Do Outdoor Ceiling Fans Work? How to Choose the Best

Outdoor ceiling fans makes it easy to enjoy the comfort of your porch, patio or decks in a hot weather. In addition to creating a cool refreshing breeze, the fan also keeps away stubborn flying bugs and insects like mosquitoes, houseflies and gnats who not only bite your skin to suck blood but also transmit infections.

Compared to outdoor misting fans, ceiling fans are less expensive to purchase and operate. Recent models of ceiling fans come with a lighting feature that also adds to the beauty and ambience of your outdoor spaces. Further, you can easily choose from different colors, sizes, and styles suitable for your space.

Another reason to choose a ceiling fan over other outdoor air conditioning systems is for safety of your family member. The fact that they are installed on the ceiling, it is not possible for kids and pets to access them thus giving you a more humble time to enjoy your relaxation.

How do outdoor ceiling fans work?

Like indoor models, outdoor ceiling fans features rotating blades. During hot weather a ceiling fan is run in a counterclockwise medium to high speeds to produce a cool breeze. The rotating blades enhance air circulation around the body and causes the tapped heat and moisture on the skin to evaporate.

Fans that have a reverse feature can also be used to warm the air in a chilly weather. Blades are set to rotate in a clockwise direction to distribute the warm air trapped on the ceiling into the rest of the room. These kind of fans have a great advantage over the one direction models.

Fan blades are attached to an electric motor which creates the motion when the power is switched on. A ceiling fan is usually connected to a wall switch which is used for powering and controlling of motor speed and lighting. Sometimes a cord is also attached on the fan for the same functions. Luxurious models come with a remote control device for easy controlling of the fan.

How do you choose the best outdoor ceiling fan?

Unlike indoor ceiling fans, outdoor models are designed to withstand harsh elements. One of the greatest features of outdoor ceiling fans are all-weather blades, sealed and waterproof motor casing. Many models offer a durable construction with specialized metal finishes for a lasting protection.

Installing outdoor ceiling fans in a shelter such as covered patio or pergola, in a gazebo or porch will enhance its function and durability. Rains, UV radiations and winds will have been blocked from directly striking the fan. Enclosed or covered outdoor spaces are also easy to condition with a fan as compared to open ones.

When choosing an outdoor ceiling fans, here are things to look at:

1. Types of outdoor ceiling fans

Outdoor ceiling fans come in different types including the following

Standard outdoor ceiling fans

These are the most popular fans in most homes. Standard outdoor ceiling fans come in a variety of styles for any décor. Common finishes for these models include brushed nickel, bronze, auburn, black, white and natural. These fan features at least 3 or more blades with majority available without lights.

Standard ceiling fans has down-rod that connects the fan motor to a mounting bracket. When choosing your fan ensure that it has the right type of fixture for your flat or sloping ceiling. After installation, the blades should be at least seven feet above the floor.

Low profile ceiling fans

Also known as hugger fans or flush mount ceiling fans, these fans are designed for small spaces and structures with low ceilings such as covered pergolas, gazebos and screened-off porches. These models does not have a down-rod and the fan is directly installed on the ceiling using brackets.

2. UL listing of the fan

Fans are designed to meet UL listing before used in a given area. This rating is not only for safety but also for the functionality of the fan. UL listing classifies fans as dry, damp or wet. Damp outdoor ceiling fans are made with parts that resistant damages caused by moisture and humidity. They are best installed in a covered patio, screened porch or sun rooms.

Wet outdoor ceiling fans are designed to withstand wet conditions including rain, snow and dense ocean breeze. These models can be installed on open decks, patios, pergolas and verandas. Ceiling fans rated dry cannot be used outdoors or in areas with high levels of humidity.

3. Size of the fan

Outdoor ceiling fans vary in sizes, with some having more number of blades than others. How the blades are designed and the power of the motor affects the rate of air flow. The size may not be a performance factor but it determines where to use your fan.

Smaller spaces require small-sized fans. A large fan will crowd a small area and sometime cause too much air flow and noise that will make the area uncomfortable. Large wide open areas such as a big porch or gazebo will require a large outdoor ceiling fan for proper air circulation.

To determine the ideal size of fan for your space, consider the following:

  • 52-inch fan can cool up to a 400 square feet
  • 44-inch fan can cool up to 225 square feet
  • 42-inch fan can cool up to 144 square feet

Areas more than 400 square feet requires multiple ceiling fans or commercial grade models.

4. Style and additional features

When buying a fan for your outdoor ceiling, you would want to look at some additional features such as lighting-kit, remote control and a reverse feature. Lights are a great addition to an outdoor space and having them on your ceiling fan can be amazing. A remote control makes it very comfortable to operate a fan. You can change the speed level of the fan at the comfort of your couch.

The color and shape of the blades are also important things to look at if you want to add something spectacular in your outdoor living spaces. Blade finishes are available in variety of colors including white, black, light wood, dark wood and others.

The motor housing is also available in variety of shapes with popular colors being white, bronze, nickel, and silver. You can decide to have a motor housing matching the color of the blades or settle for a colors that complement your outdoor decor.

Also ensure that your fan come with the right accessories that suit your environment. Check if you need a down-rod and brackets for connecting to your ceiling. For outdoor ceiling fans with lighting kits, bulb types may vary from incandescent, halogen or xenon. While they all produce light, the brightness, shell life and the amount of power consumed varies per type of bulb.

5. Energy star ratings

To avoid huge electric bills, energy start outdoor ceiling fans are the best option. Energy star devices and appliances are certified as energy efficient and safe to the environment. Energy Star-rated fans have efficient motors and aerodynamic blades that makes them to use less energy.

Outdoor Ceiling Fan care and Maintenance

Fans should be maintained well to keep them working properly for many years. Cleaning is simple but a key maintenance practice. Use a piece of cloth to remove dust from the blades and motor on a weekly basis. Lubricate the moving areas as directed by the manufacture and tighten any loose nuts and screws.

When a ceiling fan produces squeaking sound, check for loose parts and tighten. If it is not working, something might be wrong with connection to the power or a damage to the motor. You may call a technician to fix the problem or take it back to the manufacture if the warranty is still valid.


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