Kristen Hicks on September 28, 2016 0 Comments Table of Contents Types of Ceiling Fans Factors to Consider While Shopping Brutally hot days are bad enough outside, but if you don’t have A/C (or are trying to save on air conditioning costs), the stuffy heat that builds in your room can be much, much worse. Luckily, a little bit of air movement can make a big difference. Ceiling fans provide a lot of relief for relatively little cost. People used to life in hot climates depend on a ceiling fan in (just about) every room and often one on the patio as well. They can immediately make a miserably hot space more comfortable, and they do so without using much energy. According to Energy Star, ceiling fans can save you 3-5% in air conditioning costs for every degree they enable you to comfortably raise the thermostat. In short, they provide relief and save you money. And they’re often stylish to boot. That makes them a great addition to any household and just about any room. If you’re ready to add some ceiling fans to your home, or replace some old ones that have seen better days, this guide will address all the main things you should know to make an informed decision. Types of Ceiling Fans The type of ceiling fan you should go with will largely be determined by where you plan on installing it. Indoor Ceiling Fan Most of the ceiling fans you’ll find in your search will be made for indoor use. Indoor ceiling fans typically have a dry rating, which means they’re only safe to use somewhere where you can reasonably expect them to stay dry most of the time. That includes bedrooms, living areas, dining rooms, or basements. Generally speaking, you’ll have a much larger selection of styles, types, and colors to choose from with indoor ceiling fans. Often the blades for these will be made of nice woods and they’ll come with different electric features like various speed settings and remote controls. Outdoor Ceiling Fan Outdoor ceiling fans could potentially be used inside, but they’re made to be durable enough to withstand the elements a ceiling fan is likely to encounter outside. They’re always either damp or wet rated: a wet rating means the fan can go in spots where it will encounter rain or snow; a damp rating works for spots like covered patios or garages that need to be able to withstand a little extra dampness, but won’t encounter direct rain. Because outdoor ceiling fan blades are made of a durable type of plastic, rather than decorative wood, you’ll have fewer options in terms of styles and designs. You still have some variety in your choices though and many outdoor ceiling fans still manage to be stylish. You just won’t have as much room to be picky. Ceiling Fan with Light You can find both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans that come with a light. Since ceiling fans are frequently installed in the center of a room or patio space, they claim the best spot in the room for a light to be located. As such, ceiling fans that include lights are common and you have plenty of options if you want a ceiling fan that also provides illumination for the space. Of course, if you choose to purchase a ceiling fan with a light fixture included then you have a whole new host of decisions to make including the type of light bulb, the style of the lighting fixture, the number of bulbs, and whether or not to include a dimmer. It adds an extra level of consideration to the buying process, but it also means you’ll be getting two products in one that satisfy multiple needs you have. Hugger Fan Most ceiling fans are made for rooms that are at least 8-feet tall. If your room is shorter than that, then a hugger fan will be your best bet. Hugger fans are installed directly attached to the ceiling, rather than hanging a bit down from it, “hugging” the ceiling, so to speak. Hugger fans don’t work as well as other types of ceiling fans, but they’re certainly better than nothing. If your ceiling is high enough to be able to go with another fan, you’ll get cooler results; if not, a hugger fan is worth the investment. 13 Factors to Consider When Buying a Ceiling Fan You probably don’t get to be too picky when it comes to choosing which type of ceiling fan to go with, since that’s dependent on where you’ll be putting it. You still have a lot of different options to explore in your search though. Here are a few of the main issues to consider in order to pick out the best ceiling fan for your needs. 