Things to Know Before Buying a Ceiling Fan

You know you want to buy a new ceiling fan — but if that’s all you know, you could be in for some trouble. Ceiling fans offer a number of benefits to homeowners, from reducing your home energy consumption to improving comfort year-round, but if you don’t take the time to collect the information you need about your ceiling fan before you buy, you could be wasting your time and money on an appliance that isn’t well-suited to your home.

Without further ado, here are some of the things you need to know about both your home and your new fan before you buy.

Whether You Are Replacing or Installing New

Hanging a ceiling fan isn’t necessarily a grueling task, but the steps are quite different depending on whether you are replacing an existing fan that no longer suits you or installing a brand-new fan in a space that has never held one.

If you are replacing an older fan — whether it is because the fan no longer functions properly or because you don’t enjoy the style — the process is as simple as unscrewing and disconnecting your old fan and attaching your new one. However, a brand-new fan requires a bit more preparation.

Ceiling fans require connection to your home’s electrical system, which means you will need to run wire to your ceiling if there is not already some type of fixture in the space where your new ceiling fan will hang.

Even if your ceiling has a light that you are replacing with a ceiling fan, you need to take extra precautions in reinforcing the box from which your ceiling fan will hang, as ceiling fans are much heavier than lights and thus must be attached to ceiling joists to avoid ripping out of the ceiling and plummeting into the room below. If you aren’t properly handy, you might hire a professional to help you install a fan in a new space.

The Right Size of Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans range in size from just about a foot wide to more than 15 feet wide, and some custom industrial fans can be even larger than that. The reason reputable fan brands like Hunter Fan makes ceiling fans with such diverse sizing is to ensure that their fans can effectively move air in rooms with different dimensions.

There are specific rules outlining the size of fan necessary to manage air circulation in differently sized rooms, and you should consult this chart to verify that you are choosing the right size fan for your space before you buy:

• Rooms with 75 square feet or fewer: 44-inch fan or smaller
• Rooms up to 350 square feet: 48-inch to 58-inch fan
• Rooms over 350 square feet: 60-inch fan or larger

Weather Considerations

Not all fans are able to function in all environments; while most fans are rated for indoor use only, there are some fans that are built specifically to withstand outdoor elements. However, before you purchase an outdoor fan, you need to know the precise conditions it will need to endure. For example, if your fan is not completely covered — perhaps it is hanging from a slat-roof pergola — it needs to be capable of withstanding direct contact with moisture in the forms of humidity and precipitation.

When you are shopping for outdoor fans, you need to look at their moisture rating. Damp-rated fans should only be hung underneath covered patios or other areas that are not directly exposed to moisture. Wet-rated fans have more robust materials and construction and are capable of surviving in more exposed spaces. You should inspect the exposure of your outdoor living space before you purchase your outdoor fan.

Ceiling Fan Styles

If it seems that every ceiling fan looks the same, you aren’t looking thoroughly enough. To keep up with home decorating trends, ceiling fan brands release dozens of new styles of fans every year, which means you should be able to find a ceiling fan that perfectly suits your interior aesthetic and adds to the visual interest of your space. You don’t need to compromise functionality and fashion; with the right ceiling fan, you can have both.

Choosing a ceiling fan isn’t rocket science, but to ensure you are happy with how your fan looks and works, you need to do a little research. Fortunately, you should be able to tackle this list in a few minutes and get back to shopping for the ceiling fan of your dreams.