By John. Ceiling Fan. Published at Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 - 08:01:28 AM.
Ceiling Fan Frequently Asked Questions I. What is the purpose of a ceiling fan? A ceiling fan serves two purposes 1. To provide a breeze thereby creating the "wind chill factor" 2. To circulate the air throughout a room or area II. How do ceiling fans lower the temperature? They dont, at least not literally. Unlike an air conditioner, ceiling fans do not directly affect the air temperature. That does not mean, however, that ceiling fans are not effective in cooling. As pertaining to the two purposes listed in question (I): 1. The moving air from a ceiling fan will help you feel cooler regardless of the temperature of a room. It is much the same as being outside in the summer-- it can be 80-90 degrees, and if there is a breeze, it is very pleasant. 2. The circulation from a ceiling fan can disperse the cool air from lower areas (and air conditioning) into the central, inhabited areas of a room. IIa. How do ceiling fans help heat in the winter? Much the same as they help with cooling in circulation. Running your heat in the winter, hot air rises to the ceiling, and so much of the heat is wasted. Running a ceiling fan during the winter, to push down warm air from the ceiling and eliminate cold spots, can save a great deal of heating energy. III. What rooms should have ceiling fans installed? EVERY room. Depending on your personal preferences, any and every room can benefit from a ceiling fan installed. The more time people spend in a given room, the greater the benefit of a ceiling fan. For circulation, especially large rooms, and/or those with high and/or vaulted ceilings. People will have their preferences on where they most prefer the benefits, but ultimately any room is a good idea. IV. What size fan is needed for a particular room? Ceiling fans commonly come in two sizes: 52" for larger rooms and 42" for smaller rooms. Many companies offer 30-36" fans for exceptionally small rooms, and 56-60" fans for larger and/or commercial settings. The most common size by far is the 52" fan, which is typically appropriate for most rooms. V. My ceiling is lower, do I need a hugger fan? Hugger fans are designed to provide the minimum distance between the ceiling and the fan blades. This is ideal for lower ceilings as it provides the maximum clearance between the blades (and other lower parts of the fan such as lights) and the floor. The downside is that the shorter distance between the blades and the ceiling impedes circulation to a degree. Hugger ceiling fans are less effective than regular ceiling fans regardless of ceiling height. VI. My ceiling is higher, how long of a downrod do I need? For maximum circulation, the blades should be positioned 8-10 from the floor. However having the blades too far away from the ceiling can sometimes lessen the effectiveness of heat destratification. Not to having the blades 9 from the ceiling on a 15 ceiling may look a little imposing. VIa. I have a vaulted ceiling, do I need a special kit? Usually not. It is standard for fans to include hardware that will allow the fan to be mounted on a ceiling up to a ~30 degree incline. Hugger fans are not designed to be mounted on a vaulted ceiling. There are other rare exceptions, these are usually noted by the manufacturer and can be adapted. VII. What sort of control options are available? Most ceiling fans made in recent years have a built in three-speed pullchain control. Regardless of whether or not the fan is wired to a separate switch, you have full control of the fan from the chain. Off-high-medium-low. Most fans are also reversible and have a reverse switch built into the fan body. If the fan has a light, the light will have its own on-off pullchain. The entire fan assembly can be controlled without the benefit of a remote switch. Many companies now offer fans with remote speed control options that allow for independent fan and light control without additional wall switches and wiring. These can include wireless remote controls, replacement wall switches, and computerized options that involve one, the other, or both. This allows a fan to be installed in a conventional two-wire hookup and benefit from the control options of a 3 wire (two switch) hookup without installing a third wire. The mobility of a wireless remote and the features of the computerized controls are additional benefits. Ceiling fans with conventional pullchain controls can be retrofitted with remote speed control options such as those mentioned above. The retrofit kits include the wall or wireless remote control, and a receiver that is attached inside the ceiling fan canopy and wires between the fan and the power source. The receiver requires only a two-wire power source, switched or unswitched. VIII. How many blades is best? These days ceiling fans are available with any number of blades from one to eight, although any number below 3 and above 6 is for novelty or decorative purposes only. Most fans have 4 or 5 blades, some are adaptable to take either. Most people assume that more blades move more air, i.e. a fan with five blades moves