Ceiling Fans
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The latest trend in ceiling fans is BIG!

A decade ago, ceiling fans were pretty much only available in 42", 48" and 52" sizes, the most common size being 52". In the last several years, there has been a huge influx of larger diameter residential ceiling fans hit the market and the most popular size is now the 60" ceiling fan. But the latest trend is toward very large ceiling fans with blade spans over 60"...even as large as 96"! These extra large fans are not only being used in great rooms, but average size living rooms because they spread the airflow more evenly throughout the room. On the flip side, there are now a lot more choices when it comes to ceiling fans for small rooms. There are now 24" to 36" ceiling fans being made for walk in closets, laundry rooms, kitchens and hallways.

Why Have Large Ceiling Fans Become So Popular?

You may have seen an extremely large diameter ceiling fan in an airport, convention center or large industrial complex. These are called HVLS (High Volume Low Speed) fans and range anywhere from 12 feet to 24 feet in diameter. HVLS fans like these are sold by the "Big Ass Fan Company" and similar brands that target the industrial fan market. Although they are far too large and heavy for residential applications, their style and functionality has inspired some residential ceiling fan manufacturers to make similar fans that can be installed in your home. These larger fans have caught on quickly and we now have over 400 ceiling fans to offer that are 60" or larger and over 100 that are larger than 70". Read more about choosing the right size ceiling fan below.

So What Size Fan Do I Buy?

The popularity of large diameter fans is causing the fan industry to rethink the whole size recommendation thing altogether and most of the size recommendation charts you find are based on what was available over 20 years ago. If you ask us, we will say: "Ignore the size charts and buy the biggest fan with the highest wind speed that will fit reasonably in the space!". Leave at least 2 or 3 feet of space between the end of the fan blade to the closest wall to determine the largest size fan you can put in a room (3 feet for ceilings 9 feet or less, 2 feet for higher ceilings). For example: a small 10' x 10' room could accommodate a 48" to 72" fan. Would we then recommend a 72" fan for this room? Probably not. More likely we would suggest a fan 48" to 54". But it could be quite striking visually if the ceiling is 10' high. So a little common sense and personal taste needs to be factored into the equation.

A larger fan can provide better airflow throughout the room as well as create a dramatic design statement. Plus, most of the large fans have relatively low profiles and small motor to blade span proportions, so they are not as overbearing as you might think. Keep in mind that although larger fans typically have much higher CFM ratings, the actual wind speed may be lower because they spin slower. So you can expect less direct wind chill effect, but the gentle breeze will cover a much larger area. Read more about the importance of Wind Speed here!

In a recent ceiling fan training webinar produced by the ALA (American Lighting Association), Joseph A. Rey-Barreau AIA, IES (Associate Professor, College of Design, University of Kentucky) confirms what we are saying in this quote:

"The reality is that we are moving in to a point in time where people are using bigger fans in even smaller spaces, and this is the recommendation that I give to my own clients...is that the smaller fans typically are not going to help you a lot if you are not immediately under the fan. So if you're really trying to move air within a large volume of space, or even within a smaller room, the larger fan is typically going to do the job very very efficiently. But, generally speaking in a great room it was historically 60" or larger, although that number is now becoming the norm for many other even smaller rooms."... "Of course, there are limits to where that size should be. So I would not typically recommend a fan where the fan blades are probably closer than about 2 feet from the edge of the room. That would be from a design point of view, my own personal barrier where I would stop."

Still not sure what size fan to buy? Give us a call at: 1-800-201-1193 or email a picture of your room along with the dimensions to: gregt@hansenwholesale.com

How to choose the right size ceiling fan!

Try our "Ceiling Fan Size Recommendation Calculator" Here!

"Choose the largest fan with the highest wind speed that will fit into the space without overwhelming it visually."

To calculate the size of the largest fan that will fit the room, just leave 2 to 3 feet between the closest wall and the tip of the blades (3 feet for ceilings 9 feet or less, 2 feet for higher ceilings). Of course. If you do not go larger than that, you are OK on the maximum size from a performance standpoint. Visually, the choice is more personal as some people simply do not like the looks of a fan so large...although the trend today is just that...BIG!

The vast majority of the cooling effect you feel from a ceiling fan is in the column of air directly beneath the fan blades. The further you get away from the fan, the less airflow you will feel. There is a significant drop off in airflow just outside of 2 feet from the tip of the fan blades. This is a real surprise to many consumers who install a fan in the center of a room when their seating area is 4 or 5 feet away. Our calculator will give you a range of sizes that may be appropriate for your room, but the largest is the size we recommend most.

Ultimately, the right size fan for a room is not determined by the size of the room alone. You must also consider the layout of the room, where the fan will be positioned in relation to the area where the airflow is most needed as well as how high the ceiling is. Because we are not aware of any limiting factors you may have in your situation, we cannot say for sure that the largest fan we recommend will actually be appropriate for your room. Just keep in mind that the larger the fan blades are, the more area the fan will cover and the closer you are to the fan, the cooler you will feel.

Here's a scenario to consider: Let's say you have a small room that has a normal height ceiling. If you have walnut furniture and choose a bronze colored fan with walnut blades that matches the decor in your room, the fan will look and feel like it is barely missing your head as you walk under it, so you better purchase a smaller fan to help alleviate this feeling. However, the smaller size fan may not move enough air if it gets really hot in that room. So a good alternative would be to purchase a normal size fan that blends in with the ceiling. So if your ceiling is white, purchase a white fan. If your ceiling is acoustic, purchase a textured white fan. The fan will feel like it is higher up over your head, so you can purchase a slightly larger fan that has better performance features.

Some people might say..."Just put a hugger fan in so it doesn't hang down so low". Our response to that is that most hugger fans don't move much air, and really don't save but 2 or 3 inches in head room. There are some exceptions to this, but you really need to know the fan business to know what they are.

So each room has its own considerations when it comes to choosing the right size and style of ceiling fan that fits best. If you have any questions that we have not answered here, just give us a call and one of our ceiling fan experts will be happy to help you choose the right size fan.

For Live Expert Help Call: 1-800-201-1193

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