Ceiling fans are much more than just a decorative element that hangs from the ceiling, yet appearance is the first thing you notice. And since there are so many different styles to choose from, you might be tempted to just close your eyes and pick one. But the purpose of a fan is to circulate air, without blades your fan would be useless.
When used properly a ceiling fan can help you save a substantial amount of money on your energy bills, all year round. The average air condition costs 36 cents per hour to operate while a ceiling fan costs less than a penny. And a fan allows you to set your air con thermostat a little higher and still be very comfortable.
But the key words are “when used properly.” One of the biggest mistake homeowners often make is to install a ceiling fan that’s either too large or too small for the room. If it’s too large the air actually bounces off the walls and back into the flow, essentially blocking air movement. If the fan’s too small, no matter what speed you use or how long you run it, it’s not going to be able to circulate enough air to help cool the room.
Either way, too large or too small, you’re wasting money on operating costs and you wasted money on buying and installing the fan.
Length matters: For a 15′ X 15′ room you’ll need a blade span of 50 to 56 inches. For a 12′ X 12′ room you’ll need a span of 42 or 44 inches, and for an 8′ X 8′ room you’ll need 32 inches.
Placement matters: To get the best circulation, hang you fan in the center of the room. If you have a very large room, like a great room or a basement, you may need multiple fans centered over different areas of the room.
Height matters: The optimum height to hang your fan is 7 to 9 feet from the floor. For vaulted or extra high ceilings use an extender pole to bring the fan closer to the floor.
Width matters: Don’t assume that a wider blade will move more air. In fact, wider blades can sometimes be much less efficient. For example, the popular palm frond blades are the least efficient of all because they’re not aerodynamic. And when there are more than four of these wide blades they really don’t circulate the air at all.
Number matters: You’ll find ceiling fans with two blades all the way up to seven. Generally, more blades means more air movement.
Pitch matters: The pitch of the blades is one of the most important things you need to look at. A 15 degree pitch provides maximum airflow. However, if you’re using wider blades, like the palm blades, then you’ll need a steeper pitch. Keep in mind that a steeper pitch also puts a larger strain on the motor, so you’ll want to choose a fan that’s been specifically designed for a wider blade at a steeper pitch.
When choosing your fan the three most important blade features to consider are the length of the blades, the pitch and the number of blades. These three elements, taken together, are what have the biggest effect on air movement, and the better the air movement the more efficient your fans and your air conditioning units will be.