Selecting a Ceiling Fan

There is a lot to consider when you select a ceiling fan, and many of the choices are matters of personal preference. But here are some objective matters to consider in order to help you get the most benefit out of your selection.

Fan and Blade Size

As they say, size matters. You want a fan that is large enough to do the job without being so large that it can not practically be run at full speed unless everything is nailed down. There is not a simple formula you can use to, say, take the length of the longer wall, multiply if by a set number, and produce the appropriate length of the fan blade. As the blades get longer, they cover more area than a simple multiplier would imply.

Here is a handy chart to help you correlate some wall sizes to a standard blade length that is appropriate.

Longest Wall Length       Blade Size
10 feet                             36 inches
12 feet                             42 inches
15 feet                             48 inches
20 feet                             54 inches
22 feet                             56 inches
25 feet                             60 inches

Fan Mounting

Next, you will want to decide how the fan is to be mounted. For maximum cooling the fan blades should be 7 to 8 feet from the floor. An 8 or 9 foot ceiling can accommodate this fine without the need for an extension downrod. For higher ceilings you will need to get the appropriate length of downrod to bring the fan to the proper height. When making this calculation, be sure to add one foot for the height of the fan itself. Many downrods are 1/2 inch thick. But if you can find one that is 3/4 inch, that will provide extra stability and guard against wobble. If the ceiling is vaulted, make sure you get an angled mounting that can accommodate this fact.

If the room has a low ceiling, you will want a low profile model that can be mounted as flush as possible while still providing maximum air flow.

Ceiling Fan Blades

Whatever finish you choose for the blades, make sure that it is scratch, rust, and tarnish resistant. Fan blades are not easy to clean and these things can spoil their looks. As well, make sure that the blades are precision balanced and matched in sets. This will help prevent wobble.

Fan Lights

Many ceiling fans will come packed with light kits. Look for light kits and fans that feature modular connections to make assembly a snap. Globes and shades that twist and lock into place are an added bonus. If it can be assembled by hand without tools, screws, and grommets, it will not only go together faster, it will be easier to maintain and to change bulbs when the time comes.