Selecting a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling paddle fans are versatile fixtures that can enhance a room’s comfort and style. They create airflow that has a cooling effect in the summer, reducing or eliminating the need for air conditioning. Fans can also re-circulate warm air at the top of the room by operating  slowly in reverse, reducing the need for additional heating in the winter. These methods of air circulation can yield varying reduced energy costs depending on the fan’s airflow and location, the size of the room, climate, and number of occupants.

There are many options to consider when selecting the right ceiling fan for each application. The five major considerations are:

  • Style
  • Size
  • Mounting
  • Lighting
  • Control

Styles of ceiling fans range from traditional, to transitional, to contemporary and there are also outdoor fan options. There has been a recent increase in unique selections of  contemporary style ceiling fans as seen below. With many finish options available, finishes should complement the furnishings and finished surfaces throughout the  space.

contemporary fan options

Examples of new contemporary ceiling fan options

The size of a ceiling fan should be determined by the overall size of the room. For small rooms less than 50 square feet, choose a fan that is 29″ maximum blade sweep (diameter). Medium size rooms around 100 square feet can accommodate fans up to a 42″ blade sweep. Larger rooms up to 400 square feet may accommodate fans with a 56″ blade sweep or larger. If the room is greater than 400 square feet, consider using multiple fans.

Ceiling fans should  be suspended between 8 and 9 feet above the finished floor. The blades should be at least 8 1/2″ from the ceiling. In rooms with very low ceiling heights, a fan should never come below 7 feet above the finished floor for safety reasons.  In rooms with high cathedral ceilings, fans are most effective suspended no more than 4 feet from the ceiling, clearing any steep slopes. Most fans have accessory down rods to suspend the fan at the desired level.

Ceiling fans can also incorporate a lighting element to provide general ambient illumination in a space.

Most fans have options for compatible remote controls and can also be controlled from a wall switch and/or dimmer.  Remote controls add optimum convenience and some offer features such as “sleep” mode, reverse, and security mode.  If you are going to dim the lighting element with a wall dimmer or other control system, make sure that the dimmer is compatible with the light source.