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Ceiling Fans: Circulating Air for Comfort

One of the most crucial parts about being comfortable indoors is to have moving air. Sometimes, it doesn’t even need to be cooled air, just moving. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use fans. Whether it’s a box fan, a stand fan or a ceiling fan, the circulating air can make conditions feel up to 10 degrees cooler.

Ceiling fans are normally the fans of choice. Not only do they provide moving air, but they are aesthetically pleasing, and many models have lights installed on them for additional light in the room.

There are several different sizes of ceiling fans, typically from 29 inches to 54 inches. Some of them are very small for bathrooms or small utility rooms. Others are designed for larger rooms or outdoor use. Here is a guide of the typical ceiling fan, and the size needed to cool a room.

Up to 75 sq ft – 29 to 36 inches
76 to 144 sq ft – 36 to 42 inches
144 to 225 sq ft – 44 inches
225 to 400 sq ft – 50 to 54 inches

There are a number of mounting options when installing the fan. It should be placed in the middle of the room. It should be at least 7 feet from the ground and at least 18 inches from any walls. Ideally, if possible, a fan mounted 8 to 9 feet from the floor provides optimal performance.

There are four basic types of mounting systems for a ceiling fan:

Standard Mount: this comes with downrod, usually 5-7 inches. This is the metal pipe that attaches to the ceiling bracket at one end and the top of the fan at the other. These rods are either ½ to ¾ inches in diameter, allowing room for the wiring to pass through.

Extended Mount: For very high ceilings, longer downrods can be installed. They range from 6 inches (for a 9-foot ceiling) to 120 inches (for a 20-foot ceiling). Refer to the manufacturer to see which size will best suit your needs.

Flush Mount: This type of mount is used with lower ceilings. It anchors the fan directly against the ceiling. The majority of standard fans offer the option of mounting them flush. There are some fans that are manufactured specifically for a flush mount. They are referred to as a “hugger” or a “low profile” fan. These fans will not provide the downdraft as powerful as the other models, as there is less space from which to gather air.

Sloped Mount: When the fan is mounted on an angled ceiling, the slope mount is used. The base of the fan is at an angle to match the ceiling, but the downrod hangs straight.

Oft times we have people tell us that their ceiling fans aren’t working effectively; that there is no downdraft to speak of. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it is because they don’t have the fans set to turn the appropriate direction.

In order to get a cooling effect in warmer temperatures, the fan blades should rotate in the forward direction (counter-clockwise). This forces the air in the room to push down on you, giving a wind chill effect, which makes you feel cooler.

During the winter, your fan should be set to run in the reverse direction (clockwise). It’s best if it is set at a low speed. This draws the air in the room upward towards the ceiling, pushing the warm air down, in an outward direction towards the walls. This eliminates any wind chill factor and warms the room.

Air conditioning is the best way to cool a room when the temperatures are extreme, but if the warmth is mild, sometimes all you need is some moving air.

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