Funny Facts About Fans

Given that we've changed the layout of the house to catch the prevailing breezes, we were planning on doing without air conditioning alltogether. We figure that with this greatly improved cross-ventilation and the addition of a cool roof, reflective foil and some bulk insulation, ceiling fans in most rooms should be adequate to keep us comfortable.

So off I go researching ceiling fans ... and it's rather insane what I discovered:

  • The blade angle and motor power together dictate how much air a fan can move, however many cheap fans and even some very expensive ones that are designed to look like "period replicas", have a very shallow blade angle so that the air resistance does not overly tax the underpowered motor.
  • The default light kits for many ceiling fans use either a halogen or two incandescent light globes, so in buying these you'd actually be unnecessarily warming yourself with the light source while at the same time cooling yourself with the fan. How stupid is that? Better to go with manufacturers who at least offer a compact fluorescent light kit option.
  • Lastly, the efficiency of ceiling fans is affected by how and where they are installed. In order to circulate the air in a room efficiently the size and quantity of fans needs to be right for the space and there also needs to be enough space between the ceiling and fan blades and the blade tips and adjacent walls. This requires careful planning and for high ceilings, most likely extension down rods.

Too few fan manuafacturers and retailers publish this kind of critical information. It seems that all too often purchasing decisions are made based on how a fan looks rather than how well it is likely to work and what can be done to maximize its efficiency and thereby reduce the need for air conditioning.

I think that we need something similar to the energy star rating for all such appliances with minimum standards set that would eradicate inefficient and substandard models from the market. More consumer information and education would also be helpful.

FYI, we decided to go with the Hunter Pacific Typhoon ceiling fans with CFLs and extension down rods where applicable. This model has a 22 degree blade pitch and got a good writeup in Choice magazine.

Comments

ceiling fans

Thanks for sharing that information. We are not sure what we will do re: ceiling fans because we have ornate ceiling roses in most of our rooms. It is a question of aesthetics vs summer comfort. At the moment we are using desk or pedestal fans during the night. We do plan to put a ceiling fan in one bedroom, so I will be interested how the fans will look in your house. Cheers Anita

"T" Hook for ceiling rose fan mounting

Hi Anita. Thanks for your comment. Yes, aesthetics are important. We looked at a lot of fans and some would certainly suit a character home nicely (see this range from Recollections for instance) but looks aren't everything. If they aren't effective, there's no point to them. FYI: Hunter Pacific have an accessory called a "T" Hook for ceiling rose fan mounting that you may want to take a look at. The Typhoon model we chose is rather classic / generic in looks and in white should blend in well.

Fans

Thanks Brian. That is really interesting to know about that T Hook. It has definitely increased our options for cooling the house without resorting to air-con. And you're right about looks not being everything...at least in the bedrooms where you can close the doors! Cheers Anita