By Laura Davis
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting Spring Fever right about now. I am wishing for that warmer weather and have seen glimpses of the warmth yet to come. Now is the right time to start prepping your home for those warmer months and that includes installing or upgrading your ceiling fans. Like all other lighting products, there is much to know and consider when purchasing a ceiling fan. Here are some things you should know:
Keeping it Cool
While a ceiling fan doesn’t actually decrease the temperature of a room, the draft makes the room feel cooler by up to 8 degrees. That means you can raise your air conditioner thermostat temperature without feeling any less comfortable. For every degree you raise the thermostat above 78 degrees, you decrease your cooling bill by 5 to 8 percent. A ceiling fan can help keep you cool, but not the actual room so don’t forget that when you leave a room, turn the fan off.
The Right Direction
Before you turn a ceiling fan on this spring, make sure the blades are set to spin counterclockwise. On the fan’s motor housing, you’ll find a small switch that lets you change the direction of the fan blades. The direction is adjustable because a fan can be used in both warm and cold weather, depending on the direction of the blades. In colder weather, setting the blades to turn clockwise allows the fan to create an updraft that pushes warm air down from the ceiling where it tends to pool. Because no breeze is created, you’ll end up feeling warmer instead of cooler.
Even ceiling fans require a little bit of maintenance. Removing dust from the fan motor and blades is the single most important maintenance item. Dust accumulation reduces airflow, making your ceiling fan less efficient. If the dust accumulates unevenly, it can make your ceiling fan spin unevenly causing it to wear out quicker. Cleaning your ceiling fan regularly (bi-weekly or monthly) can really help cut down on indoor allergies too. Also, be sure to check the screws that hold your light shades in place (if applicable) to make sure nothing has come loose. Loose screws can cause the fixture to rattle.
Style & Options
Ceiling fans are more than just functional these days. There are plenty of sizes, styles and finishes to really make a statement in your home. The three most popular places to put ceiling fans are bedrooms, living/family rooms and porches. Not only are the newer ceiling fans more stylish, they have energy efficient motors and most are Energy Star rated.
If you opt for a ceiling fan with a light, you will be pleased to find the variety of options including integrated LED lights or light kits with shades or a bowl. There are also ceiling fans for any height ceiling. If you have a lower height ceiling, you will want to make sure you find a close-to-ceiling mount or “hugger”. This has the fan mounting directly to the ceiling to save height. Other fan options would have a down rod to allow the fan to drop down from a tall ceiling. If you already have plenty of light in your room, there are plenty of options for ceiling fans without lights too.