Best Ceiling Fans for Silent, Powerful Airflow
The ceiling fan may be the one home appliance that is still notorious for being an eyesore. However, plenty of models exist without gaudy candelabra lights and annoying pull chains. With remote controls and silent operation, the best fans will stylishly blend into your home, keep you cool, and save energy all year round.
Sure, you could go to a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot and strain your neck by looking up at the dizzying displays to imagine which model will look and perform best in your home. Or you could just go with one of these top-rated, bestselling fans from reputable brands like Hunter Fans, Westinghouse, and Minka-Aire.
How to Find the Right Fan for Your Space
The first feature you’ll look into when upgrading to a new ceiling fan (or installing one from scratch!) is probably going to be its blade size in relation to the room. In his feature for Popular Mechanics on what’s inside a ceiling fan, provided a guide for the ideal blade length per room size. Generally, you should go for a 42-inch blade for 100 square feet or less, up to 50 inches for rooms between 100 and 150 square feet, 52 to 60-inch blades for 150 to 300-square-foot rooms, or a fan up to 74 inches for anything 300 square feet or more
No matter which blade size you go with, if you’re planning on installing a fan in a room with low ceilings (eight feet or lower), you’ll want a model that’s specifically low profile to sit flush against the ceiling. Most fans also come with several options for mounting positions, such as downrod, flush, or angled. In addition, if you plan to add a new fan to your porch or sunroom, make sure to go with a model that’s designed for outdoor in addition to indoor use.
Also note that all of these fans have reversible, three-speed motors, allowing you to set them to counterclockwise in the summer and switch to clockwise rotation for the winter to save money on your energy bill all year round by spreading cool or warm air. While most of these fans will still have pull chains to control the speed and lighting, note that several also have hand remotes, wall controls, or even smart home capability for voice control. Remember, if you want to go with a cheaper model without one, you can always install a universal fan remote later.
Everything You Need to Know about Outdoor Ceiling Fans
Outdoor ceiling fans are a great way to cool down your porch, garage, or open areas outside of your home. Choosing the right one requires an assessment of the space and determining what features you want. Use this guide to find the answers to your biggest outdoor ceiling fan questions
What’s the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Ceiling Fans?
The main difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans lies in their UL rating. A UL rating is determined by looking at the fan’s electrical components and determining if it runs the risk of electrical shock or fires when exposed to moisture. There are three ratings used to catalog fans, “indoor”, “damp rated” and “wet rated”. Fans with an indoor rating should never be used outside, but fans with a “damp” or “wet” rating are fine for indoor and outdoor use.
Wet Rated Ceiling Fans
Wet rated fans are made to handle intense moisture and the top of the fan is sealed to prevent moisture from getting in the motor. These types of fans work well for uncovered areas such as a pergola where rain or snow may fall directly on the ceiling fan.
Damp Rated Ceiling Fans
Damp rated fans are better for covered areas like a patio, lanai or back porch. Damp rated ceiling fans can handle moisture but are designed to have a roof over their heads.
What Outdoor Ceiling Fans Features are Right for Me?
Outdoor ceiling fans can come with a lot of useful features, including remote controls, lighting fixtures, and different airflow capacities. Which of these features is the most important for you depends on your needs and preferences?
Importance of Installing a Home Ceiling Fan
Sometimes, because of how simple things are, they are ignored. This has been a behavioral trend that seemed to be recurring almost in all kinds of situation. Just like a simple ceiling fan placed at a certain part of your home. Obviously, you had it installed to provide convenience, to reduce the heat on your place while at the same time adding aesthetic value on your home.
How else can ceiling fans be used than to provide convenience? Ceiling fans are important because they provide cool air which eventually reduces the heat coming in on homes. And who would want to spend an afternoon at home with the heat?
By aesthetics I mean to the home aesthetics. Aside from reducing heat, ceiling fans also act as beautiful accessories at home because of its design. Ceiling fans come in different sizes and designs that is suitable for different types of home interior.
You can never underestimate the importance of being self-empowered by the fact that you played a role in setting up your ceiling fan at home. You see, unlike air conditioners whose installation require the help of technical experts, installing your home ceiling fan can be done by you with the help of any of your family members. (In fact you can do it alone if you want to.)
Bottomline, it’s all about what you need.
While ceiling fans are highly important and beneficial, it’s not for everyone (or every place).
It will help you to ask yourself the following:
Why do I need a ceiling fan?
Is a ceiling fan capable enough of handling my home’s heat?
What part of my house will need a ceiling fan if ever?
Benefits of Ceiling Fans
Many homeowners install ceiling fans to stay cool. Sure, fans are very useful mild climate. But there are many other advantages to ceiling fan installation, including energy cost savings, design and style choices, versatility, illumination, and year-round value.
Reduced Energy Costs
A 30% to 40% reduction in your electric bill is possible. However, ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature. The draft they provide makes it feel like it’s cooler, and allows you to retain the same level of comfort even if you raise the thermostat a few degrees. In turn, this reduces demand on your heating or cooling system, so you use less energy and are charged less by the utility company.
Diversity in Style
A ceiling fan is an accessory driven by style, given the choice of styles, sizes, and finishes available. The fan you choose can complement the interior design of your home. In addition to its functional aspects, your fan can help make a statement. A ceiling fan can be the single focal point of a room and influence every other stylistic choice you make, from paint color to the type of carpeting and furniture selected.
Versatility for Any Room
You can install a ceiling fan in a living area, kitchen, bedroom, or even a screened-in outdoor porch. It can improve the environment no matter where it’s installed. You can therefore enjoy comfort whether watching TV, making dinner, going to sleep, or sitting outside. The more ceiling fans you install, the better—you’ll save more on your energy bill
Many ceiling fan models have lights built into them. Lighting adds function but also contributes to the ambience of a room. Illumination can be in the form of layered lighting to enhance the room’s environment. Fans can have built-in lights, but if you have a working fan at home and would like to upgrade it, there are fan light kits on the market. Either way, the lighting benefits are just the same.