more air than a fan with four blades. This, in fact, is incorrect. More blades results in a greater load on the motor, and a greater load on the motor causes it to operate at a slower speed. A fan with less blades operating at a faster speed will more more air than a fan with more blades operating at a slower speed. This is why most commercial fans have three blades and a high speed motor, to provide the greatest amount of airflow efficiently. IX. What are the quality differences between fans on the market? Many different fans are available these days, with a great degree of different options, styles, designs, and prices. Often times people buy a fan for appearance-based reasons. But most consumers, about to spend a significant amount of money on a ceiling fan (or fans) are concerned about getting the best quality product, or at the very least the best quality product within their price range. It is a commonly held theory that you get what you pay for: the more something costs, the better quality it is. As with many products, that is generally true with ceiling fans, but there are other factors. When you buy a ceiling fan you are paying for three things: 1. Quality and features 2. Design/style 3. Name recognition The most expensive fan may be the best quality, or it may be the most expensive design, or it may be the best known brand name. IXa. What makes a ceiling fan Energy Efficient? How do I consider this when choosing a fan? There are three factors: 1. How much air is moved 2. How much current is drawn 3. The quality and construction of the fan Obviously the most efficient ceiling fan would be that which has the best #1/#2 ratio. However #3 is also a very important factor in buying a ceiling fan, and just because a fan has the best ratio does not mean it moves the most air. A fan that draws very little power but moves very little air may be considered very efficient. Additionally, if the fan has a light kit, the light kit is much more crucial to energy consumption than the fan motor. Ceiling fans typically draw ~100 watts or less on the highest speed setting, however the typical four socket light kit draws 240 watts consistently. Much more important than finding the most efficient motor, in this case, is maximizing the efficiency of the light kit. Compact Fluorescent light bulbs are ideal for this purpose-- the same light kit will then draw 60 watts or less. X. Fan Operation: What speed and direction settings should be used? This is a very subjective topic, and for most it was probably answered by parts I & II above. There are a number of factors that vary by setting and situation-- fan location, ceiling height, fan model, and most importantly, what purpose is intended. A few suggestions that may or may not apply: 1. It is unlikely that a fan would be used on high except to create a significant breeze. When you wish to do so the fan would be used in the downdraft setting. Depending on how much of a breeze is wanted medium speed may also be acceptable. 2. For a gentle breeze and circulation, in most cases the fan would be used on low in the downdraft setting. 3. To destratify heat (and for circulation) the fan would be generally set to updraft mode in low or medium speed. Heat can also be recirculated with low speed in the downdraft mode, depending on which produces more of a notable breeze. XI. How effective are ceiling fans with heaters built in? The most important thing to remember about any electric heater is that they use a great amount of electricity. This includes ceiling fan heaters as well as space heaters, etc. They are available with a variety of different sizes and settings, but the average uses ~1000 watts. It is not wise to use an electric heater unless it is absolutely necessary, using a heater ceiling fan (for example) in conjunction with an effective furnace etc will NOT save energy. So it would be a fair assumption that you should only consider a heater ceiling fan in a situation where you would also consider an electric space heater or the like. XII. What is the use for a fan mounted outside, such as on a porch? What sort of fan is recommended? If a fan is going to be exposed to rain and snow and such, youll want to make sure it is sealed so water cannot get into electrical parts. If its not actually going to be getting wet, just somewhere exposed to changes in climate (a covered porch, etc) you generally look for a fan with a finish that wont rust and blades that wont warp. Many companies offer fans that are specifically rated for these situations. These fans will have Underwriters Laboratories certification for damp or wet locations. If a fan is going to be subjected to these conditions it is important that it is able to do so safely. XIII. Ceiling fan lights-- what options are available? Ceiling fans being used with light attachments have become more and more common as years progress. It is significantly easier to install a ceiling fan where there is an existing light fixture than where there is nothing, but if you are removing a light source you will need to replace it. As a result, the majority of ceiling fans sold include light kits already attached.
