Buying a Ceiling Fan
By Debra L. Karplus
Buying a ceiling fan may be the perfect solution to numerous household cooling, heating, and circulation problems. Perhaps your upstairs doesn’t get as cool as you’d like during warm weather and you’d like to save money on air conditioning. Or possibly the house feels stuffy, winter or summer, and you’d like more air circulating. There are many excellent reasons to purchase a ceiling fan.
Free standing fans such as window fans, box fans, table fans, floor fans, or oscillating fans are often adequate and are relatively inexpensive and require no installation, but they often get in the way and usually require extension cords that can easily be tripped over; safety is a serious consideration with these portable fans, especially if you have children at home. The installation of the right ceiling fan can be simple and cheap and the best solution for your home.
Ceiling fans have several features to select.
The purchase of a ceiling fan is easy; the kits are lightweight and can easily be carried in your small car trunk and transported home. Look online first, then drive to the home improvement center and head to the aisle with the ceiling fans. Typically ceiling fans are displayed overhead so that you can see how they work.
Before leaving home though, look at the area carefully where the fan will be installed, to determine desired color and size and style. If the fan will be used on a patio or porch, be sure the fan is designed for outdoor use. Many people install ceiling fans in bedrooms; some do not like sleeping directly beneath a fan, so keep that in mind before making your purchase. Most fans come in brown, but there are also many white fans and other colors and fancier styles as well. Depending on the décor and vintage of your home, you’ll select your color.
Room size determines fan size. Most fans have five blades, but some have six, four or even three. Larger rooms are best cooled by a fifty-two inch fan. Smaller rooms benefit well using a forty-two inch fan. A thirty-six ceiling fan is fine for a small upstairs hallway. Hopefully, the person working at the home improvement store in the fan department can provide some guidance.
Many people choose a ceiling fan that has a light attached to it. The inexpensive fans are adequate, but if you pay less than about forty dollars for a fan-light combination, you’re likely to regret your purchase of a fan that is noisy and wobbly. You’ll need to decide if you want just one light or many smaller ones. (Some of the fan kits come with light bulbs, others do not.) There are many styles to choose. The ultra-fancy ceiling fans can cost as much as about seven hundred dollars, but truly, for under about one hundred dollars you are likely to find the ceiling fan that’s just right for your home.
Most ceiling fans have three speeds. Don’t purchase anything with less than that. Additionally, choose a ceiling fan that is reversible. That feature will make the fan more effective in both warm and cool weather in terms of how it circulates the air in your room.
Do-it-yourselfers can easily install a ceiling fan.
If you already have a light in the spot where you want your ceiling fan installed, expect a simple process to install your new fan. The fans come with very straightforward illustrated installation instructions. First, the motor part of the fan is attached to the ceiling. Then, each blade is attached. Finally, the light is connected. Make sure the chains for the fan and for the light pull easily and that the ceiling fan is well balanced when turning. Note that you may need to purchase one or two pull chains (three dollars each) depending on the height of your ceiling, the length of the chains attached to the fan, and how tall you are.
Older homes might have old wiring there that will need to be replaced. Also, sometimes with an older home some additional wooden support will be needed for the new ceiling fan. Expect installation to take about one to two hours depending on your level of competence and the extent of the job.
Installing a new ceiling fan in a spot that currently is has no light or fan, is a bit more complicated. If you don’t know what you’re doing, this is when most people hire a handyman to do the job. Expect to pay under three hundred dollars, depending on the going rate in your specific locale.
Ceiling fans in a home are a smart and economical way to facilitate air circulation. The fans require virtually no maintenance other than cleaning the tops of the blades on occasion. Expect years of comfort from your new ceiling fan.