Before air conditioning, ceiling fans were responsible for keeping homes cool in the summer and keeping indoor air fresh year-round. Even now, ceiling fans are popular among many homeowners, thanks in large part to their much lower energy usage and simplicity when compared to air conditioners. Plus, the freshness of moving air is a desirable feature for many people, at any time of year.
Below are some useful and comprehensive facts about ceiling fans that just might turn you into a fan of the ubiquitous and ever present blades that make the air feel nicer inside our homes.
Ceiling Fan Basics
Ceiling fans have been in use for more than a century, with the first electric model created by Philip Diehl in 1882. He affixed two paddle-blades to a motor from a sewing machine to create a long sought-after means of cooling indoor temperatures. Today, modern ceiling fans are found in 75% of homes, regardless of whether or not the homes have an air conditioning unit.
Unlike air conditioners, fans merely move around air already found within the home, creating a cooling sensation strictly from the movement of air (whereas air conditioners blow cooled air from a much more complex apparatus). The movement of air that fans provide is called convective cooling, and it is no different from the method of cooling that hand-held paper fans provide.
What Size Ceiling Fan Do I Need For Different-Sized Living Spaces?
When it comes to finding out which type of ceiling fan fits best in your home, there are many factors to consider. Below are typical sizes of fans that are best in different rooms.
Extra Small Room
This could include areas such as small offices or powder rooms of up to 50 square feet. You should use fan blades that are less than 29 inches to create the ideal amount of airflow in these rooms.
Small bathrooms, foyers, or other areas between 50 and 75 square feet should use fans that are between 29 and 36 inches in diameter.
For medium-sized bathrooms, average-sized bedrooms, or typical home offices between 75 and 175 square feet, it is best to install fans that are between 42 and 48 inches in diameter.
Big bathrooms, master bedrooms, typical dining rooms, or other large rooms of 175 to 350 square feet are best served with fans that measure between 52 and 56 inches.
Extra Large Room
This could include large living rooms or expansive front rooms with high ceilings. Basically, anything more than 350 square feet requires a fan greater than 60 inches to adequately service the entire area.
How Can I Measure a Ceiling Fan?
Measuring a ceiling fan is simple. First, you’ll need a step ladder or something sturdy to stand on. (Unless you are measuring a fan before installation, in which case you can do that on the ground.)
Take any standard tape measure, hold it to the tip of a fan blade on a fully assembled fan, and extend it across the opposite blade to find the diameter. If there’s an odd number of blades, you’ll need to measure the radius, which is from the tip of the blade to the center of the entire unit, and then multiply that number by two.
Why Does a Ceiling Fan Make Noise?
Fans that are not installed flush with the ceiling can make noises — this is especially likely if the fan contains dimmable LED light fixtures or is coupled with a chandelier. However, dust and dirt on fan blades can throw the blades off balance as well, leading to a shaking fan when operational — and subsequently leading to noise. Any warped, damaged, or uneven blades can also lead to unwanted noise.
What Is the Most Effective Ceiling Fan?
The most effective ceiling fans are low-profile units with reversible motors and downrod blade pitch. These factors are important because they affect the amount of electricity fans use and how well they cool the area. In summertime, it’s important to make sure the fans move air downward, which is usually accomplished by spinning counterclockwise. In winter, this is reversed to keep the warm air circulating efficiently.
Ceiling fans without light fixtures are also more effective and energy efficient. However, if you really want to have lighting incorporated with your fan, it’s best to find a model that uses LED bulbs. This will reduce your electricity usage down to similar levels as a light-free fan.
Ceiling Fan Efficiency
While fans are typically energy efficient, they still use energy. They can also lead to unnecessary kilowatt-hours being gobbled up as many people have the idea that fans will keep a room cool when nobody is around to feel the air moving.
The truth is, they only make the air feel cooler — they do not keep rooms ambiently cooler like air conditioning units. Still, if you leave your fan on by mistake, at least it is much more efficient than the AC.
How Much Electricity Does a Ceiling Fan Use?
Ceiling fans don’t use much electricity. Most ceiling fans cost around $0.006-$0.01 per hour on average, with a kWh cost of $0.12 (based on the national U.S. average rate, though this can be less with electricity providers such as Tara Energy). However, the ultimate cost depends largely on factors such as fan speed and whether you use lights with your fan or not.
