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Here Are the 5 Things You Need in a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fan with wooden blades

Installing a ceiling fan in your home is a smart move. A ceiling can make your home a lot more comfortable and save you a lot of money in the process. And today’s ceiling fan designs are much more stylish than they used to be.

So if you’re thinking of installing a new ceiling fan or replacing the old one, you should think carefully about what you need from your new permanent fan fixture. The fan you choose needs to be the right size to fit in your room. If you’re hanging it in a place where it will be exposed to moisture or the elements, you need to make sure it’s manufactured for those conditions. Your fan should have a light fixture, remote controls, and other features to make it easier to use. Finally, it should look gorgeous, and give you the air circulation power you need to feel more comfortable even on the most sweltering days. 

1. A Powerful CFM Rating

A fan’s cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating describes how much air the fan can move. The higher the CFM rating, the more powerful the fan. Most people want a fan with a CFM rating of at least 4,000, but you may want to go higher, especially if you want a really powerful fan. Remember, the CFM rating usually refers to the fan’s ability to move air at its highest setting, so if you buy a fan with a rating of only 4,000 CFM, it might move considerably less air on the lower settings. Most homeowners would be well advised to buy a fan with a CFM rating of at least 6,000.

2. The Right Features

A ceiling fan does more than just move air. Many fans incorporate a light fixture into the design, so you don’t have to sacrifice illumination for a cool breeze on a hot day. 

A ceiling can also be a design focal point in your room. If you want an attractive light fixture that also doubles as a fan, for example, you can buy a chandelier ceiling fan or “fandelier.” You can also buy dual-motor fans that have two fan heads, so you can direct airflow at two different parts of the room. 

Other fan features you might want to consider include remote controls or wireless wall controls that allow you to control the speed of the fan and turn it on and off without getting out a stepladder to reach the pullcord. You can even buy smart fans that can connect to your phone or smart home device. Many of these fans have eliminated the pull chain from the design for a sleeker appearance. 

 Ceiling fan installed in bedroom

3. Size

Perhaps the most important consideration when you’re shopping for a new ceiling fan is size. Smaller fans are ideal for smaller rooms, while larger fans should be used in larger rooms. Use this sizing guide to make sure you’re getting the right size fan for your space:

  • Rooms 75 square feet and smaller need a 29- to 36-inch fan
  • Rooms 76 to 144 square feet need a 36- to 42-inch fan
  • Rooms 145 to 400 square feet need a 44- to 50-inch fan
  • Rooms above 400 square feet need a fan that is at least 60 inches

Fan sizes are measured directly across the sweep of the fan, or the circle created by the blades of the fan. 

4. Indoor/Outdoor Usability

Are you planning to hang your new ceiling fan indoors or outdoors? If you’re putting it indoors in a place where it won’t encounter any humidity — like a bedroom, for example – then you can buy a dry-rated fan. If you’re putting your new fan in a room that gets some moisture exposure, like a bathroom, then you should buy a damp-rated fan. And if you want to hang your new fan outside, on a covered porch, for example, you should buy a wet-rated fan. Wet-rated fans are made to be waterproof so they can withstand exposure to the elements without breaking down.

5. Looks

Of course, you definitely want your new fan to look nice and fit in with the rest of your home decorations. If you’re looking at wood-finish fans, choose one that matches the dominant wood color in the space. If you’re looking at fans with metallic finishes, get one that matches the color of the hardware (light switch covers, outlet covers, doorknobs, etc.) in the room. Choose a fan design that blends in with your overall design choices. Don’t try to hang an ultramodern industrial fan in a traditional setting, or vice versa.

A ceiling fan is a big commitment. The last thing you need is a ceiling fan that looks out of place or, even worse, doesn’t do the job right. So make sure your new fan goes with the rest of your stuff and has the features you want.