The first notable ceiling fan was created in India during the 17th century using a cord and palm leaves or cloth. The device, called a punkah, was moved manually by servants when they pulled the cord. It wasn’t until 1860 that the first ceiling fan, which had now progressed to function with steam energy power, was installed in the United States. Twelve years later, a German immigrant named Philip Diehl used a sewing machine motor to invent the electric ceiling fan. Diehl’s technology brought us to where we are today.
These early inventors didn’t realize how important the ceiling fan would become. Currently, this valuable product is commonly used to provide the comfort of a cool breeze. But, more importantly, it also helps consumers save on electric bills and has minimal environmental impact.
This article will delve into the ceiling fans’ purpose related to home and energy use. Plus, this complete guide covers the color and design options available, the top brands, and what you need to know before making a ceiling fan purchase.
Why Should I Install Ceiling Fans Throughout My Home’s Living Spaces?
Cooling and heating account for 47% of energy use in a U.S. household. If you have an air conditioning unit, a simple way to practice energy conservation is to install ceiling fans throughout your home’s living spaces to help your air conditioner and furnace work more efficiently. This addition can lower your electricity use and, in turn, could save you money on your utility bills.
Ceiling fans use substantially less energy than your air conditioner, allowing you to increase your thermostat’s setting during the warm months by four degrees Fahrenheit without experiencing a reduction in comfort. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save as much as one percent per degree on your utility bill, which will add up over time.
What If I Live in a Cold Climate?
Many people don’t realize that most ceiling fans come with a reversible motor. This function allows you to reverse the direction the blades spin, which will help add a little warmth to your home. Switching your fan blades to spin in the clockwise direction on the low setting will push the natural rising warm air from the ceiling back down to circulate around the room.
This warm air circulation can save you as much as 15% on your electric bill by improving your heating system’s efficiency. Better yet, an ENERGY STAR® rated ceiling fan is 20% more efficient than conventional models.
How Much Electricity Does My Ceiling Fan Use?
When you run your heating and air conditioning unit to regulate your home’s temperature, you’re using a large amount of energy. That energy is created by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. This burning leads to carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to global warming, acid rain, smog, soot, and toxic air emissions.
Utilizing ceiling fans is an incredibly impactful way to assist with energy conservation. They can help with the efficacy of your home’s temperature regulation and potentially eliminate the need to use an air conditioner altogether. When used throughout your home’s living spaces, ceiling fans are the most energy-efficient way to control the temperature year-round.
What Does a Fan’s Efficacy, or Fan Efficiency Grade, Tell You?
Ceiling fans are the most efficient fan style for air circulation. A fan’s efficacy is the efficiency rating or grade that it earns. The rating measures how much airflow is created compared to the amount of electrical energy used.
All ceiling fans have an efficiency rating that measures airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM) per one watt (W) of electrical power used. The higher the CFM, the more energy-efficient the fan is. The most efficient ceiling fans will have a high-speed airflow rating of over 100 cubic feet per minute per watt.
What Affects a Ceiling Fan’s Efficacy?
There are a number of things that can affect a ceiling fan’s efficacy. Here are the five main factors:
- Fan blade pitch (or the angle of the fan blades)
- Fan blade design, length, and material
- Number of fan blades
- Motor design
- Motor speed
Regardless of their rating, you can improve your ceiling fans’ efficiency by using them at a medium or low speed instead of at high speed.
Are Ceiling Fans Outdated?
You may have heard from interior design shows that ceiling fans are out of style. They were indeed on a downward trend for a while. But, don’t worry — thanks to their functionality, ceiling fans have made a comeback and are still widely used in homes.
There are now ceiling fans to match just about every decorating trend. This improvement comes thanks to designers who understand the importance of an equally functional and visually appealing product. There truly is a ceiling fan to match any style from ultra-contemporary to vintage industrial or cozy cottage themes. Let’s take a look at a few of the options:
Popular Color Options for Ceiling Fans
If you’re looking for a ceiling fan that blends in, a white ceiling fan is the most traditional option. You can’t go wrong with this choice as it’s elegant, simple, and timeless. However, since modern ceiling fans have become increasingly stylish, the new trend is selecting a fan you can use as an accent for the room. There are now many color options.
