Published at Thursday, June 07th, 2018 - 01:40:44 AM. Ceiling Fan. By John.
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.
Buying the Right Ceiling Fans For Your Home The two primary concerns to address when looking for the right ceiling fans for your home are style and function. A related concern is the quality of the ceiling fans because these fixtures have a wide range of prices available and the price usually reflects the quality. Even if your home has central air conditioning, ceiling fans can be an attractive, elegant, and cost-saving addition. If your home is constructed with wood as the primary material and you have wooden flooring, ceiling fans with wooden blades that complement the type of wood used as flooring can add a real touch of class. A lighted ceiling fan mounted over the dining room table with wooden blades that match the table can provide the right decorating touch to make the dining experience more comfortable and relaxing. The light breeze generated by the fan can provide additional comfort when you are serving a number of people in a small area such as the dining room. Ceiling fans can be used throughout the house. In a family or living room they can provide a soft breeze and even additional lighting to make reading or other leisure activities more enjoyable. Bedrooms are ideal locations for ceiling fans. A soft, comforting breeze can help you relax and fall asleep and can provide an enjoyable experience when you wake up in the morning. Look in a variety of home and garden magazines for ideas regarding where and how to use ceiling fans throughout your home. Check the Internet for ceiling fan manufacturers websites. Many offer "tours" though a home that highlight the multitude of uses for ceiling fans. Let creativity and personal taste be your guide when deciding how to equip your home with these elegant fixtures. Air conditioning provides cooling but it doesnt give you the cool, comforting breeze you get from a ceiling fan. A reversible ceiling fan will provide a cooling effect in the hot summer months and push warm air down from the ceiling in the cold winter months, helping you save on heating costs. As you survey each room you are considering for a ceiling fan, keep in mind several factors. Make sure the size of the room dictates the blade width of the ceiling fan selected for that room. A lighting store, home center or Internet website that sells ceiling fans will be able to guide you in selecting the right size fan for the square footage of a particular room. Decide if you need the additional light that is provided by a ceiling fan that includes lighting fixtures. When in doubt, select a fan that has a separate lighting kit available that can be added at a later time should you decide that you need more light. Check out the ceiling height of the room. Low ceilings will limit the type of ceiling fans you can choose while high ceilings may require some modifications such as a down rod to install the ceiling fan so it is only 7 or 8 feet from the floor. Make sure that the style of ceiling fan complements the décor of the room. Ceiling fans come in a wide variety of styles and themes and you should have no trouble narrowing down your options. Finally, seriously consider a fan that can have its rotation reversed. The benefits include better cooling in the summer and better heating in the winter. Once you have made the necessary decisions with respect to the type of ceiling fan(s) you need, its time to go shopping. There are a number of places that sell ceiling fans. First, there are brick and mortar stores that specialize in lighting. Many carry only one or two brands and this will limit your choices. In addition, lighting stores usually arent large enough to have all the models displayed, which further limits your choices. Also, keep in mind that many lighting stores need to sell at or close to retail in order to pay for the overhead it takes to operate a store. Finally, you need to be cautious when dealing with salespeople. While many are conscientious and put the customers needs first, there are some that will try to push an overstocked model on you or sell you a fan that gives them a higher commission. On the positive side, when you are dealing with a local brick and mortar store, customer service is usually good and you can often get some pretty good advice from employees that are familiar with these products. I have mixed feelings about buying ceiling fans from home centers. Many home centers appeal to buyers because they believe that this is the place to get discounts and save money. While this may be true, the quality of the merchandise that is available may be the trade-off. Home centers often buy in large lots and get a good wholesale discount from the manufacturer. However, many specialize in the lower cost (and perhaps lower quality) fans. The selection is often limited and the expertise of the salespeople is often limited as well. You might get lucky and find just what youre looking for at one of these centers, but my guess is that what they have available will dictate what you will more than likely end up purchasing. The Internet has some definite advantages when shopping for ceiling fans. It also has some disadvantages. On the positive side, you can find just about every make and model on any number of websites. Because its relatively easy to list an item, many websites display everything the ceiling fan manufacturer has to offer. Most good websites will also provide specifications and other relevant information about each listing. Being sensitive to the overhead issues at brick-and-mortar stores, some manufacturers and drop shippers who wholesale to websites, add a percentage onto the wholesale prices they offer to make the website pricing somewhat more competitive. Still and all, you can usually get the best price for a specific ceiling fan on a website. Most websites make it easy to buy and many transactions can be finalized in just a few minutes. On the somewhat negative side, when you are dealing with a website, you have no face-to-face contact with the seller and so that intuitive sense of trust or not to trust is missing. In addition, while most websites have come a long way in trying to build buyer confidence in their integrity and reliability, this is sometimes still a factor. Also, it may take a week or so to get what you paid for when you order a ceiling fan online. Customer service is the final issue. When you have a problem, how do you know whether or not the website vendor will be responsive. Make sure there is a telephone number on the website that will allow you to talk to a live person. This will go a long way in building trust and getting problems resolved to everyones satisfaction.
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