From summertime cool-downs to winter-ready temperature maintenance, ceiling fans deliver powerful environmental effects for every room. Bonus: They’re decorating essentials, too, helping to complete the look of a room. If you haven’t updated or added to your overhead collection in a while, the American Lighting Association (ALA) has five reasons for you to consider a new ceiling fan.
1. Ceiling fans help you stay comfortable. We’ve all been in rooms that are either too hot or too cold, or ones that feel as though the air has a hard time circulating. But a room with a ceiling fan sees a huge difference in the amount of air moved (otherwise know as CFM or cubic feet per minute). “In summer, ceiling fans create a wind chill effect that makes the room feel six to eight degrees cooler than the actual ambient temperature,” saysJoe Rey-Barreau, Education Consultant for the ALA and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design. In fact, CFM, which ranges from 2,000 to 10,000, may be more important than motor size. A good rule of thumb:
Choose a 48- to 52-inch-wide fan with about 4,500CFM, says Bethany Pirtle, Manager of Marketing and Creative Design with Emerson Fans.
2. Ceiling fans add beauty. Far from a limited palette of decorating choices, ceiling fan varieties have expanded by the hundreds, with manufacturers creating designs that are early as personalized as a one-of-a-kind paint swatch. Fans come in solid finishes, sans blades, enabling buyers to select blades that match their distinctive style, as well as in different widths and colors. “The fan is no longer considered just an appliance, as it may have been in the 1980s,” says Pirtle. “The focus on fans as a part of the home's décor has greatly increased over the past decade. In many cases, a ceiling fan can make a bold aesthetic statement within a living space, becoming a focal point of the design of the room. We constantly review new trends in furniture, lighting and décor styles to meet the market demand for ceiling fans that coordinate with personal style.”
3. Ceiling fans can be sized to every space. No longer are homeowners completely bound by a room’s size when it comes to fan selection. In fact, some traditionally sized fans may be better fits for those smaller spaces, based on airflow needs and overall aesthetics. In addition, mini fans—some with just a single blade and small powerhouse motors—can fit in areas as small as closets. For general guidance, says Pirtle, use these measurements:
a. Small Room (0-75 sq. ft.) = 36" diameter fan
b. Small/Medium Room (76-144 sq. ft.) = 42"-50" diameter fan
c. Medium Room (144-225 sq. ft.) = 52"-54" diameter fan
d. Large Room (225-400 sq. ft.) = 54"-72" diameter fan
e. Great Room (400+ sq. ft.) = 52"-72" with more than one fan installation
4. Ceiling fans work year round. Many homeowners still turn their ceiling fans off during cooler months, thinking air flow an unnecessary consideration. That’s a mistake, says Pirtle. “During the winter months, it increases energy efficiency to run your ceiling fan in reverse on low speed. Hot air rises and the fan’s winter flow circulates warm air downward, which equalizes the temperature in the room, allowing for your thermostat to be set lower in the winter with the same benefit of comfort,” says Pirtle. TIP: If you get confused about which rotation is best for which season, pay attention to the air movement. Breezy air from the fan equals a cooling effect; minimal air movement pushes warm air into the room for a wintertime benefit.
5. Ceiling fans have the latest technology in place. Your phone, your laptop: They’ve all gotten smaller, and many appliances are consuming much less energy, too. A ceiling fan can save homeowners as much as 40 percent on their air conditioning bills by creating a breeze that makes the ambient temperature feel seven or eight degrees cooler than it actually is You can set your thermostat at 80 degrees and it will feel like it is set at 72 degrees.
Technology has played a part in the latest changes in ceiling fans, too, that have allowed fans to achieve high CFM ratings with reduced energy usage. “The industry has seen a shift within the last few years with the introduction of the Brushless Direct Current motor to the ceiling fan industry,” says Pirtle. “Depending on how it's tweaked for the individual fan design, these motors consume only 18-33 watts of energy. For practical applications, that's less than $.01 per hour, using standard electric costs.” Some fans have circuit boards and optic sensors that adjust to run faster or slower depending on the weight of the blade installed, and most come with wall or hand-held controls.