Ceiling Fan Buying Guide

Keeping cool is a must as summer temperatures soar, and ceiling fans can make a real difference to your comfort and energy costs.

Even if you have central air conditioning, ceiling fans can save you about 2-3 percent on energy costs each year. When blades are rotating clockwise, air is pushed down to the floor, creating a wind chill and evaporating perspiration on the skin, making you feel cooler. Come winter, you can reverse the rotation to draw air up, pushing warm air at the ceiling toward the walls, where it falls to the floor, helping to keep rooms more evenly warm.

From size and efficiency to placement and motor quality, there’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a ceiling fan. Here’s what you need to know.

Pay attention to room size

The square footage of your room will determine the size of ceiling fan needed. For example, a 42-inch fan is ideal for rooms up to 100 square feet, such as bedrooms, while a 56-inch fan is best for spaces up 400 square feet, such as large living rooms. For open-concept spaces or rooms that are long or L-shaped, you may want to opt for two smaller fans for more effective air movement.

Look for air flow and efficiency ratings

industrial matte black chandelier

Ceiling fans are rated by the amount of air they move, in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Good fans have a CFM of 4,000 to 5,000, and better options range 5,000 to 6,000. But if you’re looking for the best, you’ll want to go with a ceiling fan rated over 6,000 CFM.

Ceiling fan efficiency is all about the motor, and the DC Slim Echo Motor from Emerson is one of the best—up to three times more efficient than other motors.

You’ll also want to pay attention to the air flow efficiency—the CFM per watt (CFM/w), which is measured when the fan is run on its high setting. A high CFM/w rating means the ceiling fan is moving a lot of air without using a whole lot of energy, and that’s going to keep you more comfortable while saving you money.

Proper hanging height and placement may require extra parts

industrial matte black chandelier
industrial matte black chandelier

Ceiling fans should be placed in the centre of a room, at least 18 inches away from walls. For optimal circulation, it’s best to hang ceiling fans eight to nine feet from the floor, but they must clear seven feet. Fans with metal blades have to be hung higher—at least 10 feet above the floor—for safety.

If you have very high ceilings, a downrod can be added to position the fan closer to the optimal height; these rods come in lengths up to 70 inches. In order to hang a fan from a sloped ceiling, you’ll need to know the pitch of the ceiling to get the right sloped ceiling kit.

Check motor quality and warranty before purchasing

The motor can make or break a ceiling fan—it’s what keeps the fan going, and it’s usually the part that’s going to fail first. A good motor will have sealed bearings, offering quieter running, a longer lifespan, and less maintenance because they don’t require lubrication.

You’ll know the motor isn’t performing well if the fan’s speed is slowing down and it isn’t performing at its best. This is typically covered under warranty, but be sure to ask about the motor warranty before you buy. (Tip: Always complete the warranty registration—it’ll make your life easier if you need a repair or replacement, and you’ll be notified if there’s ever a recall.)

Coordinate the style and materials to your home

Ceiling fans come in a wide range of styles and materials, making it easier than ever to integrate them in beautiful spaces. Fans with two or three blades tend to look more modern than fans with four or five blades.

Blades also come in a range of materials, including metal, wood, ABS plastic (which can be made to look like wood), and MDF with a laminate coating. And you can get ceiling fans with or without integrated lights.

It’s worth noting that the blade shape and number of blades on a fan doesn’t affect efficiency, so you can choose the style that fits your aesthetic.

For people who spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, a ceiling fan installed on a porch, patio or pool cabana is a real treat. Damp-listed ceiling fans are designed for outdoor areas that are not directly exposed to weather, such as covered patios. Wet-listed fans are designed to avoid weather damage. They’re suited to uncovered gazeboes, exposed porches, open-air patios, and open-air decks.

If you have questions about ceiling fans, visit your local ROBINSON Lighting and Bath showrooms to chat with one of our knowledgeable sales associates. Or, browse our online store.

Tagged: ceiling fan, design