The Ceiling Fan Buyer Guide


The Basics

Every summer (or year round if you’re in the South) homeowners are reminded of the many benefits of ceiling fans. In addition to cooling the home, ceiling fans are energy-efficient, with the average fan only using as much energy as an 100 watt light bulb. Homeowners can save almost 40% off their air conditioning bill by using a ceiling fan!

Traditional, contemporary, modern, and even novelty fans are fantastic options to cool your home. Before you make any purchases, however, it is important to know a few basic choices you will have to make. By following this step-by-step ceiling fan buyer guide, you will be well equipped to choose the best fan for your home. Read below to get the facts.

outdoor_ceiling_fansIndoor vs. Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Will you be using your fan indoors or outdoors? Believe it or not, the placement of the fan makes a huge difference in which fan will work in a room. Indoor ceiling fans are pretty universal and can be used in a living room, a bedroom, a hallway, or anywhere else inside your home if size permits. Outdoor ceiling fans vary depending on their location.

Outdoor fans are available in two varieties: damp rated and wet rated. Damp rated ceiling fans should be used in areas that may become slightly damp due to the elements, but will not be in direct contact with rain, snow, or ocean spray. Screened-in porches will typically use damp rated ceiling fans. Wet rated ceiling fans can withstand direct contact with water. Porticos, open porches, and verandas in the tropics should be cooled with wet rated fans.

Here is a tip to remember: if it comes down to it, outdoor fans can be used inside, but indoor fans should not be used outside.

Once you’ve decided whether you need an indoor, outdoor damp rated, or outdoor wet rated ceiling fan, it’s time to choose your fan base and blades.

Selecting Your Fan Base

The base of a ceiling fan consists of the ceiling connection, downrod and motor (a.k.a. the entire fan minus the blades). Many ceiling fan bases and blades are available separately, allowing you to choose your favorite combination to match your home’s design aesthetic. SUPPLY.com has a wide-range of ceiling fan bases for you to choose from, like the modern Fanimation Zonix or the classic Craftmade Civic. Interested in the more practical side of things? Consider a fan with a reversible motor to assist in heating your home during the winter.

When choosing a base, be sure to look closely at the product information to see if fan blades are included with your base. If not, blades will need to be purchased separately.

Selecting Your Fan Blades

fan_bladesIf your fan base does not come with blades, or if you do not like the blades included with your fan base, you will need to choose blades. Fan blades come in various finishes and sizes, with blades being brand specific. This means a Craftmade fan base will only be compatible with Craftmade fan blades, and a Kichler base will only work with Kichler blades.

After determining how many blades your fan needs (usually 4 or 5), you will then need to explore which blades compliment your base. Some bases, like the Craftmade Bloom ceiling fan, have several compatible blade options while others only have one choice.

One thing to consider when choosing fan blades is the size of your room. Smaller rooms can be cooled with a short-bladed fan while the same fan in a large room will not be as effective. Some fan blades are available in different lengths for just this purpose. And remember, outdoor fans must use damp or wet rated fan blades to ensure the blades do not rust or rot due to exposure to the elements.

Exploring Fan Downrods

Downrods suspend the fan from the ceiling to the height desired for your ultimate comfort and head clearance. Most ceiling fans include either 6-inch or 12-inch downrods.

The best height for your fan depends on your personal needs. Tall homeowners will prefer their fans to be closer to the ceiling, therefore needing a shorter downrod. Ceiling fans in two-story living rooms will require longer downrods. No downrod is needed when attaching a fan close to the ceiling.

ceiling_fan_lightDon’t Forget the Extras

Once you’ve chosen a fan, blades, and downrods, it’s time to accessorize your fan. The three most common ceiling fan accessories are lights, pulls, and remotes.

Adding a light to your ceiling fan will give it a dual purpose: to both cool and illuminate the room. When choosing a light for your ceiling fan, keep in mind the style of your home and the ceiling height. A ceiling fan with a light built into the motor, like the Casablanca Stealth fan, is a smart option for a room that already has a low ceiling. Ceiling fan lights are almost always brand exclusive, meaning, for example, that you can only pair a Kichler light with a Kichler fan.

Ceiling fan pulls are chains that when pulled turn the fan or light on and off. Pulls give you the option to turn on the fan while leaving the light off, turn on the light while leaving the fan off, or to turn both on and off. Ceiling fan remotes serve the same purpose while giving you the freedom to control your fan from anywhere in the room. Control your fan’s speed and the light from bed or on the couch. Ceiling fan remotes are great for two-story living rooms, where pulls can be too short to be useful.

Wrapping It All Up

Ceiling fans are a fantastic, energy-efficient way to cool your home. With hundreds of ceiling fans on the market, it is important to consider your individual needs to narrow down your selection. The location of the fan, ceiling height, design style of the home, and lifestyle of the homeowner should all be considered before purchasing a ceiling fan.

We hope this guide was helpful. If you have any additional questions concerning ceiling fans, feel free to call the SUPPLY.com team of product experts at (888) 426-2323 for assistance.

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