You Can Have a Ceiling Fan With Low Ceilings There are times when the weather just isnt quite hot enough to merit turning on the expensive air-conditioning, but you still need a little air movement in your home to make it feel more comfortable. Thats when a ceiling fan is perfect. If you dont have air conditioning at all, then youll be even more appreciative of a quiet, unobtrusive way of cooling off. Although the interior designers on home improvement shows tend to scoff at having ceiling fans, they are a practical and comforting addition to any room. Low profile ceiling fans have made it possible for anyone to have a ceiling fan, no matter how low the ceilings are. Since so many people want to have ceiling fans in every room, this has opened up the possibilities. If you own a smaller home with lower ceilings, and youve always wanted to add the enhanced air circulation and extra light a ceiling fan will provide, your dreams have come true with these low profile models. In addition, if you have standard-height ceilings but someone very tall in your family, low profile fans would be a great solution to their head-banging problems. If you have decided to downsize, you might think you want to take your lovely ceiling fans with you when you move. Before you go to all the work of taking them down, however, check to make sure that theyll actually fit into your new home. Chances are that if the fans were purchased for larger rooms with higher ceilings, they arent going to fit the smaller space in your new residence. Even if the light fixtures in your new home look lovely, they arent going to make up for the lack of your favorite ceiling fans. However, theres just no way you can use the old ones. If you hung one of them people would be sure to run into it, so you might as well be nice and leave the old fans in your old house. Putting them into storage wouldnt solve a thing. There are much more appropriate fans on the market, and youre going to find some to love in more low profile models. Take a walk-through of the nearest Home Depot. By walking up and down the aisles and looking at the various fans that are displayed on the ceilings above, youll be able to see how much lower some fans hang than others do. By sticking with the options that hug the ceiling, youll have your light and air circulation back and in working condition in no time. Many times you can get really good deals on low profile fans. When ceiling fans first came back into vogue, they were quite expensive. Now, however, they have come down in price even though their overall quality has markedly improved. Youll find that with a low profile fan youll even have room to add a light kit if you choose. They also make types of lights that dont hang down nearly as far as other models do. Once you get your new fan home and installed, youre going to love it. Youll get the same great style and versatility that you had with your old fans. People have commented that although they were loath to give up their lovely, old ceiling fans, they like the new ones just as well, or sometimes even better. You may well find that after trying a low profile fan in one room in your house youll want to go out and purchase them for all the other rooms, too. They just seem to add a special touch to the décor of any room, and they certainly make your living environment a lot more comfortable. After you have fans in all of your rooms, who knows where youll go next. Do you have a sun room? A roofed patio or deck? A gazebo? People have been known to put ceiling fans in anywhere they have a ceiling to fasten them to. You will find a selection of fans that are made for outdoor use and resistant to dampness and inclement weather. As you know, it can get too hot outdoors to enjoy sitting on your deck. With a fan, youll be able to use your deck any time you like and enjoy it more.
Ceiling Fans Leading the Future The Current Market Ceiling fans have been gaining in popularity for the past 20 years. What started as a cost effective alternative to air conditioning to cool your living room bedroom or kitchen has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Ceiling fans are now offered in many styles and price ranges from the very basic to high end designer styles. They can cost from less than one hundred to several thousand dollars and are being made to suit any taste or preference. The ceiling fan manufacturing industry has evolved to provide very high quality fans at reasonable costs and has built the consumer market for these products. This led to explosive growth in the sales of fans through the home improvement retailers like Home Depot, Lowes and others. The days of showroom sales for the mid to high level fans may be in for a change due the marketing efforts of these industry giants. Marketing data suggests that approximately 70% of all ceiling fans are being installed by the homeowner within 2 years of occupying their home. They are replacing the existing lighting fixtures with higher grade fixtures and ceiling fans in the bedroom and kitchen area. The living room is also a popular choice for fixture replacement with ceiling fan and lighting kit combinations being installed in greater numbers. The consumer is faced with so many choices in the market today that it can be a bewildering experience for todays consumer. The average purchaser is going down to their favorite home improvement store to choose their new fan or lighting fixture or even making their choice on the internet. They come to a lighting specialty store or showroom only after being overwhelmed by the choices in the home improvement stores aisles which provide little if any service or assistance. The choice of fans today is greater than at any time in past 5 to 10 years. Many of the major brands are also selling products in the home improvement market. Companies like Hunter are distributing several models in Home Depot this trend is expected to increase as they gain market share. Changing Technology Numerous manufacturers have been paying attention to this trend in the consumer