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Using Ceiling Fans Correctly

June 2nd, 2010 · No Comments · Lighting Tips

As summer approaches many of us are trying to find ways to cool our living and work spaces effectively but affordably. Replacing an existing ceiling light with a ceiling fan could be the answer.  Ceiling fans are extremely energy efficient, using less energy than a 100 watt light bulb, and they can reduce the demands on both our air conditioners and furnaces.

In the summer the air movement created by a fan can make a 79 degree room feel like it’s  72 degrees, and by raising the thermostat you could save up to 30% on your air conditioning bills.   According to one energy company the average fan costs 1 cent an hour to operate in comparison to 16 cents for a room air conditioner.  Since heat rises in the winter reverse the blades direction to push warm air down which can also help you save on your heating bill. In addition to their economic benefits ceiling fans can add style and design to any room.  The design and finish’s they are currently available in are endless and can fit any décor.

Here is a list of tips to keep in mind when selecting a ceiling fan.

The pitch of the blade determines the amount of air that is moved, the greater the pitch the greater amount of air movement.  Typically you want the blade pitch to fall between 12-15 degrees.  A  14 degree blade pitch will move between 8,000 to 9,000 cubic feet of air per minute.  The higher the blade pitch the higher the quality of the motor needs to be.  If the motor is not sturdy enough to accommodate the blade pitch the life of the fan will be greatly reduced.

The blades of the fan should be anywhere between 7 to 10 feet above the floor.  For projects with high ceilings purchase an additional down rod to accommodate the additional length needed. The chart below gives down rod length suggestions.

Ceiling Height    8′     9′    10′    11′    12′    13′   14′   15′     16′+

Rod Length        3″   6″     12″   18″    24″   36″   48″   60″    72″

Always remember to keep recessed cans 6 inches to 1 foot away from the tip of the fan blades.  This will eliminate the strobe effect that not only can be annoying but also cause headaches.

When selecting a fan you what to keep in mind how the fan will look in relation to the size of the room. The size of the fan is more of an aesthetic question than that of performance.  A smaller 30”-42” high quality ceiling fan can move as much air if not more than a low quality 60” fan.  The larger the room the larger the fan.  If maximum air movement is the objective,  make sure the size and motor fit the room, and if the room size requires use multiple fans to achieve maximum air flow.

Room Size   6′x8′        8′x10′      10′x10′     12′x14′    16′x20′>

Fan Size     29″-42″     40′-50″    42″-52″    50″-60″    50″-60″

# of Fans         1                1                 2                 2                3

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