1. Cost Ceiling fans can cost as little as $30 or $40 for simpler models that don’t offer any extras, but get the job done. And they can get into costs of well over $5,000 for fans that are especially ornate and decorative. For most consumers, ceiling fans that fall somewhere in the $100-$300 range will likely satisfy your needs. For those who simply need to find a ceiling fan that will cool the room, the low end of the price range will do. If you want any nice extras, like different settings, a remote control, or a fan with a light fixture, then you’ll have to go a little higher. And fans that cost more have a higher likelihood of working quietly, lasting a long time, and being energy efficient. The customers likely to spend the most are those who prioritize style. The more you’re willing to pay, the more options you have terms of design and aesthetics. If one of your top priorities is finding an item with just the right look, then you should be prepared to pay higher prices to get it. 2. Size In order to select a ceiling fan that properly cools the room you plan to put it in, you need to get the right size. Ceiling fans are measured by the blade span and the larger they are, the better they’ll be for cooling a large room. For smaller rooms like bathrooms and utility rooms, a small fan in the 29-36 inch range will do the trick, but for a large family room, you’ll want to look for something 52 inches or up. The basic breakdown is: Small rooms up to 75 sq. ft.: 29-36 inch blade span Medium rooms up to 175 sq. ft.: 42-48 inch blade span Large rooms over 175 sq. ft.: 52-60 inch blade span For rooms in that larger range, you also have the option of choosing multiple smaller fans instead of one large one. 3. Mount Type As with size and type, your mount should really be determined based on the details of the room you’ll be installing it in. As you’ve probably realized by now, you do have to put in a little time with a tape measure before making a ceiling fan purchase. A flush mount is another way of referring to hugger fans. If your ceiling is less than 8 feet tall, then you don’t have enough height for your fan to safely hang down from the ceiling and a flush mount is required. Most rooms will call for a standard downrod. As long as your ceiling height falls in the 8-10 foot range, you can use the standard length that comes with most ceiling fans (typically 6 inches, although they’re sometimes shorter). The product specs on any model you consider should tell you how long the downrod will be. For rooms over 10 feet tall, you’ll want to get a longer downrod. The standard rule is to add 12 inches to the downrod for every two feet of ceiling height. You can find downrods as long as 76 inches for especially tall spaces. 4. Style Ceiling fans come in a wide range of styles – modern, rustic, traditional, Craftsman, and retro – just to name a few. No matter the style of your home, you should have little trouble finding a ceiling fan that fits in. You can find a lot of affordable ceiling fans that look good, but as previously mentioned, visual design is where the prices really start to go up. A ceiling fan that works and looks fine is within reach for customers that have budgets on the smaller side. But for those willing to spend more, truly beautiful, ornate, and unique ceiling fans that could double as art are an option as well. 5. Noise Some ceiling fans are loud. You don’t want to do the work of installation, only to turn on your fan and realize you won’t ever be able to sleep in your bedroom with it turned on. Higher airflow results in more noise, but it also means you’ll stay cooler. For ceiling fans with different speed levels, you’ll be able to make the choice between the louder, cooler option and quieter, warmer one based on your preferences at any given moment. Fans with ridges or bumps on the blades can also make more noise, so look for smooth blades in your search when perusing different designs. Most ceiling fans work quietly. You can check the reviews to confirm whether a fan you have your eyes on works at a noise level you can handle. Keep in mind that many of the noises fans can make are caused by problems easy to fix, like loose screws or a part that needs to be replaced. Before writing a fan off for being too noisy, look for underlying issues that may be causing the sound. 6. Airflow Airflow is measured by cubic feet per minute (CFM), and manufacturers are required to list the CFM of their fans so consumers can compare. The higher the airflow, the more energy efficient a ceiling fan is and the better it will cool the space. For outdoor ceiling fans, high airflow provides the added benefit of keeping mosquitoes and other bugs away. If you live somewhere that gets especially cold in the winter as well as hot in the summer, some fans come with a reverse airflow option that will aid in heating the space when it’s cold, enabling you to save on energy costs year round. 