If you’re the frugal type then it might make perfect sense to get a ceiling fan that has a light fixture attached, or buy one that allows for the addition of a light fixture. After all, you’re killing two birds with one stone and anytime you can get multiple uses out of one tool that’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
They use more energy: The additional light might be nice but it only makes sense that those light bulbs will use more energy. Even if you’re using the new energy efficient light bulbs it’s still going to be an additional expense. On the upside, it’s only an additional few pennies a day, and if you’re turning your fan and lights off when you’re not in the room, you probably won’t notice the difference. However, if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, this is something you’ll want to consider.
At best, it’s ambient lighting: A ceiling fan should be installed at least seven to eight feet from the floor. At that height the additional lighting won’t be sufficient for reading or working in the kitchen. At best, the light from a ceiling fan will provide warm ambient lighting, just enough to illuminate the room. You’ll still need lamps for close work.
On the upside, if ambient lighting is what you’re after, then you’re in luck. And smaller rooms, like the bathroom or nursery, will greatly benefit from this additional lighting. Since you don’t typically read or do close-up work in those rooms, you’ll be fine.
You’re going to have to change the bulbs sometime: It’s inevitable. No light bulb lasts forever (even the highest quality long lasting energy saving light bulbs). And if you have more than one bulb in your fixture you can almost bet that they’ll burn out at different times. Are you prepared to drag out the ladder every time a bulb burns out?
Don’t worry, though. Manufacturers have already thought of this and there’s a wide variety of poles and extenders you can get to help change those light bulbs without pulling out your ladder. Keep in mind though – the higher your ceilings the more expensive the pole.
They can be distracting: In some cases the whirling blades can cause a strobe light effect. If you have a high gloss finish on the blades, or a nearby mirror, or even a shiny blade finish you can end up with a serious case of flashing lights overhead.
In most cases, this won’t be a problem. Just be aware of the surfaces in your room before you buy your fan. However, if you have can lights in your ceiling then you’ll definitely want to make sure you choose the right size fan or you’ll feel like you’re in one of those old time movies.
They’re dust-catchers: All those globes, shades, and bulbs attract dust and grime. And all of that dust and grime is accumulating right under the blades, where it can be easily lifted and blown around your room in the circulating air.
On the upside, it’s not like there’s going to be a constant flow of dust bunnies falling on your head. It’s no worse than any other ceiling light fixture. But it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind if someone in your home has allergies or respiratory problems.