By John. Ceiling Fan. Published at Friday, August 17th, 2018 - 18:28:34 PM.
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.
Ceiling Fan Buying Tips Ceiling fans have been around for a very long time, the fan we all know being well over 150 years old; however, they are becoming a lot more common these days. With the multitude of shapes, sizes, colors and feature options now on the market, deciding on what type of ceiling fan to purchase can be a headache. It really does not need to be this way. These exotic fan features have all been produced to fit a variety of peoples needs and wants, and a lot of them were also designed to make installing a ceiling fan a lot easier. Here are some things you should do before you actually go out and purchase your ceiling fan. Pull out the tape measure: You will need to know the size of the room before you buy your ceiling fan. This will let you know what type of fan that you will need to buy. Rooms that are around 100 square feet, you will most likley be looking at a 36" fans. A 42" fan for rooms that are even larger then that. If you need a ceiling fan for rooms over 144 square feet, you will be looking at 44" and 48" ceiling fans. There are even larger fans then that for larger rooms. The biggest ceiling fans are 60" wide. A fan like this is able to cover rooms of up to 625 square feet! Now thats a big fan! Will the fan be indoors or outdoors? Outdoor fans are pretty hard to come by, but there are some available on the market. These types of fans are designed with the high temperatures, low temperatures, dirt, dryness and humidity of outdoor conditions in mind. That is why an indoor fan should NEVER be installed in outdoor conditions. Make sure you purchase the right fan for the right conditions. Some fan manufacturers have lifetime warranties on both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans. Whats your style? You know what your style is. Ceiling fan styles are usually grouped into Hippie, Standard, Modern, Futuristic and Abstract. The most Hippie design available today on the market is the Hunter 1886 styles. Lots of ceiling fan designs will resemble the very first ceiling fans ever to come out- the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and look either Hippie or Standard depending on where the ceiling fan is installed. Five blade fans are Modern, and three-blade fans are more on the Futuristic side. What are Abstract fans? The Football Fan is just one of those. Lighting? Most of the ceiling fans available today will allow you to add lighting to it if you would like. Actually, a lot of fans will come with the lighting kits as part of the purchase. If light is needed in the very core of your setting, in addition to the fan, you can choose to buy the fan and lighting kits separately or as one whole package. If you buy them separately, its best to match manufacturers so you know that they will both fit each other. Powering the ceiling fan: Before recently, to control your ceiling fan and the lighting on that fan from a switch, you needed a three-conductor wire in between the switch and the wall. Now some fan manufacturers make controls that will allow you to wire up with your existing two-conductor wires. And even more, pretty much all fan-and-light combinations on the market can be packaged with a remote control that only needs two wires at the ceiling box to give it power. Support for the ceiling fan: This one of the most important aspects to installing your ceiling fan. A full assembly fan weighs alot. Actually, even the small ones weigh alot. Fans also move; a ceiling fan could not be mounted on a standard lighting fixture. It will most likely tumble to the floor. Most ceiling fan manufacturers have standard instructions packaged for mounting the fan to a certain type of mounting item above the junction item. This will be your best bet, but another option is installing a special fan box, either on the mounting or latched to it. To cool or not to cool? Most people think of ceiling fans as a device to keep a place colder. This is the most common use, but they are just as useful for keeping a room warm when it is cold outside during those winter months. Make sure you purchase a fan that will blow in the downwards direction during warm weather and upwards in cold weather. Blowing upwards will cause the warmest air in the setting up and out, to come back down along the sides of the room. It will definitely make the floor a lot warmer, and you will notice this
Why Do Ceiling Fans Have a Reversing Switch? What is the reason for having a reverse button on ceiling fans? Well "they" say that you cannot stand a draft during winter months, but that you can equalize the air temperature buy using your fan in the reverse direction. I always wondered why the older ceiling fans did not have a reverse button. Were the people who designed those fans, just too stupid to think about using reverse in winter? During winter, when you use the central heating system, the warm air coming out of the registers, in each room, will naturally rise and because the registers are up high already, the hot air will build at the ceiling level and gradually work its way down toward floor level. The heating unit runs until the temperature is comfortable at the lower levels of the rooms. But by the time this happens, it will be very hot at the ceiling level. Many BTUs are wasting heating the ceiling areas of the home, where we dont live our lives. But what if there was a way to get this hot air down off the ceiling, to the lower levels where we live. The heating unit would not need to work as long and the savings on our utility bill could be significant. AHH CEILING FANS! will bring this air down and mix the hot air with the cooler air at floor level. This mixing would basically equalize the temperature at floor and ceiling levels, which means that the heat would not be wasted keeping the ceilings warm. The heating unit would not run as much. The utility bill will be lower while the comfort level will remain the same. But then someone said that the draft created by the ceiling fans would be too much for winter months. So someone else said "well, lets just reverse the ceiling fans and let the air blow up until it hits the