How to Install Your Ceiling Fan
An easy-to-install ceiling fan can make a real difference in your home’s climate-both cooling and heating- at a far lower cost and operating expense than almost any other item.
The installation begins with choosing where the fan should be located. In almost all homes, the fan is installed in the center of the room, replacing a central light fixture. This spot provides a smooth air flow to most of the room.
Since a fan draws about the same power as a ceiling fixture, the electrical circuit shouldn’t be overloaded. But if your fan includes lights, be sure the circuit it’s on has enough extra capacity to handle the load. If not, you must run a new circuit with a new circuit breaker from the house main service panel or subpanel to the fan.
If there is no central light fixture, you’ll have to create a plan to hang the ceiling fan. Then, you’ll need to bring electrical power to it. You can tap into an existing circuit to do this.
Mounting the Ceiling Fan
Start your installation by turning off the power to the light’s circuit at the circuit breaker or fuse. Only then should you remove the light fixture.
If there is no central light fixture, snap diagonal chalk lines from opposite corners of the room to find its center. Determine whether the lines cross exactly below a ceiling joist. If they do, move aside just far enough between joists to let you fasten the side of the fan’s new junction box directly to the joist.
Cut a hole large enough for the junction box to be slipped in. If it’s next to the joist, drill holes in its side and screw it to the joist.
Installation between joists is OK, too. Fasten the box to a 2 x 4 header nailed between the joists. Sometimes, you can insert a 2 x 4 header through the junction box’s hole, nailing it to each joist. If not, you may need to open a larger access hole. Then, patch the hole to close it again. (A typical fan mounting where there’s access above the joists for header-nailing.)
You may choose to use a patented fan support unit designed to be inserted through the normal junction box hole to save you from opening a hole in the ceiling.
Use only a metal junction box to support a ceiling fan – never hang the fan from a plastic box. Depending on the brand, style and size of your ceiling fan – and your electrical code – you may use a 4″ or 3″ octagonal junction box. (Some local codes don’t permit the use of 3″ boxes.)
The heaviest fan that should be supported by an outlet box is 35 pounds. If it weighs more, the building structure must support it.
Whatever you do, make sure the junction box is supported well enough to hold at least 50 pounds. That’s the weight of an average ceiling fan. Also, you mounting must be able to withstand vibration while the fan is running. Even a well-balanced fan creates some vibration when it runs.
You’ll use a special beam mount when mounting a fan to a beamed ceiling. Use one kind for a horizontal beam, another for a pitched beam. You may need an extender to lower the fan to the proper level.
Fan-mounting is particularly important because any failure to make things secure could allow your fan to fall from the ceiling.
Fan assembly varies from brand to brand. Be sure to follow the specific instructions with the unit you buy. Regardless of the manufacturer’s instructions, if the fan blades are less than a screwdriver’s length away from the ceiling, it may be best to install the blades before hanging the fan.
The hanger pipe is usually placed into its hole on top of the motor. The wires are drawn up in the center. A set screw is tightened securely to make sure the pipe stays in place after it is threaded down.
Some fans have a separate motor hub into which the hanger pipe mounts. In this case, you’ll place the actual motor housing over the hub.
Other fans have a two-piece decorative ceiling cover to hide the hole in the ceiling. It is installed after the fan has been hung on the ceiling.
Tighten the set screw well.
Other models use a hook, with the hanger bracket designed to accept it.
To attach the fan blades, set the motor unit down where it will be stable. Often, the styrene foam packing for the motor housing makes an excellent stabilizer on your worktable.
Most fan blades have a two-pronged attachment, using screws that come through holes in the blades and into the flanges. These need to be drawn up securely, but not so tightly that the threads are damaged or the laminated blade material is crushed. On many fans you’ll find the flanges, or prongs, also need to be mounted to the motor housing. If this is the case, mount them before the flanges are mounted to the blades themselves.
Height Beneath Blades
Now, check the floor-to-ceiling height of the fan blades. You can do this by measuring the floor-to-ceiling distance and subtracting for the part of the fan that will extend below the ceiling down to the lower blade surface. An absolute minimum height of 7′ is recommended. This may be reinforced by building codes in your area.
If the floor-to-ceiling distance is too little, check into a low-ceiling mount for your fan. With some models, the fan blade height can be increased by as much as 10″. Remember, though, that you need at least 12″ between the ceiling and the tops of the fan blades for proper airflow. Having 18″ is better if the space is available.
Mounting the Fan to the Box
Install the hanger bracket on the box with screws and lock washers. If no lock washers are supplied, get some – they prevent fan vibration from loosening the screws over time.
The hanger bracket may accept either a half-ball hanger or a hook-type hanger, depending on which kind your fan uses. Either way, the hanger is carefully slipped into the bracket.
Next, the unit is wired, and the ceiling cover is slipped up to its full height and tightened in place.
Be sure to connect the black house wires to the black fan wires, and the white house wires to the white fan wires.
The fan should be electrically grounded to both the metal box and the fan. The grounding wires will be either green or bare copper. A green grounding pigtail attached to the box by a bonding screw will make your work easier. Wirenut the ground wires from the box, the fan and the power supply together.
If the fan wobbles when it runs, its blades may be unbalanced. To correct this, try interchanging two adjacent blades. If that doesn’t work, take all the blades off and weigh each one on a food or postal scale. If any is underweight, tape a soft object such as a pencil eraser or modeling clay to the top center of the blade, making its weight the same as the others. Reinstall the blades and the fan should run smoothly.