Ceiling Fan Blades
Blades may not be the first thing you think about when shopping for a new fan, but you may be surprised by how much blades affect both the aesthetics and performance of a ceiling fan. Whether you are looking for a new ceiling fan or want to replace an existing fan’s blades, there are several factors to consider. Some blades are created to withstand outdoor environments, while others are meant to lower energy costs inside your home. By understanding the importance of ceiling fan blades, their types, and in which rooms they are suitable, you can make your home’s ceiling fan work for you—and even reduce your cooling costs in the process.
How Many Blades?
There is a common misconception that five ceiling fan blades work better than four or even three blades. Homeowners assume that five blades means better air movement, circulation, and less cooling costs, but in reality, all five blades do is add aesthetic appeal. According to Energy Star more blades do not move more air1 — even one, two, or three bladed fans can be extremely efficient — what matters is the strength of the motor powering the fan.
Blade span refers to the width of a fan, from blade tip to blade tip. The most common ceiling fan blade spans are 52 and 42 inches. Longer blades work best for larger rooms and create softer, more comfortable airflow. Shorter blades offer more direct airflow and are ideal for smaller rooms. The volume of air is not determined by blade span, but by the motor. A motor with smaller blades will move a greater quantity of air than the same motor with larger blades.
For general, in-home use, many ceiling fan blades are made from particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). High-quality ceiling fan blades, on the other hand, are made from furniture-grade, real hardwood, many with hand-carved intricate designs. Regardless of the material from which they are made, blades come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles to match any room’s décor. If you are shopping for a fan that will be used outdoors, you will want to look for fans with damp or wet-rated ceiling fan blades.
Consider Your Ceiling
The type and size of your ceiling makes a big difference when choosing a fan for your home. Low ceilings that are less than 8’ high need what is referred to as a flush mount or “hugger” ceiling fan. These allow enough head room while still providing good airflow. Ceilings that are 8’ or higher are ideal for fans with downrods that allow them to hang at the optimal 8’ to 9’ from the floor. You can also install a ceiling fan on a steeply vaulted ceiling with a special mount and a downrod that is long enough to allow the ceiling fan blades to turn without striking the ceiling.
Ceiling Fans and Energy-Efficiency
Just about every homeowner wants to go “green” and save on their monthly heating and cooling costs. Ceiling fans are a great way to lower energy costs for the winter and summer months, but only if they are constructed properly. According to Energy Star, the pitch of the ceiling fan’s blades helps, but it is only part of the equation2. For some ceiling fan models, higher pitch does not mean more savings, especially if the unit has a lower-efficiency motor installed. Higher pitches move more air throughout the room, but the motor’s speed and design, blade design, length, and material all impact how effective it is as a whole.
Have questions about ceiling fan blades? Ask the ceiling fan experts by visiting www.CeilingFan.com or by calling toll-free 877.724.2326.
1Energy Star (October/November 2001), Choosing and Installing a Ceiling Fan. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://www.energystar.gov/ia/products/heat_cool/ceiling_fans/H142PA.pdf
2Energy Star, Performance: Components that Count. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=ceiling_fans.pr_ceiling_fans_performance