The Donaire from Matthews Fan Co

Pictured: The Donaire from Matthews Fan Co.

When it comes to outdoor ceiling fans, it’s important to remember that they are specifically designed to withstand exposure to the elements—to varying degrees. However, if you don’t select the correct fan or take the necessary precautions, rust can very easily and drastically reduce its lifespan and performance. Homes in areas where the weather tends to be very moderate don’t have as much to worry about, but for those in areas where it rains or the humidity is very high—such as on the coast—rust can be a very serious problem. Rust is typically formed when certain metals are exposed to a mixture of water, oxygen and carbon dioxide. Similar to mosquitos, rust flourishes in hot and humid conditions and can spread very quickly. If your ceiling fan has a scratch or damaged surface and comes in contact with rust, it will weaken and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to replace it.

Mykonos 52in from Modern Forms

Pictured: Mykonos 52” from Modern Forms

So, what can you do to protect your outdoor ceiling fan from becoming damaged by moisture? Here are three ways to ensure your fan stays safe from rust:

  1. Damp-Rated versus Wet-Rated: Know the Difference—When you’re shopping for outdoor ceiling fans, you will see that there are two different types: damp-rated fans and wet-rated fans. So, what’s the difference? Wet-rated ceiling fans have been UL listed as appropriate for outdoor applications. They can be installed in areas that are exposed to rain and can even handle being washed down with a hose without becoming damaged. On the other hand, damp-rated ceiling fans are only UL listed for dry or damp areas, which means that they can still become damaged when exposed to rain. If you’re still not sure which one to choose, play it safe and go with wet-rated.
  2. Select a Rust-Resistant Material—As you shop for outdoor ceiling fans, take note of what materials they are made out of. Stainless steel is a great rust-resistant material and is the best choice for any outdoor application and is particularly best for salt air environments. Resin or plastic fans are also good choices, but are often not very substantial and can more easily be blow around when it gets a little windy. If you’re looking for a ceiling fan that can stand up to even the harshest elements, we recommend The Donaire stainless steel ceiling fan from the Matthews Fan Company.
  3. Install in the Correct Location—Wet-rated ceiling fans can be installed anywhere, whether your space is covered or not. This includes patios, pergolas and gazebos, as well as in humid areas or locations that are near the ocean. Damp-rated ceiling fans should only be installed in dry or damp covered areas, such as a covered patio or screened-in porch. Both wet- and damp-rated fans can be installed indoors and are recommended for any areas in your home that are very humid, such as bathrooms or laundry rooms. Fans that are rated for indoor use only, on the other hand, should never be installed outside, even if the area is screened-in. Any fan that is not wet-rated or damp-rated is simply not designed to withstand the excess moisture, UV exposure and temperature changes that occur outdoors.

Simple 52in from Minka Aire

Pictured: Simple 52” from Minka Aire

How to Avoid Rust

Even if the ceiling fan you choose is wet-rated, anything metal that is outdoors is always going to be susceptible to rust or oxidation, especially in areas that are close to the sea. To minimize the effects of corrosion, your best choice for any outdoor location is going to be a Stainless Steel Wet Rated Outdoor Fan. Even then, salt air will cause some pitting and discoloration on the best stainless steel ceiling fans, so to make them last longer hose them off once a month and apply some carnauba wax to help protect against corrosive agents.

Outdoor ceiling fans are a great addition to any patio, porch or backyard space. As long as you select the right fan for your location and take steps to prevent rust and salt build-up, you’ll be able to enjoy your new fan for years. Need help deciding on a ceiling fan for your outdoor living space? Hansen Wholesale is here to help. Use our "Shop with an Expert" feature to speak to an experienced member of our team who will be able to advise you on the best ceiling fan for your specific needs.