With so many styles to choose from these days there’s no reason you have to settle for just your basic, boring ceiling fan that sticks out like a sore thumb. However, they’re not all created equally.
Ceiling fans that have natural or faux palm fronds are becoming more and more popular but they do have their drawbacks.
The Benefits of Palm Blades
Natural palm blades don’t collect dust along the edges. They don’t build up static electricity because they’re a natural, unfinished fiber. This means you don’t have to clean them as often as you do finished wood or plastic blades.
They also provide quite a fashion statement for your room. Palm blades make any room feel like you just walked into Rick’s in Casablanca. They’re relaxing, unlike a harsh metal fan, and they look very graceful up there, lazily twirling around and around.
Palm blades are generally available in 18-inch or 22-inch lengths, which makes the total fan diameter approximately 48 inches to 55 inches, so they’re a nice size for circulating the air in most rooms and won’t get lost on the ceiling. They’re also available in a wide variety of colors and stains, so you’ll be able to match any color scheme.
(BTW – Check out our information on Harbor Breeze Ceiling Fans here…)
The Drawbacks of Palm Blades
Natural palm blades are very fragile and it’s easy to accidentally poke a hole in one with your finger. They’re also not resistant to weather or excessive moisture, so they’re only appropriate for indoor use. And, they develop mold and mildew much easier than faux palm blades made of plastic or treated wood.
While they’re elegant and add just the right finishing touch to your room, they also aren’t as efficient as traditional blades when it comes to moving air. Palm-shaped blades aren’t very aerodynamic. As a result, in order to get maximum air movement they’re pitched at a larger angle than traditional fan blades.
In order to increase airflow you might be tempted to install a 5-blade fan but that only makes it less efficient. Because of the width of the palm fronds, five blades actually inhibit airflow. Instead of forcing it down into the room, the air simply glides right over the blades because they’re too close together.
If you’re going to install palm blades on your ceiling fan then only use four blades, evenly spaced. Otherwise, you’ll have less air movement and you’ll be paying extra money to run a fan that’s not doing what you want it to.
I should also note that palm fronds increase the drag on your motor. So these types of blades really should only be installed on a motor or fan that’s specifically designed to carry the extra load.
And please, please, please – do NOT pick up those new plastic palm frond blade covers that you can use to dress up the blades on your dull and boring ceiling fan. They’re too large and too thick. Not only will you kill your fan motor, but you can pick up a new ceiling fan for less than the price of those horrible, ugly blade covers.