What You Need to Know About Ceiling Fans

There are definitely two camps when it comes to the great ceiling fan debate. Watch any home makeover show and one of the first things the designer sometimes does is take down the ceiling fan. But the truth is many homeowners love their ceiling fans, and for good reason.

First and foremost, they can be very helpful in controlling your utility bills. They also provide a measure of comfort in the room. And, with thousands of options to fit virtually any décor, you are sure to find a fan that truly enhances your space.

Here are a number of things to consider when adding a ceiling fan to your room.

The Purpose of a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans serve three basic purposes. In warm temperatures, they can cool the room, making it feel six to eight degrees cooler. During cold months, you can change the direction of the blades to help disperse the warmer air which rises downward through the room distributing heat more efficiently. Lastly, ceiling fans today have evolved to the point where they do focus as a decorative element—and sometimes even a design focal point—in the room.

Energy Efficiency

Today it is easy to find a number of ceiling fans that are Energy Star compliant. To qualify, they must use energy efficient motors and have a specific blade design to meet or exceed minimum requirements for airflow efficiency set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. These fans use compact fluorescent bulbs as well which use two-thirds less energy and produce 70 percent less heat than older incandescent bulbs.

Location Ratings

Where you intend to use your ceiling fan is a very important factor. Never try to install a ceiling fan rated for “indoor use” anywhere but in an interior space. If rated “damp use,” use it only in covered spaces that will not be exposed to the elements. If the ceiling fan will be used in an outdoor or unprotected space, be sure to find one labeled for “outdoor use.” That way, if it is exposed to water, you will not have a problem.


To adequately heat or cool a room, a ceiling fan should be sized in proportion to the square footage of the room. Standard sizes run from a 29-inch fan, which is appropriate for a room of 50 square feet or less to a 60-inch fan which can accommodate a room over 300 square feet. There are varying sizes to fit rooms in between. Alternatively, you may choose to use two fans in a very large room.


As with anything else, you will find a wide range of pricing when it comes time to shop for a ceiling fan. But be aware, you can get a very good ceiling fan for just a bit more. Make sure you choose one with a good motor for optimum efficiency and performance. After that, your decision can be based on personal decorative preference.

Lisa Smith works for Community Home Supply in Chicago. She loves writing about home remodeling