One of the most sensible solutions to home comfort, the ceiling fan has been helping to heat and cool residences for more than a hundred years. By stirring up breezes in the summer and forcing warm air downward in the winter, ceiling fans effectively reduce the demand on conventional heating and cooling systems. And they do it with charm.
Because of the slight breeze it creates, a fan makes a room more comfortable at higher temperatures during the summer; the room’s thermostat can be set five to seven degrees higher. And in the winter, a fan recirculates rising warm air that would otherwise collect—and be wasted—at the ceiling.
The amount of air a fan moves depends on its construction and placement. The number, length and pitch of the blades are important, as is the fan’s distance from the ceiling and the revolutions per minute delivered by the fan’s motor.
Most fans have three to five blades made from solid wood, plywood or veneered composite board and given any one of several finishes. Fans typically range from 30 to 60 inches in diameter.
A fan’s location is usually in the center of a room, where it will have the greatest effect. Blade tips must be at least two feet from walls or sloped ceilings. They may be mounted flush or suspended from a droprod. They should never be mounted lower than seven feet from the floor.
Strong support is required for all ceiling fans. Their heavy weight and centrifugal motion strains hangers; they should never be mounted to conventional ceiling fixture boxes.
In the winter, a fan will recirculate warm air that naturally rises in a room and is trapped at the ceiling. You simply turn it on in the reverse direction (most have reversible motors). By bringing warm air down into the living space, the furnace is needed less.