Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer and help circulate warm air in the winter. They allow you to use less air conditioning and heating indoors, which means smaller monthly energy bills, and their gentle breeze is perfect for a porch or other outdoor space. Choose the right fan for your needs by answering a few simple questions.
How Big is the Space? The size of the fan you buy will depend on the size of the space you need to cool. As a general guideline, use the chart below to determine fan size.
Room Size | Fan Size 10′×10′ | 36" 15′×15′ | 42"-44" 20′×20′ | 52"-54" larger than 20′×20′ | 56"+
If you plan to install the fan in a bedroom, nursery or other quiet room, consider buying a fan that’s one size larger than suggested above. A larger fan running at a slower speed - therefore more quietly - can move the same amount of air as a smaller fan running at a higher speed.
Fans installed on high ceilings require extension rods so they will hang at the correct height.
Do You Want Light? You can buy a ceiling fan with or without a lighting attachment, often called a “light kit” on the packaging. Some fans that are originally purchased without light kits can have one added later.
Lighting options include single- and multi-bulb fixtures. The styles and sizes vary widely. If you are installing a ceiling fan with a light, the best idea is to use wiring that controls the fan and the light separately, using a double switch. That way you can turn the light in the room on and off without affecting the use of the fan.
Select a fan with a single-bulb light fixture or a multi-bulb light fixture.
What Are the Décor Considerations?
You’ll never make a ceiling fan perfectly un-noticeable, but there are ways to minimize the visual intrusion. If you have white ceilings, choose an all-white fan with no light kit and use the flush-mount option. Quieter fans also are less obtrusive, so consider buying a higher-end fan with a quieter motor or installing a larger fan that you can run at a slower speed.
A simple fan blends into the ceiling, while a more elaborate fan can be a visual centrepiece of the room.
If you want to take the opposite strategy, make the ceiling fan a centrepiece of the room. Fans are available in a wide selection of metal finishes and blade colours. Some examples:
Blade Colours |Metal Finishes Brown | Bronze Oak | Iron Walnut | Brass Cherry | Pewter Redwood | Chrome White | White
Many units have reversible blades that offer more than one finish - for example, cherry on one side and maple on the other. The hardware and fittings are available in a wide variety of styles to fit any décor, and specialty fans in themes such as baseball and basketball can work well in a child’s room or a playroom.
Inside or Outside? If you’re installing the fan on a porch or other outside space, buy a fan specially made to go outdoors. It will resist the weather better than the indoor type. Do not install a regular indoor fan outside. What Extras are Available?
Some fans come with remote controls, allowing you to vary the speed of the fan or turn it on and off from a chair or bed.
If your fan will be controlled primarily using the pull-chain on the body of the fan itself, buy a chain extender and a decorative pull that will make it easier to reach and grasp.
If the room is L-shaped or otherwise non-rectangular, buy two smaller fans for the different sections of the room.
How High are the Ceilings? To be most effective, a ceiling fan should be 7 1/2’-8’ from the floor. Much higher and the effect of the air movement is lost, much lower and there’s a danger of injury.
A room with low ceilings requires that a fan be “flush-mounted” closer to the ceiling than normal. Most fans sold today include hardware for flush-mounting. Some special fans are made to install even closer to the ceiling than regular flush-mounting.
A room with very high ceilings, particularly vaulted ceilings, needs a fan that is mounted on a down-rod. The rods come in various lengths to accommodate ceilings of varying heights. Most fans sold today can be mounted on a down-rod, but the rod and hardware must be purchased separately.