If you’re looking for a way to make your home more energy efficient, a ceiling fan could be the answer. Ceiling fans don’t change the temperature inside your home, but they can make it feel cooler or warmer by moving air around. In the summer, blades can run counterclockwise to generate a cool breeze, while in the winter, you can set them to turn in the other direction to move warm air down from the ceiling.
But if you’re in the market for a ceiling fan, you could be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the number of choices. You can get fans in traditional, modern, coastal, industrial, and more styles. Fan size, number of blades, and features also vary. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.
Fan Size Matters
Fans come in all sizes from 29 inches to 60 inches or more. Fans with an even number of blades are measured across the diameter, from blade-tip to blade-tip. Fans with an odd number of blades are measured from the blade tip to the center of the fan, and then that number is doubled to arrive at a diameter measurement.
You need to choose a fan that’s large enough to cool the space you want to put it in, without being so large that it makes the occupants of that space feel like they’re in a wind tunnel. You can choose a fan size based on the measurement of the longest wall in the room. If the longest wall is 12 feet long, you need a fan of no more than 46 inches. If the longest wall is 12 to 18 feet, choose a fan sized 48 to 56 inches. If the longest wall is more than 18 feet, choose a fan larger than 56 inches.
Get the Profile Right
Fans should hang at least seven feet above the floor, but ideally, they should be eight to nine feet off the floor if the ceilings are high enough to allow for that. The fan should be in the middle of the room and at least 18 inches from the wall.
You can get ceiling fans in standard mount, extended mount, flush mount, or sloped mount styles. Standard mount fans have a three- to five-inch downrod, while extended mount fans have a downrod of anywhere from six inches to 10 feet to accommodate the highest ceilings. Flush mount styles hug the ceiling, and are appropriate for rooms with low ceilings that can’t accommodate a downrod at all. Sloped mount styles are ideal for hanging fans from a sloped ceiling.
Choose a Complimentary Style
No matter what kind of decor you have in your home, you can find a ceiling fan that will match. If you have a beach house, choose a tropical style made with bamboo or rattan and featuring a leaf design. If you have a cottage, choose a rustic farmhouse style ceiling fan. If your decor is more modern, choose a sleek minimalist design with only two or three blades — or go all the way to the other side with a nine-blade industrial design. Choose finishes and wood colors that match those that are already present in your home.
Select the Features You Need
You’ll need different features on a fan for your bedroom than you will on one for your great room. Fans come with pull chain controls, remote controls, or wall switch controls. You can even get smart fans that allow you to set the blade speed from your smartphone.
While a pull chain control might be all you need from a bedroom fan, a remote control or wall switch might be better suited to a fan in a large, high-ceilinged room. You should also consider whether you need a light fixture in your fan. If your ceiling fan includes a light fixture, subtract 12 inches from the length of the downrod you use.
You also need to consider how much airflow a fan generates. Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The higher a fan’s CFM rating, the more air it moves. The larger the space and the higher the ceilings, the higher the CFM rating should be. Aim for at least 4,000 CFM, but don’t be afraid to upgrade to 5,000, 6,000, or more CFM if you can afford it.
Choosing the right ceiling fan for your space isn’t as simple as buying the same fan your grandparents used — there’s a lot that goes into it. But the right fan will make you more comfortable, save you money, and could really bring your space together.