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Things You May Not Know About Ceiling Fans

 Everything You May Not Know About Ceiling Fans

We are in the middle of the climate season. So why not dispel some myths and misconceptions about ceiling fans? What brought me to this topic was a video of a fan with blades that hide above the fan when the fan is off. Sounds smart, but it’s a ridiculous idea.

In this article, we’ll explore some lesser-known facts about ceiling fans, including their history, their impact on our health, and some innovative new features that are sure to impress. So, whether you’re apartment hunting or just curious about the ceiling fan above your head, keep reading to learn some surprising things you may not know about ceiling fans.

Anyway, here are Things about ceiling fans that a lot of people seem not to know

While it may seem like ceiling fans have been around forever, they are actually a relatively modern invention. The first electrically powered ceiling fan was invented in the late 1800s by Philip Diehl, who was also responsible for creating the first electric sewing machine motor.

Diehl’s ceiling fan was powered by a belt that was connected to a water-powered turbine, which turned the blades of the fan. However, this early design was noisy and inefficient, and it wasn’t until the 1920s that the first modern-style ceiling fans were introduced.

These early fans were still quite different from the ones we use today. They were typically made of metal and had only two blades, compared to the three, four, or five blades that are common today. Additionally, the motors were not as powerful, and the fans tended to wobble and make noise when in use.

Ceiling Fans and Your Health

In addition to keeping us cool and comfortable, ceiling fans can also have a positive impact on our health. For example, did you know that ceiling fans can help improve indoor air quality?

Ceiling fans help circulate the air in a room, which can help reduce the concentration of pollutants and allergens that can build up over time. By improving air circulation, ceiling fans can also help reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth, which can be a problem in humid climates.

Another health benefit of ceiling fans is that they can help reduce the risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. By helping to cool our bodies through evaporation, ceiling fans can help us feel more comfortable in hot weather without having to rely as heavily on air conditioning, which can be expensive and energy-intensive.

Ceiling fans heat the room

Yes, a ceiling fan is a cooling device. (See number 2 below.) But its effect on the room it’s in is to add warmth. Why? Because electric motors are devices that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, most of which is converted into heat. The infrared image below shows a ceiling fan motor that is hotter than the room it is in. According to the second law of thermodynamics, we know where this heat goes – to the coldest room.

No, that’s not a lot of heat, but you should know that the net result of using a ceiling fan is that you add warmth to the room, not cool it. [Extrapolation: Almost all of the electricity you use in your home is converted into heat. The exception is the small amount of light energy that escapes.]

Ceiling Fans Cool People

Ceiling fans are only useful for cooling if they move air over the skin. They cool our bodies in two ways: by supporting evaporative cooling and by supporting convection cooling. While the air movement created by a ceiling fan doesn’t touch anyone’s skin, it merely warms the room with no cooling effect.

A Fan’s Efficacy Tells You How Well It Moves Air

Every new ceiling fan sold in the United States today is marked with its efficiency. (Efficiency is an efficiency rating where outputs and inputs have different units.) For fans, the measure of efficiency is the airflow you get for the amount of electrical energy you put in. Its units are cubic feet per minute (cfm) of airflow per watt (W) of electrical power. A good fan will deliver over 100 cfm per watt; a bad one can be as high as 30 cfm per watt.

Bigger is better with ceiling fans

If you examine these labels, you might notice a correlation. Fans with the longest blades have the highest efficiencies and those with the shortest blades have the lowest. That’s why the Big Ass Fans company makes Big Ass Fans. And that’s why you should avoid small fans with short blades like the ones above, cute as they are, if you’re interested in airflow. If you just want to be cute, do it.

Lower Speeds Are More Efficient

Another thing you’ll notice when looking at the fan efficiency labels is that you get more cfm per watt by running the fan on medium than high and even more on low than medium. The only logical conclusion here is to get the largest fan you can fit in the room, leave adequate clearance, and run it at the lowest speed that is comfortable for you.

For this reason, the company Big Ass Fans was originally called HVLS Fan Company. HVLS means High Volume, Low Speed.

Ceiling Fans Probably Won’t Save You Any Money If You Have Air Conditioning

Martin Holladay covered this in his 2010 article on ceiling fans, but it’s worth looking into. If you don’t have air conditioning at all, some kind of fan can save your sanity. You can stay cool for a relatively small cost.

Once you have an air-conditioned home, the dynamic changes. That air brushing against your skin is always comfortable, as is the low-temperature, low-humidity air produced by air conditioning. The hypothesis is that people turn up the AC thermostat setting when they feel the breeze off the ceiling fan, but the data doesn’t support that.

In 1996, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) conducted a study on homes with ceiling fans. They found that although the fans in the test homes ran more than half the day, they found no difference in thermostat set points in homes with ceiling fans compared to homes without ceiling fans.

In short, for ceiling fans to save you money on your energy bills, you need to set the thermostat to a higher temperature. I do this at home but the FSEC has found that most people don’t. Better yet, use fans instead of air conditioners when you can. It’s usually spring and fall here in the Southeast because of the humidity we have here.

A Ceiling Fan Can Decapitate You

I didn’t even know there was a myth about it. Apparently some people are afraid of getting their heads chopped off by a ceiling fan. And of course that can happen, but only if you replace the motor with a more powerful one (like a lawnmower motor) and replace the ceiling fan blades with sharp blades like razors.

So relax! A (normal) ceiling fan is not going to cut your head off. But you can definitely use more energy and make your home warmer by using one.

Oh, and that fan with the interlocking blades is a ridiculous idea because it has two problems: the blades have to be short to fit the motor, and the blades are designed to fit together, not to move air. If you don’t like the look of a ceiling fan, that’s okay. But why have something like that at all if it doesn’t move a lot of air?


  1. Are ceiling fans expensive to operate?

No, ceiling fans are actually very cost-effective to operate. Running a ceiling fan costs only pennies per hour, compared to the dollars per hour it can cost to run air conditioning.

  1. Can ceiling fans be used in winter?

Yes, many ceiling fans are designed to be used in both summer and winter. By reversing the direction of the blades, you can use your ceiling fan to circulate warm air throughout a room, helping to keep you comfortable and reducing your heating costs.

  1. Can ceiling fans be installed outdoors?

Yes, some ceiling fans are designed specifically for outdoor use and can be installed on covered patios, porches, or other outdoor living areas.

Greater Comfort is Here to Help You Find Increased Comfort

Ceiling fans are more than just a way to stay cool in the summer. They are also an important tool for improving indoor air quality, reducing energy costs, and adding style and convenience to your home.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing ceiling fans or install new ones, there are many options to choose from, including different sizes, styles, colors, and features. By doing your research and selecting the right ceiling fans for your needs, you can enjoy all of the benefits that these versatile appliances have to offer.

So, there you have it – Things You May Not Know About Ceiling Fans. From their surprising health benefits to their energy efficiency and safety tips, there’s a lot more to these household appliances than meets the eye. If you’re in the market for a new ceiling fan, consider all of the factors we’ve discussed here to make an informed decision and find the perfect fan for your home.

As a locally owned and operated team in Dayton NJ, qualified HVAC technicians offer a special brand of expertise and customer service to every job we perform. From commercial spaces to residential, we’re able to design and deliver heating and cooling solutions that meet your every need. 

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