market and are providing fans that meet the needs of todays consumer. The ease of assembly and use of pre-assembled components speed the installation of their products. Westinghouse Lighting Corporation has a line of fans that captures all of these needs and they claim can be installed in 15 minutes on average. The weak link in all of these improvements is the ceiling box itself. This is the component that the fan is attached to and must bear the static and dynamic loads of the fans operation. It also houses the electrical wiring for the fan. This utilitarian component has been under going improvement for the past 10 years or more to make its installation quicker, cheaper and easier than the traditional metal box of yesterday. The electrical contractor of today is using products that increase his productivity and maximize the potential profit of his labor. They have a large choice of nail-on products that already have the fasteners attached to the ceiling box and all they have to do is hold it in place and nail or screw it into a joist or truss for it to be secured. Many of these boxes are thermoplastics which are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. They also have the added advantage of not needing to be electrically grounded so this saves the additional labor that metal boxes require. This fact is not lost on the ceiling box manufacturers that are producing ceiling, outlet and junction boxes that are quick to install and are made of plastics that require less and less labor to install properly. This has gotten to the point that there is now a lighting box that only needs to be pushed onto a wooden stud for it to be secured; no fasteners are needed at all! The ceiling fan manufacturers however may not be keeping pace with the trend in ceiling box installation practices. They advise the consumer of their products to reinforce or replace the existing fixture with a fan-rated ceiling box which is prudent, though are the consumers heeding their installation directives? The installation instructions for many of the fans available today show a metal type box that has screws going through the box and into blocking above the box. This is not what is installed in most of the newer construction homes which use the labor saving nail-on products. As a general rule builders and contractors do not provide blocking above the ceiling box with a nail-on product as the added material & labor is not cost effective. The average nail-on plastic ceiling box is rated for only supporting a 35 pound static load. They are also not fan-rated. This requires that the ceiling box be replaced with a fan-rated box before the installation of a ceiling fan. Fan-rated boxes are capable of holding 70 pound loads and are rated for this application. This is easier said than done! The nail-on products do not lend themselves to be reinforced easily since labor savings have also been applied to the construction of homes themselves. In many circumstance the average home does not have an attic, only a narrow crawl space between the trusses is provided. This combined with blow-in insulation makes the location of the ceiling box difficult if not impossible when a fan is to be hung on an upper floor. For installation of a ceiling fan between floors leaves little choice for this task since it cannot be accessed easily from above or below the ceiling since the upper floor is directly above the ceiling box. Cutting a hole in the floor or knocking out the ceiling is not prudent just to place blocking above a ceiling box. Medallions are available but the added expense, labor and time can be prohibitive, especially if the medallion is painted to match the ceiling. The brace type of products that are sold today are an alternative though they work better in theory than in practice as the old ceiling box needs to be removed before they can be installed. Home Depot has a web page devoted to this process which they claim can take ½ a day to complete. A Better Way Following the trends used in the construction methods of todays homes has led to the development of a new and simple method to reinforce an existing ceiling box to that of a fan-rated box that is consumer friendly. Access is gained through the ceiling box itself with a small bracket being utilized in what is in most cases is wasted space within the ceiling box itself. Two fasteners are driven through the ceiling box and into the joist or truss with the bracket being firmly held in position. This bracket has been shown by independent testing by a leading product testing laboratory to allow the ceiling box to sustain very large dynamic loads. This testing revealed that ordinary thermoplastic ceiling boxes that are reinforced in this manner are capable of sustaining loads that are factors above the requirements of NEC (314.27D & 422.18). These NEC building codes apply to the installation of ceiling fans and fan-rated ceiling boxes. Another added feature is that this product installs in only 2 minutes or less with common hand tools and allows the installation of a ceiling fan to be accomplished in less than an hour from start to finish. If the Westinghouse fans were to be used with this product it could be done in 17 minutes or less! The product can also be also used with metal boxes after 2 holes have been drilled in the ceiling box. Failure modes during product testing revealed that the test plate was being pulled off of the ceiling box. The ceiling box is left intact and firmly secured to the simulated test truss. A grounding lug and screw is provided on the bracket to facilitate grounding of the pierced ceiling box to alleviate any concerns regarding an energized component outside of the ceiling box. This product is manufactured in the United States by EE Products Inc. as FAN-EZE under the following U.S. Patents, 6,881,900, 6,909,045, & 6,965,077 and is available for distribution by retail and wholesale sales outlets. Further information regarding the products can be found at http://www.eeproductsinc.com or contacting the company directly at 801-254-5144.
