Published at Thursday, March 08th, 2018 - 07:35:51 AM. Ceiling Fan. By John.
What You Should Know About Installing Ceiling Fans Installing ceiling fans in your home is simply a good idea. Advances in ceiling fan technology over the last 10 years have expanded their money-saving benefits. In the summer, the cooling effects of ceiling fans can reduce temperatures as much as 7 degrees - and your energy bill by up to 40%! And the effects of pushing warm air down from the ceiling in the winter can save you 10% on your heating costs. Ceiling fans are a money-saver Ceiling fans are not only a wise investment financially, but can really add to the look of a room. There are so many styles of ceiling fans these days that it may be difficult to choose. Here are some helpful tips Ceiling fans come in a range of prices. But beware of the cheaper ones. They may look great when theyre new, but over time they are more likely to warp, become off-balance and wear out. Also, the casing on cheaper fans is made of very thin material which tends to vibrate and rattle. You will enjoy the benefits of a ceiling fan for many years, so be prepared to pay for quality. Choose a fan according to the size of the room. A 29" fan is good for a room up to 50 square feet; a 36" fan for rooms up to 75 square feet; a 42" fan for rooms up to 100 square feet; and 50" to 54" fans will work best in rooms up to 400 square feet. For maximum efficiency and safety, place the ceiling fan in the middle of the room and at least 8 feet above the floor. For best results, place the fan 9 or 10 feet above the floor. Most ceiling fans are about 12" from the ceiling to the tops of the blades. Hugger fans, which have blades very close to the ceiling, are less efficient at moving air, but may be necessary if you lack the required height clearance. The motor is one of the most important components of ceiling fan efficiency, yet many motors are undersized or poorly constructed, which can lead to higher operating temperatures, humming and clicking. Look for high-quality motors with heavy-duty windings and sealed bearings that are permanently lubricated. And let the warranty guide you. Better ceiling fans with heavy-duty motors will come with a lifetime warranty on the motor. Fan blade brackets should hold the blades at a 12-15 degree angle for optimal circulation. The greater the angle, the more air circulation you get. Fans with less than a 12-degree angle are less efficient. Blades are available in plastic, metal, acrylic, faux wood, cloth, palm, and many types of wood. Blades should be sealed and treated to resist humidity, which can cause them to warp and make your fan wobble. A high quality finish will resist against blistering, tarnishing, fading and corrosion, while less advanced finishes can peel, bubble and corrode quickly. Virtually all ceiling fans have reversible blade rotation, but many homeowners are unclear on which way the blades should turn. In warm weather, the fan should rotate counter-clockwise to create wind to cool you down. In colder weather, the blades should spin clockwise at low speed to push the warm air near the ceiling down (heat rises, remember?). Ceiling fan blades should be evenly weighted and balanced by the manufacturer prior to shipment to avoid wobble. However, if the fan is wobbly after installation, make sure that all connections are properly aligned and tightly fastened. Hold a yardstick vertically along the edges of the blades to check their alignment. If a blade is misaligned, try gently bending the misaligned blade holder into proper position. If all blades are aligned, use a balancing kit to correct the problem. These kits are either provided with the fan or can be sent by the manufacturer. Ceiling fans can weigh as much as 50 pounds, so most ceilings need to be braced to support the additional weight. Ceiling fans need additional support from above and need to be anchored solidly to a ceiling joist. But if the joist is not located in the center of the room where the fan is to mounted, a special ceiling fan mounting bracket with spiked ends should be installed between joists. A licensed electrician will be able to install the fan securely and take care of the wiring. Installing a ceiling fan is much more complicated than installing light fixture. It is advised to use the appropriate UL-listed metal outlet box marked "For Use with Ceiling Fans." The box is mounted above the ceiling and houses all wiring needed to operate and connect the ceiling fan. If you are replacing a ceiling fixture, most likely you will need to replace the electrical box. To avoid complications, it is best to hire a licensed electrician to install the ceiling fan. Be sure to check references, and make sure the contractor is properly insured and holds the proper certification.
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.
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