If you need information on the difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans as well as adjustments for ceiling height, please see part one. In part two we covered ceiling fans with lights, matching your décor and motor considerations. This final part of our series will cover efficiency considerations, air flow and fan controls.
Ceiling Fan Controls
If you want to control your fan without pulling chains you will need to look into fan controls. Fan controls can either be wall mounted or remote controls similar to your TV remote. Many ceiling fans include controls in the box which takes the hassle out of finding a compatible fan controller.
There is a wide selection of traditional wall controls as well as newer systems such as the Legrand adorne fan controls. If you plan to use a wall mounted fan controls, be sure you are either comfortable installing it or hire an electrician that is insured. Most people only have wall mounted controls for their fan. Remote controls are a great options because you can leave the remote in a convenient spot and not need to walk over to your wall switch. These remote controls are not any different than the one you use to watch television.
If your new ceiling fan did not come with a remote control, and you are planning to buy one, be sure to find one that is compatible with your fan. Generally, you will need to buy a remote control and sometimes a receiver(if the fan did not come with one) from the same manufacturer to ensure compatibility. Even if the remote is made by the same company, be sure it will work with your model of fan.
Room Size and Air Flow
Cubic feet per minute(CFM) is the unit of measure that will be most important for air flow. Generally, motor power and fan blade size will determine the amount of air flow a ceiling fan produces. A bigger fan is meant for a bigger room with greater air flow needs. A higher CFM means that there is more air flow.
Large fans, 50” and up, should produce at least 3000 CFM in air flow. Small fans, 41” and below should put off at least 1500 CFM of air flow. A good amount of air flow between 41” and 50” is at least 2000 CFM. Be sure to note match fan size/air flow with the size of your room. See part one for more information on getting a good level of air flow.
What is Airflow Efficiency?
Airflow efficiency measures how much energy your fan requires to produce air flow. Airflow efficiency is measured with CFM/Watt. A higher CFM/Watt is better as it means the fan produces more airflow with less energy.
Larger fans generally have higher CFM/Watt than smaller fans simply because the blades are longer and produce more airflow. For a 50” and up fan, it should have at least 50 CFM/Watt. An efficient fan would likely have over 80 CFM/Watt. For small fans, less than 42” blade span, 25 CFM/Watt on the low side is good with 50 or more for a more efficient fan. Fans between 41” and 50” should have at least 40 CFM/Watt. High efficiency fans may have CFM/Watt ratings well above those listed here.
Assume you have two ceiling fans with equivalent airflow. Fan A has 60 CFM/Watt and Fan B has 80 CFM/Watt. If you ran the fans all year, 24 hours a day, Fan B would use 175.2 kWh less energy. If you pay an average of 15 cents per kWh that is $26.28 per year. With something like a ceiling fan that you will use for many years, your savings can add up even if you only use the fan a few hours a day. Energy rates are projected to rise over the coming years, so a ceiling fan with high airflow efficiency is a good way to save money.
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