Like to keep cool while saving energy? Thinking about buying a ceiling fan?
Here are a few things to keep in mind …
We know: 1-Minute Lesson on Ceiling Fans
What's a ceiling fan?
A ceiling fan is a rotating fan with blades that is usually mounted in the center of a room ceiling to increase air flow. The breeze created by a ceiling fan can reduce the room temperature by 2 to 6 degrees.
What are the basic features to consider when looking for a ceiling fan?
The most common things to consider are:
- Size - Is the fan size sufficient to circulate the air in the room? In general: 32" fans will serve 8'x10' rooms, 42" fans will serve 10'x12' rooms, 44" fans will serve 12'x12' rooms, 52" fans will serve rooms larger rooms.
- Speed - Most fans operate at more than one speed. The size of the fan motor should be match to the size of the blades in order for the fan to work properly and for energy efficiency. Also, look for motors with double shielded bearings and an oil reservoir to keep the fan running smoothly.
- Design - There is a huge variety of fan designs, including the design of the fan body and the fan blades. Most fans have 3-5 blades. The pitch of the blades ranges from 8 degrees to 15 degrees. The higher the pitch, the better the air will circulate at slower speeds. (Make sure you buy blades that are 'balanced" to ensure stable operation of the fan.)
- Lights - Because the fan is often located in the ceiling center of a room and replaces a light fixture when installed, look for a fan model that includes lights if you need them
- Mounts - If you have a low ceiling (8'), you want a flush mount, so that the fan doesn't intrude. If you have high ceilings, use a downrod mount to lower the fan and circulate air at a lower level. A tri-mount gives you the most flexibility when mounting your fan.
Should I install it myself?
Installing a ceiling fan is not difficult and most come with instructions and necessary hardware. Here are a few hints to get you started:
- You need to understand basic electrical wiring and turn off the electric power before you begin. Installing the fan usually requires removing a light fixture from the mid-ceiling and replacing it with the fan. If your new fan also includes lights, make sure it does not overload the circuit it's on. Otherwise, you need to install a new circuit and new circuit breaker.
- If there is no ceiling light fixture, you will have to determine the center of the ceiling, create an opening to attach the fan, and run wiring above the ceiling to the opening.
- If you want to avoid the wiring issue, you can buy a fan that uses swag wiring. In this case, you attach the fan to the ceiling and run a cord from the fan along the ceiling and down the wall to an outlet. This makes swag-mounted fans easy to move from one room to another.