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Types of Ceiling Fans: Which is Best for Your Home?

Whether you’re relaxing in your living room or sipping on an iced tea on your front porch, who doesn’t love the gentle breeze of a ceiling fan overhead? A ceiling fan can make a room more comfortable in both the warm and cool seasons by circulating the air in your home and sparing you the expense of raising or lowering the thermostat. So, if you want to enhance a room’s appeal and add money-saving airflow, it’s time to select your ideal ceiling fan! Here are some questions for you to answer before you make a purchase that will help you select the best option.

Do You Need an Indoor or Outdoor Fan?


First up: is your ceiling fan for the interior of your home or will it be installed on a porch or covered patio? It’s possible to use an outdoor fan indoors, but never place an indoor fan outdoors.

Indoor ceiling fans are built for the interior environment of your home which does not have high humidity.

Outdoor ceiling fans include damp-rated and wet-rated fans. Both types of fans are built to protect the motors from corrosion.

  • Damp-rated ceiling fans are built to withstand some moisture yet not direct exposure to the elements. Damp-rated ceiling fans can be used in laundry rooms and bathrooms with high humidity. These fans can also be hung outside in covered patios, screened porches, or garages as long as they are fully covered and not exposed to direct rain or snow.
  • Wet-rated ceiling fans are sealed at the base to prevent moisture from leaking into the motor. This enables wet-rated fans to withstand direct water from rain, sleet, or snow, making them the best choice for pergolas and gazebos.

Do You Need an Indoor or Outdoor Fan?


After you select the correct type of fan for your space, it’s time to consider what size fan you need, which refers to the blade size of the fan. We recommend you select a fan size according to the size of the room. This is important to consider, for if the fan is too small, it won’t effectively circulate the air in the room, and if the fan is too large, you could feel like you’re sitting in a wind tunnel. The correct size fan will provide you with optimal airflow.

Follow this guide to choose the correct size:

Ceiling fan size guide Ceiling fan size guide

What is Efficient Air Flow?


Two factors determine your ceiling fan’s efficiency: CFM and air velocity.

  • CFM (cubic feet per minute) measures the volume of air moved. This refers to the cubic feet of air the fan circulates per minute, so a higher number means the fan is moving a greater volume of air, resulting in a stronger flow of air. The formula to calculate this is CFM = Area (square feet) x Velocity (feet per minute). A fan with a high CFM is also more energy efficient. Look for a CFM rating of 100 or higher. (Some fans can have a rating as low as 30.)
  • Air velocity measures the speed at which the fan moves the air, enabling you to feel the breeze more quickly. The more powerful your fan’s motor, the better equipped it is to accomplish this. A ceiling fan with high CFM and air velocity has better airflow. Look for a fan with efficient airflow that can move a large volume of air (CFM) more quickly (air velocity).

How Many Blades Should Your Fan Have?


There is a misconception that more blades mean more air circulation, yet a three-blade fan can operate just as well as a five-blade fan. The length of the blades on a fan has a greater impact than the number of blades on how a fan performs. Having longer blades, especially in larger rooms, increases airflow.

At what speed should you run your fan? Again, most people run their ceiling fans at higher speeds when it’s hot; however, this is less efficient. Running your fan at a low speed is just as effective at cooling you off, and it saves you money. Ceiling fans do not lower a room’s temperature; they cool us off by circulating air, which evaporates perspiration with a gentle breeze. So, look for a fan with longer blades and run your fan at a medium to low speed.

What Type of Mounting Do You Need?


Installing a ceiling fan is simple if you are replacing a fan. See our article Tips For Installing a Ceiling Fan for more information. You do need to choose the correct mounting type for your fan. The rule of thumb is that a ceiling fan should hang eight to nine feet from your floor to the blades. If you have a high ceiling, you will need a downrod. The types of mounting are:

  1. Single-mount fans use a shorter down rod (three to five inches) for lower ceilings (eight to nine feet).
  2. Dual-mount fans also use a shorter down rod (three to five inches) for lower ceilings (eight to nine feet) and can have a flush mount on even shorter ceilings.
  3. Hugger-Mount fans have a lower profile and have a flush mount on lower ceilings (under eight feet).
  4. Extended down rods or angled down rods attach fans to a vaulted ceiling for greater stability. To calculate what length down rod you need, subtract eight to nine feet from the total height of your room from floor to ceiling.

What Type of Material is Best?


Ceiling fans come in many different materials with varying features to choose from. Ceiling fan blades can be a modern style made with steel, aluminum, or plastic. There are many traditional blades made of wood finishes in many shades.

You can also choose from a variety of features for your new fan, which makes usability more convenient.

  1. Smart Fans are operated from an app on your smart device.
  2. Remote Controlled Fans are operated with the convenience of a hand-held remote and can be used up to 45 feet away.
  3. Pull Chain Fans are the standard with a chain to operate the fan and the light on the fan.
  4. Wall-Controlled Fans can be operated by a switch on the wall.
  5. Lights! Some fans have one light in the center and others can have multiple to fit your desired style. Other fans can be simply fans without lights. If your outdoor fan has lights, be sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions on the required lightbulbs.

Come see us at McCoy’s! We are your biggest “fans”! Let us help you select the right size and type of fan for all the rooms in your home - inside or outside, so you can relax under your new ceiling fan in no time!