This low electricity rate is a main reason why ceiling fans are still, to this day, so commonly used. They are unmatched in terms of cost-effectiveness and energy-efficiency.
Are Lower Ceiling Fan Speeds More Efficient?
Running ceiling fans at lower speeds is more energy efficient. With all types, makes, and models of fans, running on medium is more efficient than running on high, and low is more efficient than medium.
Do Bladeless Ceiling Fans Work Well?
Bladeless ceiling fans work very well — they tend to work even better than traditional fan blades.
Bladeless ceiling fans are a modern upgrade to the traditional fan that everyone has loved since the 1800s. While they may look completely different, they get the job done. In fact, the best bladeless ceiling fans are able to cool down any room, regardless of how big it is.
Their incredible cooling comes from their design. Air is sucked in and then pushed out by blades that are hidden inside the base (bladeless fans still have blades, they’re just hidden). They are also particularly useful for low ceilings because of their encased blades. You don’t have to worry about your head getting hit by the ceiling fan if it’s bladeless.
Do Ceiling Fans Save You Money If You Have Air Conditioning?
Yes, ceiling fans save you money by quite a significant margin. Even if a home has air conditioning, ceiling fans are still efficient at cooling spaces and use much less energy. Because they require much less energy, they cost much less, especially in comparison to AC. Your savings will be even greater if you receive your power from a leading low-cost provider.
Many homes come with ceiling fans already installed in at least one room, typically a dining room, kitchen, or other bedroom. But there are several reasons why you might want to replace the standard units or add more to your home. Perhaps you prefer more energy-efficient fans, or you want longer fan blades, or you simply want to have more fans throughout the house. Whatever the reason, ceiling fans are easy to find and come in a wide variety of options.
What Are the Best Ceiling Fans to Buy?
When determining the best ceiling fans to buy, remember that there are many different measurements of how each fan could be considered best. For this reason, below are seven different categories of “best” fan with industry-leading options suggested for each one.
Best Overall Ceiling Fan
Hunter Transitional 52-Inch Ceiling Fan: This is a quiet, stylish, and incredibly efficient fan.
Best Ceiling Fan Design
Minka-Aire Light Wave LED 52-inch Ceiling Fan: The design features a beautiful finish that is meant to mimic Koa wood.
Best Ceiling Fan With Attached LED Lights
Honeywell Carnegie Industrial Farmhouse LED Ceiling Fan: The lights look great. They’re energy efficient, and the fan runs well with them attached.
Best Indoor Ceiling Fan for Large Rooms
Home Decorators Collection Kensgrove 64-Inch Ceiling Fan: The huge, powerful motor works well to cool large rooms.
Best Hugger Ceiling Fan
Hunter Low Profile IV Traditional Ceiling Fan: Reversible blades and gorgeous styles create the best hugger fan on the market.
Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan
Hunter Caicos Outdoor 52-Inch Ceiling Fan: An included remote control and possible Wi-Fi integration allow you to adjust settings, speeds, and more from anywhere you like.
Best Budget Ceiling Fan
Harbor Breeze Armitage Ceiling Fan: Priced as low as $50, this fan can cool spaces of up to 400 square feet.
What Are the Best Places To Buy Ceiling Fans?
There are countless hardware stores, appliance stores, and home improvement stores that sell high-quality ceiling fans. However, Home Depot is a leader, though Lowe’s is right behind them, in terms of availability and selection. Amazon is taking a large share of the market because of its convenience and wide selection as well. All fans listed above can be bought from these three places.
Other leading retailers include Westinghouse, Target, True Value, Costco, Menards, West Elm, and more.
The Benefits of a Good Ceiling Fan
As we’ve mentioned, there are numerous benefits to having a good ceiling fan. They can help reduce energy costs when cooling your home, especially when you utilize an electricity provider such as Tara Energy, and are much better for the environment than air conditioning units.
In addition to their utility, fans can add style and glam to your home. They can be used as accents or finishes that complement your indoor or outdoor styles. With models that range from pewter to matte black to oil rubbed bronze, or ultramodern units that come in brushed nickel or satin nickel, ceiling fans are often a strong focal point. Their versatile functionality and the additional lighting that they provide are also beneficial.
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