Some popular color options include:
- Matte black
- Brushed nickel
- Satin nickel
- Oil rubbed bronze
- Wood tones
- Shades of reds, blues, and greens
Modern Ceiling Fan Design Options
Some ceiling models come with reversible blades, meaning one side of the fan blade is one color, and the other side of the blade is another. For example, the blades may come in white on one side and a wood tone on the other side. You then decide which side you’d like to see based on your color preference.
One benefit of reversible blades is that you can install the fan before settling on your color preference. You can view both options to determine which color choice compliments your room best. Then you go with your favorite option for easy decorating.
Another benefit to choosing a ceiling fan with reversible blades is that fans can last you many years. Suppose you decide to paint or remodel that room down the line, and the fan blade colors no longer work with your decor. In that case, you may be able to keep the same ceiling fan by using the other color on your fan’s reversible blades.
Coordinate your ceiling fans with the rooms you’re planning to install them in, not with each other. Finding a fan in a style that compliments your space allows you to use it as decor the same way you would your light fixtures. In fact, many modern ceiling fans come with light kits. A good number of those even have energy-efficient lighting with dimmable LED lights.
Are you looking for a new chandelier for your dining room? No problem. There’s a ceiling fan for that. Are you looking for a glam ceiling fan light for your living room? You can find one of those too. Don’t limit yourself to indoor ceiling fans, either. There are indoor/outdoor models as well as outdoor ceiling fans.
And if you’re concerned that it will be too difficult to control your flush mount ceiling fan because your ceiling is too high, don’t be. Pull chains are no longer the only way to operate ceiling fans. Most now come with remote controls. Some even work with wifi.
Are Bladeless Ceiling Fans Good?
Are you still worried about the aesthetics of a ceiling fan? Another great option, which is relatively new to the scene, is a bladeless model.
Bladeless ceiling fans use a stack of spinning discs placed within an enclosure. The spinning discs create destratification, which means they continuously move air around the room, mixing the airflow in a perfect vortex. The atmosphere in the room reaches and maintains a unified temperature as long as the fan is on. While bladeless fans won’t provide that instant cool breeze you’re accustomed to with traditional fans, they do have many benefits.
Bladeless ceiling fans use less energy than traditional ceiling fans. And while most standard models aren’t very noisy, bladeless models are even quieter. Plus, because they circulate the airflow in a swirling motion, rather than pushing air downward like their traditional competitors, bladeless fans don’t blow items around the room.
Since destratification prevents hot air from getting trapped on the ceiling and cool air from getting trapped on the floor, they are just as helpful as traditional ceiling fans when it comes to assisting with the year-round efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system. Bladeless ceiling fans even provide the additional bonus of reducing dust piles around your home.
Ready To Buy? Here’s What You Need To Know Before Purchasing a New Ceiling Fan
Before you make that purchase, there’s a bit more you need to know. Choosing a ceiling fan is not just about looks. Before deciding on the perfect fan for you, it’s vital to get the sizing information for each room where you’ll be installing a ceiling fan.
How Do I Know What Size Ceiling Fan I Need?
Now that you’ve made a decision on your design statement, you’ll want to narrow your search by looking for a fan that’s the right size for your room. Finding the perfect fan size for the space it’s in will ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible.
Follow these steps to find the perfect size ceiling fan for your space:
Step 1: Calculate the Ceiling Fan Blade Size Based on the Size of Your Room
When installing your fan, the blades should be no closer than 18 inches from the walls. A small room will need a small ceiling fan, and a large room will need a large ceiling fan. So, you’ll need to calculate your room’s square footage before figuring out the blade-size you need.
