Buying Guide to Ceiling Fans

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6 Things to Know Before You Buy

In addition to cooling the air and increasing circulation, ceiling fans create decorative focal points in the home. Knowing what to look for in a ceiling fan helps you choose the best model for your needs.

Fact #1: Types/Styles

Ceiling fans are available in a wide variety of designs and styles, such as traditional, Victorian, Asian-inspired, Mission, Craftsman and contemporary. There are even ceiling fans for children's rooms designed to fit particular themes. Some models serve a dual purpose and also feature light fixtures. Most ceiling fans are for the interior, but there are some models designed for outdoor use.

Fact #2: Size

You can find a fan to fit just about any space in the home - from large fans for placement in high-ceiling spaces like great rooms, to models perfect for smaller areas such as bedrooms, kitchens, entryways and even walk-in closets. The key to selecting the right size fan for a room is to match the room's dimensions to the fan's blade span, which refers to the size of the fan from blade tip to blade tip.

A 32-inch fan will cover up to 80 square feet; a 42-inch fan, 80-120 square feet; a 44-inch fan, 120-144 square feet, and a 52-inch fan works well for 144 or more square feet. In rooms larger than 300-square feet, you'll require two or more 52-inch fans to generate sufficient air circulation. And in very small rooms, the fan should be small enough that the blade tips are at least 15 inches from all walls.

Fact #3: Placement

For safety, fans should be installed no lower than 7 to 8 feet from the floor. If the ceilings are low, you'll need a low-profile or hugger fan that has a close or flush-mount. And in order to get sufficient air circulation with high ceilings, you'll require a long downrod that brings the fan closer to the floor. Sloped ceilings call for special treatment with an angle mount and a downrod.

Fact #4: Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient ceiling fan models with the ENERGY STAR seal of approval can save on energy costs. If the fan has a light that is energy efficient, it will conserve even more. Most ceiling fans also have a reverse motor feature that allows you to adjust the fan during the winter month so that it circulates warm air.

Fact #5: Accessories

Rather than operate with pull cords like older ceiling fans, newer models generally feature wall controls that enable you to turn the fan on and off and adjust its speed. Some fans also have a remote control that allows you to make adjustments from anywhere in the room.

Fact #6: Outdoor Models

If you want a ceiling fan for the exterior of your home, you must choose one that is designed for outdoor use. Such a model will have a UL damp or wet rating, which means that it can be exposed to the elements without sustaining damage such as warped blades.

Now that you're armed with all of the facts regarding buying a ceiling fan, you can choose the best model for keeping you cool and comfortable.