ceiling and then it will go horizontal in all directions until it hits the walls. Then it will come down vertically until it hits the floor. Now it will travel, at floor level, back in toward the center of the room and then back up to the ceiling fan. What a genius! Now everyone can use ceiling fans to equalize the temperature without feeling a draft in winter. Oh yea! So what happens when this warm air starts down the walls and hits furniture, bookshelves, etc? It will start a horizontal movement toward the center of the room. Now when it comes out past the obstruction, will it turn and fall toward the floor, where it can mix? If warm air falls instead of rising, then I guess it could. What happens when air from the ceiling fans hits the ceiling in a room with a sloped ceiling? If the ceiling fan is centered in the room, it would be basically half way up the slope. So wouldnt all the air go directly up the slope from where the ceiling fan is mounted? What about the other half of the room? What happens when the room is large? Will the force, coming down the walls, still be enough to get this warm air to the floor, especially when the ceiling is two stories high? What happens when ceiling fans are in a room with a two story high ceiling, which is open to the second floor level of the home? Wouldnt the warm air go off into the second level, instead of coming down to the floor and in this situation, wouldnt the ceiling fan steal the warm air from the first level and take it to the second floor, defeating the purpose for which it is being used? On the other hand, if you blow the air down, the hot air at the ceiling level will be forced down to floor level where it will move in all directions toward the outer walls of the room. The air can now mix and seek its own level. The hotter air will naturally rise to the ceiling level where it will be picked up by the fan to repeat the cycle. So wouldnt this be much more efficient than using reverse, especially in the scenario where the ceiling is two stories high and open to the second floor? But what about the draft? I say just run the ceiling fan at a low speed or the highest speed that you can tolerate and still be comfortable. Could reverse on ceiling fans be a marketing tool to sell fans in winter? You decide. But I do not think that the old folks overlooked something as important as this. I think that they used what was most efficient. I agree and my ceiling fans always blow down, winter and summer. And if you happen to have a room with the two story ceiling where the room is open to the second level, and where you notice the upstairs is always hot while the lower level is cold during winter, try using your ceiling fans in the down direction. You will not believe the difference!
New Energy Star Ceiling Fan is Over 300% More Efficient! Having been in the ceiling fan business for over 20 years, it is rare that a new ceiling fan gets me excited. But while researching the efficiency ratings of the latest introductions this year, one model clearly stood out among all others. The Midway Eco from Emerson Electric, which is an impressive new Energy Star Ceiling Fan that is Over 300% More Efficient than other fans. This represents a major breakthrough in ceiling fan performance and technology, setting a new standard for energy efficient ceiling fans. Emerson developed an entirely new motor for the Midway Eco Ceiling Fans called the "EcoMotor TM". The EcoMotor TM uses up to 75% less energy compared to other ceiling fans. The blades have an airfoil shape for better aerodynamics and move up to 40% more air than typical fan blades. The built-in light uses four 13 watt fluorescent lamps to provide maximum illumination at a very low wattage. With these new innovations, the Emerson Midway Eco far surpassed the Energy Star testing requirements established by the EPA. As a matter of fact, the test results prove it to be over 3 times (or 300%) more energy efficient than any other Energy Star ceiling fans with lights. This means that the Midway Eco will move substantially more air while using a fraction of the electricity making it the ultimate choice for energy conscious consumers who wish to reduce their carbon footprint. Although Emerson does not claim that the Midway Eco is 300% more efficient than other fans, I made this observation myself after reviewing the test results published by the EPA, for ALL Energy Star Ceiling Fans with lights. In order for any ceiling fan to be Energy Star qualified, it must meet EPA standards for quality and durability. But most important, it must undergo a standardized testing procedure adopted by the EPA to calculate the efficiency of the fan. During the test, sensors measure the CFMs (Cubic Feet per Minute) of airflow the fan produces while recording the amount of electricity it consumes. The efficiency rating is calculated by dividing the CFMs produced by the Watts consumed (CFM/WATTS). This information is labeled on the fan packaging of every Energy Star ceiling fan giving consumers a standardized way of comparing the performance between different models. For such a comparison is critical for those who are energy conscious. As you will see in the data below, there are substantial differences in the efficiency ratings of many Energy Star ceiling fans. The data that I used to perform my analysis is published by the EPA and can be found at www.energystar.gov. If you wish to confirm my observations, download the spreadsheet under Ceiling Fans with Light Kits named "ceiling_fan_with_lightkit_prod_list.xls". Here are my findings based that data: There are 126 Energy Star ceiling fans in total, which represents all of the various finishes available for each model. I removed the finish variations to get to the actual base models since each finish is just a duplicate of the actual fan. This brought the total down to 33 Energy Star qualified ceiling fans with lights available in the USA from all brands combined. The table below represents my findings sorted by the most efficient to the least efficient. The Emerson Midway Eco is at the top with an efficiency rating of 620.20 CFM/Watt on Low Speed, 476.6 CFM/Watt on Medium and 289.0 CFM/Watt on High.
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