fan that matches your home's style and appearance, or one that could enhance your outdoor area’s overall ambiance. Once you find an outdoor ceiling fan you love, you can use our How to Install a Ceiling Fan video and guide to help ensure the installation process is smooth and quick. But first, let’s explain the difference between an indoor fan and a porch fan.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What’s the Difference between Indoor and Outdoor Ceiling Fans?

All ceiling fans have an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating to help you determine which to buy based on the ceiling fan’s intended location. Dry-rated fans should always be used indoors and away from areas where moisture can accumulate.

If you’re considering using an indoor fan for your outdoor space, please know that outdoor ceiling fans are built to withstand the harsh exterior elements that interior fans often can't handle. Here's the difference:

How to choose your correct UL listed outdoor ceiling fan

What’s the Difference between Wet-Rated & Damp-Rated?

Wet- or damp-rated fans can be used both indoors or outdoors; the difference between these outdoor fan types focuses on how much moisture the fixture may be exposed to. Wet-rated ceiling fans can be exposed to directly to the elements, whereas damp-rated should only be used in moist or damp locations without direct exposure to water.

What Does Damp Rated Mean?

UL Damp-rated ceiling fans are ideal for covered outdoor locations that have no direct exposure to water, rain, or snow. These outdoor fans can handle moisture and damp areas like a pro, but don’t like getting rained on directly. Use these fans in the in-between places of your home or facility to cool the area and keep the air circulating.

Suggested locations for damp-rated ceiling fans include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Covered Patios
  • Screened Porches

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What Does Wet Rated Mean?

UL Wet rated ceiling fans can handle it all. You could spray these fans with a hose to clean them and they will still hold up great. They can handle ice, snow, and intense rain equally well, and can also stand up to the harsh, salty breezes from the ocean. This is the fan you want around while you’re outside trying to enjoy the day without so much summer heat.

Suggested locations for wet-rated ceiling fans include:

  • Exposed Decks
  • Verandas or Lanais outside a seaside home
  • Gazebos
  • Cabanas

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What Does Dry Rated Mean?

UL Dry-rated ceiling fans are great for indoor uses, including living rooms and bedrooms. As long as these fans aren’t used in damp rooms, like bathrooms or laundry rooms, they’ll have long and healthy service lives. However, it’s never a good idea to place these fans outdoors. The exposure to the elements will ruin a dry-rated ceiling fan quickly. If you can keep these fans away from all forms of moisture, they will provide long-lasting cooling for your home or office.

Suggested locations for dry-rated fixtures include:

  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Dining Rooms
  • Foyers

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Can Indoor Fans Be Used Outdoors?

Indoor dry-rated fans are not designed to withstand the outdoors, as even a small amount of moisture getting into the motor will lead to the fixture dying much faster than it should. Worst case scenario: using a dry fan in a damp or wet location could lead to dangerous situations. Some of the things that could happen when dry-rated ceiling fans are used in wet or even damp environments include the following.

  • Burned. The hardware of your fan could begin to rust, creating the potential for exposed wiring and electrical fires, leaving burned ceilings, fans, outlets, and more.
  • Melted. Your blades could begin to warp or melt due to heat/moisture and become uneven, causing poor circulation, noise, or a wobble to begin.
  • Rusted. The finish of your ceiling fan could begin to rust, tarnish, and fade, leaving you with a dull, lackluster ceiling fan.

Bottom line, water and exposed electrical elements never work well together. That's why the protected UL Damp or Wet ceiling fan is what you need outside. Why waste your hard-earned money on the wrong ceiling fan? Keep your home safe by installing the proper rated ceiling fan in the right location. UL Wet or Damp ceiling fans in outdoor locations will last so much longer.

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Can Indoor Fans Be Used on Covered Porches or Carports?

No, indoor ceiling fans should not be used on a covered outdoor area if any amount of moisture is present. The better question is should you use a damp-rated or wet-rated ceiling fan on your carport or covered porch? This really depends on how much exposure to the elements the fan will have and what your weather is like.

