Last month we talked with you about the benefits of attic fans, and how to select them.  This month, we are going to take it down a level or two and talk about ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans offer several benefits to homeowners.  The primary one, of course, is it makes the room more comfortable in both summer and winter.  When the room is more comfortable, you can keep your thermostat set higher in the summer and lower in the winter, thus saving energy costs and reducing wear and tear on your furnace and air conditioner.  For example, a ceiling fan can make a 79-degree room feel like 72 degrees, reducing energy costs by up to 30%.

Here are some things to consider when buying a ceiling fan.
1.    Price.  Ceiling fans can range from as little as $40 to several hundred dollars.  More expensive fans tend to move air more quietly, are more attractive, have several speeds, and may offer more attractive warranties.
2.    Size.  Use a 52-inch fan for up to a 400-square-foot room, a 44-inch fan for up to 225 square feet, and a 42-inch fan for up to 144 square feet.  Rooms more than 18 feet long may require two medium-sized fans.
3.    Blade materials and finishes.  Natural wood and painted blades are made from solid wood, cross-laminated veneer and less expensive veneered constant density board.  Other blades are made from clear or smoked acrylic.  There are numerous finishes you can choose from.  When in doubt, choose white.
4.    Light kit.  If your room is not well lit, you might want to purchase a fan with a single or multiple lights.  Make sure the bulbs you use do not exceed the amount of wattage in your light fixture.
5.    Wall or remote control.  Some fans come with wall or remote controls to make it easier for you to change speeds or turn the fan on and off.
6.    Heaters.  Some newer fans have heaters.  They will also include a light kit and multi-function remote control.

Here are some things to consider when installing the fan.
1.     Try to put it in the middle of the room.
2.    Be sure the blade tips are at least 24 inches from the walls or sloped ceilings.
3.    The fan should not hang lower than seven feet from the floor.  For ceilings taller than eight feet, hang the fan from a drop rod.  Here are some rules of thumb.

Ceiling height (feet) Drop rod length (inches
9 12
10 18
11 24
12 36
13 48

4.    Most fans weigh at least 25 pounds, so make sure the electrical box can support that weight.