For rooms that are less than 75 square feet, you’ll want a small ceiling fan with a blade span of 29 to 36 inches. For rooms that range from 76 to 144 square feet, you’ll need a 36 to 44-inch ceiling fan blade span, while 144 to 225 square-foot rooms will require 44 to 54-inch blade spans. Finally, you will need a ceiling fan blade span of 50 to 72 inches for a 225 to 400 square-foot room. Anything larger than 400 square feet will require multiple fans to efficiently cool it.
Step 2: Know Your Ceiling Height To Determine How Low Your Fan Can Hang
You don’t want to introduce a hazard by hanging your ceiling fan too low. When making a selection, keep in mind that experts recommend hanging your fan a certain distance from the ceiling and walls. The fan blades should be above the floor by 7 to 9 feet and below the ceiling by 10 to 12 inches to obtain proper airflow (not to mention safety).
If your ceilings are lower than 8 feet, it’s in your best interest to purchase a low-profile ceiling fan such as a hugger, which installs flush to the ceiling. Rooms with higher ceilings will require what’s called a down rod, a piece used to hang the fan at a certain distance from the ceiling, to ensure proper air circulation.
Step 3: Select the Perfect Length Downrod for Your Space
Rooms with 9-foot tall ceilings or higher will likely require a down rod to position the fan at the most energy-efficient height. Follow this guide to select the perfect-size down rod for your space:
- Nine-foot ceiling: six-inch down rod
- 10-foot ceiling: 12-inch down rod
- 11-foot ceiling: 18-inch down rod
- 12-foot ceiling: 24-inch down rod
- 13-foot ceiling: 36-inch down rod
What Are the Best Ceiling Fan Brands?
When it comes to ceiling fans, there’s no shortage of brands to choose from. So which companies offer the most effective ceiling fans? Let’s take a look at some of the top choices:
Hunter Fan Company
Hunter fans have been around for over 130 years, standing the test of time. This top brand has been outperforming its competition for over a century. They have a knack for incorporating current trends and latest technologies into their products. Rigorous standards ensure that all of their fans rank high for durability, noise-level, and performance.
Casablanca Fan Company
Born in 1974, the Casablanca Fan Company was founded by Burton A. Burton. The energy crisis of the mid 70s helped this company take off as consumers were looking for inexpensive ways to cool their homes. Showcasing his passion for antiques by adding brass finish to his products, Burton revolutionized the industry.
Today, Casablanca Fan Company still takes pride in being innovative trendsetters. They lead the industry in energy efficiency, air movement, and motor performance. This success is likely because Casablanca is one of the few companies with an in-house research and development department.
Westinghouse Electric Company
This electric company, founded in 1886, is one of the most trusted brands for ceiling fans, light bulbs, lighting fixtures, and light accessories. When it comes to cutting-edge technology, they are one of the best. George Westinghouse founded 60 companies and had 361 patents before he died.
After his death, Westinghouse Electric Company staff followed in his footsteps and continued developing innovative technology. Satisfied only with perfection, Westinghouse incorporates advanced engineering technology to ensure its products are energy-efficient, durable, and powerful.
This California company is a bit younger. The first Fanimation fan was actually called The Punkah, after the 17th-century Indian invention. Fanimation grew rapidly and now has over 1500 showrooms in 23 countries. The company prides itself on providing the most distinctive designs and inspiring creativity in home décor. Options are endless. You can even build your own fan by selecting individual parts, including blades, motors, fitters, and glass options.
This brand by Minka Group offers ceiling fan products in a vast range of styles. There’s something for everyone here, from traditional and more contemporary styles to modern styles influenced by current trends. The product line includes indoor and outdoor options, and Minka Aire’s main selling point is their mini fans. Also considered to be perfectionists, consumers across two continents enjoy Minka Aire’s high-quality products.
Start Shopping For Your Perfect Ceiling Fan
Now you’re equipped with all the knowledge you need to make solid decisions on your ceiling fan purchase. Start your shopping spree by comparing the different brands side by side on a site like Amazon. Then, check out some of your favorite brand’s websites directly to get even more information on your top options.
It won’t be long now before you’re experiencing the benefits that ceiling fans bring. Are you interested in learning more ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Check out Just Energy for a wealth of energy conservation knowledge.
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