Installing a ceiling fan can help you cut energy costs while staying more comfortable in your home. If you live in a hot climate, ceiling fans are an absolute must. Even with the A/C running 24/7, the cool, refreshing breezes a ceiling fan can create will allow you to save money on heating and cooling, because a ceiling fan can make it feel several degrees cooler in your room.
But ceiling fans come in all different sizes and styles, and, these days, with a range of different features, too. How do you choose the right size, style, and type of fan? Here’s what you need to know.
Consider the Height of Your Ceiling
Ceiling fans need to hang a certain distance from the ceiling (at least eight inches) in order to move air effectively. In a room with high ceilings, a ceiling fan needs to be low enough that you can feel the breeze it creates, but high enough that no one hits their head on it.
For rooms with a standard ceiling height of nine feet, you can buy a fan with a manufacturer-supplied extension rod included in the package. For rooms with low ceilings, flush-mount fans create greater clearance. For rooms with very high ceilings, you’ll need to get an additional extension rod to mount the fan about eight or nine feet off the floor.
Choose the Right Size Fan for Each Room
Fans come in standard sizes beginning at about 29 inches and going up to 80 inches or more. The measurement is from the tip of one fan blade to the other, for fans with an even number of blades; for fans with an odd number of blades, the measurement is taken from one end of a fan blade to the center of the motor, and then doubled.
Generally, smaller rooms need smaller fans and vice versa. For a room less than 75 square feet, you’ll need a fan no larger than 36 inches. For a room 75 to 144 square feet, buy a fan size 36 to 42 inches. For rooms 145 to 225 square feet, buy a fan 44 to 50 inches wide. For rooms 226 to 400 square feet, buy a 50- to 60-inch fan. For the largest rooms, buy a large fan at least 60 inches wide, if not bigger. Larger fans not only function better in a larger space, but they also suit the scale of the space better.
Make Sure It’s Powerful Enough for Your Needs
You might think that a fan with more blades would move more air, and while that may have been true in the past, today’s ceiling fans can move plenty of air even with just one or two blades. Number of blades is more an aesthetic choice than a functional one. Instead, look for the fan’s airflow rating, which is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. At minimum, you want your fan to move at least 4,000 to 5,000 CFM per minute at high speed, but you can get more powerful fans that move 5,000 to 6,000 CFM or more.
Determine What Features You Need
The basic features on a ceiling fan include a light fixture controlled by a pull chain, two or three fan settings controlled by a pull chain, and a reverse direction switch that allows you to switch the direction of the fan blades in the winter to push hot air down from around the ceiling and keep the room warmer. Today’s fans have a range of features, including remote controls, wall controls, smart home connectivity, and light fixtures with halogen, LED, or fluorescent lights.
If you’re installing your new ceiling fan on a porch, patio, gazebo, or other outdoor area, make sure you get a fan rated for indoor/outdoor use. These fans have water-resistant motor housings, all-weather blades, and stainless steel hardware to help it resist moisture from snow and rain. If you live in a coastal area, consider installing a marine-rated fan in your outdoor space — these fans are made with marine-quality materials that can withstand salty sea air.
When choosing a ceiling fan for your home, consider your needs and look for a unit that’s properly sized for the space it will serve. You’ll be glad you took the time to choose the right fan when you see how well it blends into your space.