For instance, here in Florida, we would advise against using just a damp-rated ceiling fan because of our tropical climate and tendancy to have heavy rains with high winds, where the rain may get to the ceiling fan. However, if you live in Wisconsin, for example, it might be just fine to add a damp-rated ceiling fan to your screened in porch or sunroom. That being said, there's not a dramatic price difference between wet and damp rated fans, so you might want to err on the side of caution and get a wet-rated ceiling fan.

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Can Outdoor Fans Get Wet?

Yes, outdoor rated ceiling fans can get wet. How wet can they get is the next question. Damp-rated ceiling fans can have a light mist, dew, or condensation on the motor exterior without much worry, but they can't withstand direct exposure to moderate, heavy, or driving rain.

Wet-rated ceiling fans are designed to withstand exposure to moderate, heavy and driving rains. However, if you are installing your wet-rated ceiling fan in region with heavy winds, we would suggest a flush mount, hugger or low profile ceiling fan or a locking downrod mount to secure your ceiling fan and ensure the fan does not blow around.

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Can Outdoor Ceiling Fans Be Used Indoors?

Yes, outdoor rated ceiling fans be used indoors. This is especially true if you are installing a fan in a bathroom, basement, or attached garage. If you have found your perfect fan for your home and it's rated for outdoor use, there's also no issue with installing it in your indoor living space. It just means that it's built to withstand anything, including squirt guns, food splatters, and lifes other little messes.

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Do I Need An Outdoor Rated Downrod?

Yes, outdoor rated ceiling fans should be mounted with an outdoor rated downrod. Just like your downrod needs to match the manufacturer and finish of your outdoor ceiling fan. We offer a wide selection of outdoor rated downrods and outdoor ceiling fans that come with downrods, but, if you haven't yet determined the height of your ceiling or the length of your downrod, the best place to start would be to determine the proper length of your downrod.

What Size Downrod Do I Need?

How Do You Secure An Outdoor Ceiling Fan?

Are you anticipating that your newly installed ceiling fan will blow around in the wind? Or have you already experienced this troubling sight? Securing your outdoor ceiling fan is an important aspect to consider. Depending on the location you plan to install the ceiling fan and the height of your ceiling, there are two options: Install a flush mount, low profile, or hugger ceiling fan or install a ceiling fan with a locking downrod. Casablanca offers the Hang-Tru Perma-Lock downrods, which are wet-rated and work with all of their fans

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How to Install an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Installing an outdoor ceiling fan is as easy as installing an indoor ceiling fan. You should read the owner's manual to familiarize yourself with the detailed directions; however, here's a brief overview. Prior to installing an exterior ceiling fan, make sure the power is turned off at the circuit breaker box. Then, confirm all the necessary parts and tools are included in the original packaging. You may pre-assemble the downrod and fan blades to save time. Next, follow the instructions below:

  1. Install the mounting bracket to the junction box

  2. Hang the ceiling fan body from the bracket

  3. Connect the wires as follows: green ground wires, white neutral wires, and black power wires

  4. Attach the blades to the motor housing snuggly

  5. Fasten all screws tightly

Lastly, turn the power back on and test the new exterior ceiling fan at the highest speed. Look for wobbling and listen for noises that indicate additional balancing in necessary. If you have any issues with your newly installed indoor or outdoor ceiling fan, read through our ceiling fan troubleshooting guide for more information.

What Are The Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans?

Now that you've determined you need either a damp-rated or wet-rated outdoor ceiling fan, you may want to check out our How to Buy a Ceiling Fan Guide to ensure you purchase the perfect ceiling fan for your needs. If you are unsure of how big your fan should be for your room size, you might want to view our What Ceiling Fan Size Do I Need Guide to determine which size you need based on the dimensions of your space.

Once you've determined the budget, features, finish, and size of your fan, now it's time to buy! We've put together a list of our top recommended outdoor ceiling fans by category to help you make that decision:

Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans

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