Ceiling Fan Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Why are some fans so much more expensive than others?
A: There are two significant factors that go into this. First is quality. The motor in the least expensive units is not designed to run for extended periods of time. The will wear out more quickly and are more prone to make noise. High quality motors can run for days continuously and should last for many years, all while operating quietly. The other factor is the styling and materials. A mass produced unit is less expensive than designs that don't sell as many units. Also, the quality of the finish and materials are a factor.
Q: Are the really cheap fans any good?
A: We've seen ceiling fans for as little as $29. Inexpensive units do not move air as well, do not last as long, and may be more prone to wobbling and noise. They work, but not as well or as long as higher grade models.
Q: Do fans mounted on a long pole wobble more?
A: No. A fan that wobbles on a long pole (down rod), would also wobble on a short pole. It is a balance issue with the fan, the pole does not cause the wobble.
Q: How does a fan cool a room?
A: It doesn't. A fan moves air, which causes a wind chill effect, making you feel cooler. Wind chill is simply the feeling of coolness that results when the warm envelope of air surrounding your body is blown away. The other cooling effect is through evaporation. When moisture on your skin evaporates, it makes you cooler. This is why you feel cold after you get out of a pool, but then warmer once you are dry.
Q: Should I use the ceiling fan during the winter?
A: Yes. Warm air rises, so a large volume of warm air hugs your ceiling. A ceiling fan can be run in reverse to draw air up to mix with the warm air and then circulate it through the room. This is more effective in rooms with high ceilings. Run the fan clockwise at low speed otherwise a cooling breeze may occur, having the opposite of the desired affect.
Q: Can I use a dimmer to control the speed of the fan?
A: No. A standard lighting control dimmer should not be used because it can damage the fan and t usually causes an annoying noise. Controls are available to control fan speed, which are specifically designed for that purpose.
Q: Should I leave the fan on to cool the room if no one is in the room?
A: No. The fan does nothing to cool a room, it only cools the people (and pets) in the room through a wind chill effect. Leaving a fan on all day while you are at work does not keep the room cooler, it is a waste of energy.
Q: Is running a ceiling a fan and an air-conditioner at the same time wasteful?
A: Just the opposite. Running a ceiling fan when you are in the room, makes you feel cooler, even with the A/C on. This results in your being able to set the A/C to a higher temp and thus saving energy. A fan is much more efficient to operate than the A/C. Ideally, you should run only the ceiling fan when temperatures are a little warm and run the fan and the A/C together when temperatures get too warm.
Q: Can a ceiling fan be installed outdoors? Does it help?
A: Yes. There are models designed for use outdoors. They are rated for damp or wet locations, for use in covered or exposed conditions respectively. Outdoor fans have similar benefits as indoors, they provide a cooling breeze, plus they help to keep flying insects away.