How to Choose an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

February 11th, 2010

On a hot Summer day an outdoor ceiling fan can create a lovely breeze to help you cool off so you can enjoy being outside. When shopping for an outdoor ceiling fan there are a few things that you need to keep in mind to help you find the perfect fan for your outdoor living areas.

What’s makes an outdoor ceiling fan so durable?

Outdoor ceiling fans are built to withstand the outdoor elements. The motor casing on an outdoor ceiling fan has a waterproof seal protecting the motor from moisture and the fan blades are made with ABS plastic.ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and is also known in the ceiling fan industry as All-weather Blade system. ABS plastic fan blades are designed to endure rain, snow, humidity, etc. Wood blades are not an option on outdoor ceiling fans due to the fact that they would retain water and become weak then warp which would cause the fan to wobble.

Where is the outdoor ceiling fan going to be installed?

This is a very important thing to keep in mind when choosing an outdoor ceiling fan. All outdoor ceiling fans should have an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Damp rating or an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Wet rating. Depending on where the outdoor ceiling fan is going to be installed depends on what rating you need.

UL damp rated outdoor ceiling fans should only be installed in covered locations so there is no direct contact with the elements.

UL wet rated outdoor ceiling fans can be installed in open outdoor areas that are exposed to the rain and other outdoor elements. Outdoor ceiling fans that are UL Wet rated can be directly exposed to a heavy down poor and still work just fine. This makes them a breeze to clean also. Just take your water hose and rinse the blades clean without worrying if your going to hurt the motor. I don’t know about you but I dread having to clean my ceiling fans, so with an UL Wet outdoor ceiling fan on my patio cleaning the fan is a so easy and doesn’t take a lot of time.

Do you live near the Ocean?

If you live close to the ocean you should only buy UL Wet rated outdoor ceiling fans. When you live near the ocean everything outside is affected by the salt water. Even if you are going to install the outdoor fan in a covered patio you still need a UL wet rated fan due to the corrosion caused by the salt water. UL wet rated outdoor ceiling fans last longer due to their durability to outdoor elements. You should also wash off your outdoor ceiling fan more often when you live close to the ocean to prevent salt water corrosion.

Other things to think about..

The higher quality outdoor ceiling fans have larger motors that will help you cool off a lot more in the Summer and can also keep bugs away. That’s a big plus for me since misquitoes are all over in Florida in the Summer.

Outdoor ceiling fans can also be placed Indoors. That is why outdoor ceiling fans are also known as indoor outdoor ceiling fans. However an indoor ceiling fan should never be installed outside. If you install an indoor fan outside it can result in warped blades, a fire, shock, rust and will shorten the life of the product. UL damp rated outdoor ceiling fans are great for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms also.

Outdoor fans come in very decorative styles now so you can compliment your current outdoor décor or transform your outdoor space into a tropical paradise. Outdoor ceiling fan blades come in many styles from sail cloth material to carved leafed blades.

What has been your experience with outdoor ceiling fans?

What’s your favorite outdoor ceiling fan?

I found this video from Ask the Decorator that covers how to pick an outdoor ceiling fan. Enjoy!



Also Check out our post of The Top 10 Outdoor Ceiling Fans + 1 Bonus!

7 Responses to “How to Choose an Outdoor Ceiling Fan”

  1. Amazing that every time I come here your posts keep getting better and better. The best part is that I love your content! Thanks again.

  2. Wallace M. says:

    Just noticed your blog on google today and I must say I enjoy it! Bookmarked it and may be returning to check it out some more later.

  3. Luigi Giamundo says:

    I am looking for an outdoor ceiling fan, waterproof, good make;
    Any suggestions

  4. melissa says:

    Hi Luigi,

    If you are looking for a waterproof ceiling fan you should get a UL wet rated fan. My suggestions would be Minka Aire Concept I Wet Ceiling Fan, Casablanca Lanai Wet Ceiling Fan and my personal favorite UL Wet fan, Beachside Ceiling Fan by Hunter Fan Company.

    You should also check out our post of the Top 10 Outdoor Ceiling Fans. If you have any further questions just let us know.


  5. Karen says:

    Thank you for the great advise for choosing an outdoor ceiling fan. I live in Indiana, So I had to find something that would withstand the heat in the summer and the brutal cold in the winter. I used a lot of your advise, even though I’m not near the ocean we have a lot of humidity at times also. I decided on two Fanimation Ceiling Fans. The green palm looking blades make my screened porch look like a tropical paradise.

  6. I will definately add a link to this website on my blog. I’m sure my followers will find this article really useful.