7. Lights As previously mentioned, many ceiling fans come with a light fixture already included. You can also buy light kits that allow you to add a light onto a ceiling fan after the fact, which opens up a larger selection for you to choose from. The light fixtures for ceiling fans come with their own variety in style and type. Some provide more light than others. Some call for two or four light bulbs rather than one. Some use halogen bulbs, some fluorescent, and some LED. In other words, you have a comparable array of choices when it comes to lights as to when it comes to choosing the fan itself. If you choose to buy your light separately, make sure any light kit you get will be compatible with the fan you bought. Beyond that, you can browse and choose based on where your preferences take you. 8. Number of Blades You’ll likely come across fans in your search with three blades, four blades, five blades or even more. In some cases, the difference in blade number is more about aesthetics than anything else, but it does have some impact on noise and airflow. Specifically, more blades usually equates to the fan being quieter, but moving more slowly and providing less airflow. Ceiling fans most commonly have either four or five blades, which are the best numbers for the fan to be properly balanced. You won’t see much of a difference in the level of noise or performance between those numbers, so you can count on either option to provide good balance and decent airflow. 9. Energy Efficiency The decision to buy a ceiling fan on its own is a smart move in terms of energy efficiency. If it cools off your room enough to turn down the thermostat, you’ll consistently save money as a result. You can make the purchase go even further by picking an Energy Star certified ceiling fan. Fans that have been rated by Energy Star are 60% more efficient than conventional fans and will save you money over time in energy bills. A lot of the ceiling fans on the market have earned this certification, so you shouldn’t have to look too far to find one. 10. Ease of Installation Many consumers are able to install ceiling fans on their own without calling in a professional, but if you’re not experienced with ceiling fan installation and plan to take the DIY route, make sure to give a look to the installation instructions first to make sure you understand what you’re getting into. If you do end up needing to call in a professional after all, you’ll need to spend extra. Customer reviews can also frequently give you a head’s up as to which models are a pain to install, and which are pretty easy to figure out, even for someone inexperienced. 11. Ease of Use The main factor that will influence ease of use is the control your ceiling fan comes with. A remote control adds some nice convenience to turning your fan on and off and changing the levels. A pull cord’s also easy enough to use, but does require getting up and walking to where the fan’s located. You’ll also want to consider what’s involved in cleaning your fan. For most ceiling fans, cleaning it will simply be a matter of dusting and wiping down the blades every so often, but if your fan has a unique design or will be installed on an especially high ceiling, then the process will be more complicated. 12. Damp Rating A lot of ceiling fans will be installed in rooms where moisture’s not much of an issue. A ceiling fan installed in a bedroom or living room isn’t at risk of getting wet, except in a relatively unlikely situation like a roof leak. For these spaces, any damp rating is fine, but you’ll have more selection and better prices if you go with a ceiling fan that has a dry rating. The damp ratings become more important when it comes to spaces where a ceiling fan is likely to encounter moisture, such as a bathroom, a patio, or a garage. If a ceiling fan will be installed somewhere where it will encounter occasional moisture, but never be directly exposed to it, a damp rating will suffice. For any fans that will be exposed directly to rain or snow, a wet rating is required. The wet rating is mostly relevant for outdoor ceiling fans. If you need a fan that can withstand direct contact with water, it’s absolutely crucial that you find one with a wet rating so your fan will work safely. 13. Extras: Remote control: A remote control adds a nice bit of convenience to turning your ceiling fan on and off and changing settings. Reverse airflow: Ceiling fans that offer a reverse airflow option will help warm your space in the winter, along with cooling it in the summer. Pull chain: If you don’t have a remote control, a sturdy pull chain long enough for you to reach it easily is your best option. Balancing kit: If your ceiling fan doesn’t come with a balancing kit, you’ll likely want to buy one in order to make sure the fan works as it should. Light kit: If the ceiling fan you buy doesn’t come with a light fixture already attached, a light kit allows you to add one. Conclusion A lot of choosing the right ceiling fan is dependent on understanding what’s required for the space available. Take some time to take measurements and consider what you really want your ceiling fan to accomplish in that space. Then decide what your personal priorities are. If you want convenience, beauty, or light, those are all options. There are so many ceiling fans on the market, you should have little trouble finding one that meets your preferences, as long as you know what you want and spend some time looking.