If you’re like me and you’re looking to beat the heat this summer, you might want to think about installing a ceiling fan in your outdoor patio area. If you’re also like me, you might be completely in the dark as to which and what kind of ceiling fan you’re going to need. Here are some helpful tips that will not only allow you to enjoy your summer in comfort, but at the same time get the most from your fan.
The first thing you need to make sure of is that the fan you purchase is actually made for outdoors. You may not know this, but ceiling fans are actually designed for indoor/outdoor use. Outdoor fans are actually given certain ratings such as damp or wet ratings, and if you’re going to be installing your ceiling fan where the elements can get to it, you had better be sure that your fan is rated as such.
A damp rating means quite simply that the fan can sustain humidity or a light drizzle, not hard rain. Damp-rated fans are best suited where there is ample cover. This will assure that your product does not get soaked and thus damaged by rain.
A wet-rated fan on the other hand is made to sustain direct rain. Such fans do not have to be installed in a covered area, but can be a bit more expensive. Thoroughly survey your outdoor area to see which type better suits you. And remember, putting an indoor fan outdoors can lead to hazards like electrical shorts.
Out door fans are usually sealed-up completely tight to resist other elements like dirt and dust. Yes, over time dirt and dust can collect in the motor and eventually cause the fan to lock up completely. This will cause the motor to burn out and ruin the fan. Besides dirt and dust, bees can be a problem. A ceiling fan that is not sealed-up tight can become a home for bees and wasps. Their nests can also lead to motor failure and eventual destruction of the fan.
When looking for an outdoor fan, don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it. Just because it says outdoor fan on the box does not mean it will necessarily stand the test of time. Things to look for in a quality outdoor ceiling fan:
- Higher-grade wiring with added sealant.
- Components such as screws are made not of low-grade steel or aluminum but instead are constructed of stainless steel.
- Inquire about the finish on the motor. What this means is that the finish or casing around the motor should be made of some type of weather-resistant coating, like a powder coating. If not a high-grade powder coating, then at least stainless steel.
- DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy an outdoor ceiling fan that has blades made of plywood. No matter how good they may look, blades made from wood of any kind have a tendency to deteriorate under the elements. Heat and humidity will over time cause such blades to crack and eventually rot, not to mention constant problems with mold accumulation. Look for a ceiling fan with blades made of ABS plastic, or fiberglass. Both are extremely durable substances and both resist warping as well as cracking.
- If you decide to add a lighting fixture to your fan, be sure that the lights are sealed properly and designed for outdoor use. A light designed for outdoor use will be sealed properly and water-resistant to a minimum of damp rating.
If you follow these simple procedures, your ceiling fans should enjoy a long life in the great outdoors. Of course, if you find an outdoor fan you really like and want to put it indoors, that’s OK too. But remember, while an outdoor fan is always suited for indoor use, the opposite is not necessarily true. When choosing your outdoor fan, try not to be too frugal. While getting the most for your money is always a wise choice, spending too little and getting a cheaper model will cost you more over time. Most electricians charge anywhere from $100-$150 to install a fan, and if your fan breaks down on you, you’re not only going to have to come out-of-pocket for the new fans themselves, you’re going to have to pay extra for installation. Be frugal, but be smart. A good outdoor ceiling fan can last ten years or more, and make those hit summer months ever-so more enjoyable.