The American Lighting Association offers the following tips
about how to use ceiling fans, integrate them into a decorating
scheme and size them specifically for your rooms.
The many uses of ceiling fans
Ceiling fans serve three primary purposes. The first is, of
course, air movement.
"In summer, ceiling fans create a 'wind chill' effect that makes
the room feel 6 to 8 degrees cooler than the actual ambient
temperature," says Joseph Rey-Barreau, associate professor in the
College of Design at the University of Kentucky. "In winter, the
direction of the blade movement can be set to a counterclockwise
direction, which will help to move the hotter air at the ceiling
toward the edges of the room and then downward. This helps to
distribute the heated air more efficiently."
That is key to consumers' interest in -- and need for -- ceiling
"That air movement can help reduce heating and air conditioning
bills in homes," says Maria Scutaro, president of Murray Feiss
Lighting/Monte Carlo Fan Co.
Manufacturers have also adapted ceiling fans to fit the smallest
of spaces -- even in closets -- with a single blade and minimal
motor that leaves the ceiling fan able to hug the ceiling.
In addition, ceiling fans are a decorative element and focal
point for the interior design -- a big change from the 1990s.
"There is an unlimited range of fan styles and designs … as well
as fans that are part of a 'family' of lighting fixtures," says
Finally, as a light source, ceiling fans "can range from a night
light to ambient light to a fully directed light source," says
Scutaro. "LED technology is bringing light and additional energy
efficiency to fans."
The energy efficiency of ceiling fans
Much like the Energy Star label gives homeowners guidance about
appliances that will save on utilities, ceiling fans can also be
rated Energy Star-compliant. To do that, those ceiling fans must use
efficient motors and advanced blade design to meet or exceed minimum
requirements for airflow efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental
Energy Star ceiling fans also carry three warranties: a minimum
of 30 years on the motor, one year on other components and two years
"Lighting for Energy Star-qualified fans also uses efficient,
compact fluorescent sources that use two-thirds less energy and
produce 70 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs," says
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The three location ratings of ceiling fans
Ceiling fans used indoors in protected spaces differ from those used
in semi-protected or exterior spaces. An "indoor use" rating means a
fan can be used only indoors. Those rated "damp use" can be used
outdoors if in a covered spot, such as a porch. An "outdoor use"
rating means the fan can be used in a location where it will be
exposed directly to water, such as over a patio that is underneath a
A common mistake made with ceiling fans
"The better quality fans do not cost much more than the most
inexpensive fans," says Rey-Barreau. "A consumer should purchase a
fan that has a good motor and that is energy-efficient. Buying a
very inexpensive fan can be problematic in terms of performance."
Be sure to purchase your fans from an ALA-member retailer. These
retailers carry high-quality lighting and fan products and have
professionally trained staff available to help you select the best
products for your home.
Ceiling fan sizing basics
In order for a ceiling fan to effectively heat and cool a space,
it must be sized for the square footage of the room. Use these
measurements as guidelines:
Less than 50 square feet -- 29-inch fan
75 square feet -- 36-inch fan
100 square feet -- 42-inch fan
225 square feet -- 52-inch fan
300 square feet -- 56-inch fan
More than 300 square feet -- a 60-inch fan or two 56-inch
or 52-inch fans
Visit your local ALA-member retail showroom to see the newest
products and to talk to an expert about which fans are most
appropriate and energy-efficient for your space. To find your
closest ALA-member lighting showroom, visit
[Text from ARAcontent]
2012 Spring Home & Garden Magazine for these great articles:
A fresh coat of paint
Creating a cool
Weekend warrior takes
on the bath
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New outdoor blooms
butterflies to your yard