A good quality ceiling fan can help make any room feel cooler in the summer and more warm and cozy in the winter. They can also help to significantly reduce the cost of your energy bills. But you won’t see any of these benefits if your fan is installed in the wrong location. Here are some placement tips to help you get the most out of your ceiling fans.
Size Matters (chuckle)!
It seems logical that a large, powerful fan with lots of blades would circulate the air more efficiently than a smaller, less powerful fan with only two or three blades, but that’s not the way it works.
If the fan’s too large or powerful for the room it’s in then the air is literally bouncing off itself as it circulates around the room. Seven or eight large blades will move air less efficiently than five smaller blades, unless you have a more powerful motor. And in that case, it’s going to cost more to operate.
The pitch of the blades also affects air movement. A pitch of 14 degrees is standard but it can vary depending on the size of the motor and the size of the blades.
In general, anything more than 4-blades is window-dressing, and the additional blade, or blades, just put more drag on the motor. The manufacturer may have made allowances in the motor design, but even so, it’s going to cost more in the electricity billing to operate that fan.
For rooms up to 100 square feet, choose a fan with a 30- to 49-inch blade span, and two or three blades are sufficient. For rooms from 100- to 400-square feet, choose a blade span of 50- to 54-inches, with a maximum of four blades. And for rooms 400 square feet or larger, choose a fan with a blade span of 56-inches or more, with no more than 5 blades.
Ceiling Fan Placement
Of course, the most obvious choice is to place your fan in the exact center of the room. But there are some things you need to consider:
Vents and registers: Your fan should be at least 4 feet away from any air conditioning vents or heating registers.
Fireplaces: Avoid placing your fan near a fireplace because it can affect the draw through the flue, especially if your ceiling fan has a light.
Walls/Sloped Ceilings: For best results the blades should be at least 2 feet away from any walls or sloped ceilings.
Multiple fans: For very large rooms consider installing a fan in each “zone”. Several smaller fans will provide better circulation with lower combined energy costs than one large fan running at high speed continuously.
Distance: For safety, blades should be at least 7 feet from the floor. For maximum air movement they should be 8 to 10 feet from the floor. If you have very low ceilings you may need to use a “hugger” style ceiling fan that mounts flush with the ceiling; however this type of fan moves significantly less air because of the limited space between the blades and the ceiling.
For more information on ceiling fan placement and installation please see the other blogs posts on the navigation to the right of this article.