Ceiling Fan Benefits & Features

A ceiling fan in the master bedroom makes sleeping more comfortable on a warm night.

Before you invest in a new central air conditioning system, you might want to take a minute and count how many ceiling fans you have in your home.

Adding a few ceiling fans could be a wise investment to make before laying out the money to install AC in your home!

With the rising cost of home energy fuels these days, ceiling fans in the rooms you spend most of your time in at home can save you money. Improved air circulation will cut home cooling costs regardless whether or not you have air conditioning.

Likely rooms to consider installing efficient ceiling fans include:

Kitchen or Nook – internal heat builds up in the kitchen; a ceiling fan will help cool the room while you cook.

Bedrooms – at night a ceiling fan will bring cooler air into your bedroom, while in the afternoon you’ll nap comfortably through the heat of the day! And the fan’s quiet, humming whirl and circulating air make sleeping so much nicer on a warm summer evening.

Living Room and Family Room – any room you spend a lot of time in will be important to add ventilation; remember that body heat is another source of internal heat, so if you have a lot of people in a single room that ceiling fan makes sense.

Great Room or Game Room – same as living room, except that you may be exercising, playing billiards or other physical activities that increase body temperature; air flow will make you more likely to stick to that workout routine during hot weather!

Den or Home Office – A home office must be comfortable or you don’t get much productive work done. Also, upstairs rooms benefit even more since they often trap warm, stagnate air more than rooms on the ground floor; using ceiling fans to direct air downward helps cool the entire house.

Economics Benefits of Ceiling Fans

Today’s fans are even more efficient, with improvements in motors, controls, blade design and reduced weight. For a few cents a day, you can run an efficient ceiling fan to keep cool air circulating and leave the thermostat a few degrees higher. An inexpensive ceiling fan can run as little as about $40. A moderate price fan will set you back about $100 to $200, but you can also spend over a $1,000 if you try real hard! The options are limitless in ceiling fans today.

Die cast housings are quieter and prevent wobbly fan blades, but more expensive than steel stamped housings.When central air conditioning became more popular, many builders stopped installing ceiling fans. But they have regained popularity in recent years, with thousands of styles, sizes, materials and features available today; you can get a ceiling fan for your toddler’s room that looks like a helicopter, a fan with old-fashioned canoe paddles for blades or a sleek modern composite blade fan with integral task or accent lighting. You name it, the industry offers just the size, style and color ceiling fan you want.

During warm weather, if you use ceiling fans along with central AC, you can make a room that is 80 degrees feel more like 72 degrees and save as much as 30 percent on air conditioning costs. Your actual savings depend on many factors, including the number of fans, size of the home, placement of fans, insulation, etc. But you can easily justify the expense of a moderately priced ceiling fan with the savings after 2 to 3 years, not to mention the intangible benefits of staying cool indoors!

Ceiling Fan Blade Features to Look For

Blade Size – most ceiling fans have three, four or five blades. Blades do not affect performance too significantly, except that larger blades will move more air than smaller ones. Expect to pay a higher price for fans with larger/more blades. Common fan blade sizes include 30, 36, 42, 50 and 60 inches and each manufacturer tends to offer 2 or 3 sizes in each product line.

Blade Pitch – the greater the angle of pitch, the more air a fan blade can more; typical ceiling fan blade pitches are from 12 to 16 degrees. Be sure the motor is made for the size and pitch of the fan blades per your manufacturer’s directions.

Blade Construction – quality ceiling fan blades are usually constructed not to warp by bonding together multiple layers of pressurized hardwood. Less expensive blades may be made of particle board which may warp, causing the fan to be noisy and/or wobble.

Blade Finish – ceiling fan blades can be made from a variety of materials and finishes; choose from naturally finished or stained woods, painted enamel, cross laminated veneer (plywood) or less expensive constant-density board veneer. Finishes can make ceiling fan blades look like natural stone, burled camphor, high luster or lacquer paint and a variety of natural wood grains such as oak, walnut, rosewood, cherry and many others. Some fans have reversible blades, with a painted side and a natural wood finish on the other; turn the blades over and it’s like having two fan styles in one! For use outdoors, you can get washable fabric covered blades or easy cleaning acrylic.

Look for a ceiling fan motor with lifetime warranty.

Type of Fan Motor – a fan with a die-cast aluminum motor will last long and should run quietly since it resonates less than steel; a die-cast zinc motor can run even smoother and quieter. Look for features such as precision bearing motors for low friction and resistance, a larger stator and multi-speed motor.

Fan Motor Size and Power – the number, pitch, size and speed of blades a fan should use are determined by motor size and power output. If the motor is too small for the blades, it will work too hard and may vibrate and run inefficiently. Warranty terms and period is a good sign of the quality of a ceiling fan motor; a high quality motor should come with a lifetime warranty.

Motor Housings and Finishes – most ceiling fan body housings are made using either die cast or stamped steel construction. Especially with a longer down rod and larger fan blades, the die cast fan housing quiets motor noise and adds stability since it is heavier and more solid; a lighter weight stamped steel housing tends to be noisier and may wobble.

Wall Controls

Ok, you use to just have a pull chain, right? Well no more; today you can select from wall switches that turn your ceiling fan on and off, adjust fan speed and turn integrated lamps on and off.

Remote Controls

If reaching the fan is hard due to the height of your ceiling fan or furniture below, you might like a remote control; an invaluable convenience in a larger living space such as a great room. Today, some lighting control systems can be programmed to set lighting levels, window blinds and shades and ceiling fans at the touch of a button or on an automated timer control.

How far over the top do you want to go with a ceiling fan? The sky … or a very high ceiling … is the limit these days.

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