Tips for Buying a Ceiling Fan

If you will be buying a ceiling fan in the next few months, we have a few things to think about so that you make the best choice. There are so many styles, sizes, and options that it has become more difficult to decide on one, but those choices also make it easier to get the one that is an exact fit for your home and family.

Price and Quality are Linked

You can buy basic ceiling fans starting at about $30 and they will move the air for you, but they won’t be as quiet, as reliable, and as controllable as the higher-priced models.  As the price goes up, the quality will go up, and you’ll find smoother-running motors and better balance in the models priced around $100 or more.  Higher priced fans will have sealed ball bearings and more closely-spaced magnetic drive posts in the motorized section.   When the posts are spaced closer, you won’t hear the annoying on-again, off-again hum that comes from more widely spaced posts as the fan runs; also, the air output is more consistent with closer spacing.

Ceiling fans help keep your energy costs down for both heat and air conditioning, so you want them to run for long periods of time and remain reliable.   Buying a higher quality fan will be a better choice in the long run than buying a lower quality fan.

Mounting the Fan

You can mount the fan almost flush if your room has a low ceiling, or you can hang it from a down rod if your room has a high ceiling.   In either case, the National Electrical Code requires that fan blades be at least 7 feet above the floor for safe operation.  Fan blades must be at least 18 inches away from sloping ceilings and any wall so they don’t hit.   If your fan doesn’t come with a down rod, you will need to buy the correct length of the rod to position your blades at the right height in your room.

Fan Blades

Blades come in lengths from about 2 feet to 6 feet, with longer lengths creating a larger cone of moving air suitable for larger rooms.   However, the pitch of the blades is the biggest factor in the amount of air the fan moves.   If blades are angled in the 12-14 degree range, they will push more air at lower speeds thus reducing energy usage and noise.

Control Switches

The less expensive fans may provide little or no control over the rotation speed or the light level – it may be simply ON or OFF.  The more expensive fans will give you lots of control over both speed and lighting via a wall switch or remote control.   It is a wise decision to get a controllable model so that you can vary these effects to match your situation.

Electrical Mounting Box

You need an electrical mounting box in place in order to install the fan.  The box must be securely fastened and braced to support the weight of the fan and to prevent the fan from wobbling or vibrating.   These boxes can usually be easily added by an electrician if you don’t have one in the place where you want the fan.

These few tips should help you make a smart choice in the purchase.  Just give us a call if you need help connecting the fan or wiring the wall switch.

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