How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part Three

April 1st, 2010

In How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part One we covered the type of fan for the ceiling height of your room, where the ceiling fan is going to be installed, the right blade span for the size of your room and determining the slope of your ceiling. And in How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part Two we covered deciding if you want a ceiling fan with light, choosing the right style and finish to compliment your rooms surroundings, and the ceiling fan motor quality.

Part Three of How to Buy a Ceiling Fan is the last part of this series. In this post we will cover the final things that you need to decide before buying the right ceiling fan for your home.

Shop for Fans with High Airflow and High Airflow Efficiency

Product airflow and airflow efficiency is very important when buying a ceiling fan. You will want to find a ceiling fan with high airflow and airflow efficiency.I know for me this is a must. Florida in the Summer gets really hot so I only want a ceiling fan that is going to produce the maximum air movement possible to help me cool off. I also want to make sure that the fan is efficient so I’m not using more energy than I have to.

Airflow from ceiling fans are measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). The higher the airflow the cooler you’ll be. High airflow depends on the size of your fan. The larger the fan the more airflow you will receive.

50″ and larger blade spans should produce airflow of 6500+ to 2999 CFM

42″ to 49″ blade span should produce airflow of 5000+ to 1999 CFM

41″ and under blade span should produce airflow of 4000+ to 1499 CFM

Airflow efficiency if measured by CFM/Watts. The airflow efficiency also depends on the size of the fan.

50″ and over blade span should have airflow efficiency of 99+ to 49.9 CFM/Watts

42″ to 49″ blade span should have airflow efficiency of 80+ to 39.9 CFM/Watts

41″ and smaller blade span should have airflow efficiency of 70+ to 24.9 CFM/Watts

I do not recommend that you buy a ceiling fan with lower airflow and airflow efficiency than what is listed above. Unless you just want a ceiling fan for decoration.

How do you want to Control your Ceiling Fan?

There are several ways to operate a ceiling fan. When you are shopping for a fan look for a ceiling fan with control that comes with the fan. This way you won’t have to worry about matching the right control with the ceiling fan.

Ceiling fans can be operated by a traditional wall control that allows you to operate the speed, lighting and sometimes forward/reversal of the fan without a pull chain.

My favorite way to operate a ceiling fan is with a remote control. Remote control ceiling fans allow you to stay comfortable on the couch and still control the ceiling fan with a touch of a button. Hand held remote controls for ceiling fans work by transmitting a frequency to the receiver unit in the ceiling fan. So if you don’t buy a ceiling fan that already comes with a remote buy a remote control and receiver unit that matches the brand of the ceiling fan and also is compatible with the model.

If you are installing a ceiling fan in a room with a high ceiling make sure you look for a control that has the forward/reverse option. This way you don’t have to drag out a ladder each season when you want to change the ceiling fan direction.

Who will Install the New Ceiling Fan?

The Big Question!!!

If you are going to be installing the ceiling fan yourself (or your significant other) you need to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. This is very important to make sure your new fan is installed and wired properly. You will also need to make sure you have all the proper tools handy. It is always a lot easier when you have someone helping you. Especially for weak people, like myself, who have a hard time lifting heavy objects or even not so heavy objects.

If you buy a decorative or heavy ceiling fan hire an electrician to install it. When you hire an electrician make sure they are licensed and insured. Talk to them over the phone about the ceiling fan and controls to make sure they are able to install what you need them to before hiring them. Make sure they have different ceiling fan electrical boxes and appropriate hardware just in case you need it. Ask if they have helpers to help them if you are needing them to hang a heavy or decorative ceiling fan.

Once your fan is installed sit back any enjoy the breeze from your new ceiling fan.

This wraps up the series. I hope that our How to Buy a Ceiling Fan series has helped and answered any questions you might have had about buying the right ceiling fan for your home.

Please comment if you have any further questions or if you found this series helpful in your pursuit of buying a ceiling fan.

12 Responses to “How to Buy a Ceiling Fan: Part Three”

  1. Laura Perry says:

    Thanks for this very helpful series. Can you give any guidance on noise levels for the high-efficiency Monte Carlo DC52 fan?

    This fan will go in my bedroom, so I want it to be as quiet as possible. But I also want to be as energy-efficient as possible.

  2. melissa says:

    Hi Laura,

    The Monte Caro DC52 ceiling fan has a quiet operation. This fan features a premium power 165 X 18 mm DC motor that ensures whisper quite operation and a precision balanced motor and blades for wobble-free operation.

    So the DC52 ceiling fan should be perfect for your bedroom.

  3. Jerry says:

    Is don’t see anything about the number of blades. Are more blades better?

  4. melissa says:

    The number of blades of a ceiling fan is more of a preference and is not always a factor to the strength and performance of the fan. The pitch of fan blades is more of a factor. Ceiling fan blades should be positioned at a 12-15 degree angle for optimal air circulation. The greater the angle of the blade the more air circulation you will have in your room.

  5. Kathy says:

    What a great series, Melissa! Thank you for taking the time to write it; it was both informative and entertaining, especially the motors-to-shoes comparison. Pure genius–and it totally worked for me. Now I feel completely confident in making a ceiling fan purchase that will be attractive, energy-efficient and durable. Best “how to” blog ever!

  6. melissa says:

    Thank you so much Kathy! I’m glad I could help you. :)


  7. Kathy says:

    Can you give guidance on which fan will be quieter – a Casablanca Panama fan with a DC motor or the XLP motor?

  8. Melissa O'Connor says:

    Hi Kathy, Both would be quiet. I would recommend the DC motor Casablanca Panama fan. This fan is extremely quiet as well as energy efficient.

  9. David Smith says:

    want to install ceiling fan in 17 step staircase from main level of home to basement. this main entry door at main level stays open. Staircase is 45 inches wide. Basement stays cooler than main level. Will ceiling fan help distribute flow of hot or cold air between floors?

  10. Melissa O'Connor says:

    David, If you are installing a ceiling fan in your staircase to redistribute air between the two levels in your home, you should have your fan rotating in reverse. During the summer time, you normally operate a fan counter-clockwise so it blows air down on you. If you operate the fan clockwise (reverse), it should draw the cool air up from the basement and push the hot air down from your main floor.

  11. Jen Geraci says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Huge help! What would you recommend for a 20 x 30 bedroom with 8 ft ceilings – an “attic” room so gets very hot – looking for maximum air flow but a quiet fan.

  12. Jenelle Ricci says:

    Hello Jen, A 20 x 30 bedroom is a rather large space. I would suggest purchasing two ceiling fans to receive maximum air flow. With an 8 ft. ceiling, which is pretty low, you should be looking at hugger ceiling fans. I would recommend two 52” ceiling fans from the Emerson Prima Snugger collection or two 52” ceiling fans from the Hunter Low Profile collection. These collections both have great fans that come in a variety of finishes. They will fit well in your space while providing you with the maximum air flow you are seeking.