Outdoor Ceiling Fans If you are planning on installing a ceiling fan in an outdoor location, it is important to purchase a fan that is designed specifically for that purpose. If you install an indoor fan in an outdoor area it is likely to short out (which can be hazardous) or simply break down prematurely. Outdoor ceiling fans are designed differently than indoor ceiling fans because they need to be able to the forces of mother nature. Here are some of the ways that outdoor ceiling fans differ from those made for indoors: The decorative motor casing is either sealed or designed to prevent water or moisture from coming in contact with the actual motor inside. The wiring is a higher grade with additional shielding. Screws and other components are typically made of stainless steel. The finish on the motor casing and hardware is usually a weather resistant powder coat, stainless steel, or has some additional protective coating that can handle exposure to the elements. The blades are likely made of ABS plastic rather than plywood. ABS is a very strong durable material that resists warping and discoloration from moisture or UV exposure. Light fixtures are sealed on top and designed for outdoors The mounting hardware is either water tight or designed to prevent water from entering from above. There are 2 types of outdoor ceiling fans, those rated for DAMP locations and those rated for WET locations. There is a notable difference between the two and it is important that you choose the right type for your application. In either case, make sure the fan you purchase is UL Listed for the application you need so that you know it can be safely installed without creating a potential electrical hazard. Here are the differences between the two types of outdoor fans: Damp rated outdoor fans are designed to handle moisture but not direct contact with rain or running water. Therefore, a damp rated outdoor ceiling fan can be installed in a covered area such as a patio or screened in porch or other areas that are protected from rain or dripping water. Wet rated outdoor fans are designed to handle direct exposure to rain. They can be installed in virtually any indoor or outdoor location, covered or uncovered. So you can install a wet rated outdoor ceiling fan in an open gazebo, lattice covered lanai or other similar shade structure as well as under a covered porch or patio. Because wet rated outdoor fans are pretty much water tight, you can actually clean them by hosing them off...which is a great reason to buy a wet rated fan even if all you need is a damp rated model. Commonly asked questions about outdoor fans: Can an outdoor ceiling fan be installed indoors? Yes, you can install an outdoor fan in your living room or any other room in your home where you want a fan. Many people will do this simply because they like the look of a particular outdoor fan. Also, outdoor fans are highly recommended for laundry rooms and bathrooms or any other room inside your home that that tends to have excessive moisture. In more humid climates, outdoor fans are a great choice for every room in the home. I live in a very windy area and have had problems with blades breaking off...are there any outdoor fans that are made to handle high winds? High winds can in fact sheer the blades off a ceiling fan, particularly cheaper models that use lightweight materials. Usually it is the metal blade holders that attach the blades to the fan that break rather than the blades themselves. So if you are in an area prone to high winds, outdoor fans that do not have blade holders are your best choice. If the fan is to be installed in an area that is 9 feet high or less, a hugger style outdoor fan is even better. A perfect example of such a fan is the Minka Aire Concept II Wet, which is one of the very few outdoor fans that meet this criteria. Are there any outdoor fans that are designed to be taken down easily or that have blades that are easy to take off when a storm is coming? This is a very common question. Unfortunately the answer is no. There are no ceiling fans designed with a "Quick Disconnect" mechanism or with blades that snap on and off. However, I suppose that if any fan manufacturer came up with such a fan it would be a big seller. Running wires and installing a junction box can be difficult in many outdoor applications. Are there any outdoor ceiling fans that are battery operated? Although DC powered ceiling fans are now in fact available, they are not yet powerful enough to handle the needs of outdoor applications, nor are they being designed to work from batteries. Currently, most DC powered ceiling fans use an AC/DC converter, so they still require electrical wiring. However, I would look for this to change in the near future...most likely in the next year or two. Can a remote control be added to an outdoor ceiling fan? Most add-on remotes or wall controls are not rated for use outdoors, so unless the control is specifically designed for the fan you are considering and is rated for the correct application (Damp or Wet), then you should not use it. If a remote control or wall control is important to you, look for outdoor fans that have such a control included with the fan. Can any light fixture be added to an outdoor ceiling fan? No. Just as ceiling fans are rated for Damp or Wet locations, so are the light fixtures that are used with them. Make sure you purchase a light fixture that is made by the manufacturer of the fan and that has the same rating. If you want an outdoor fan with a light fixture, your best bet is to purchase one comes with one, this way you can be certain they are compatible.
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