It’s Wednesday, our day for Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down, and today’s topic is ceiling fans. So what’s up (pun intended!) with ceiling fans? Here’s what we think:
Cindy Gives Thumbs Up to Ceiling Fans
A ceiling fan already installed in a home we purchased taught me some of the benefits offered by ceiling fans. Centered over a two story family room the fan served the family room as well as the loft and hallway area upstairs. Here’s what I like about ceiling fans:
1. Ceiling fans make a room feel cooler during summer. Although they don’t actually change the temperature of a room they make it feel cooler by moving the air – think of the effects of a cool breeze. With air moving across your skin in warm months the temperature usually feels about 4 degrees cooler.
2. Ceiling fans make a room warmer in winter. By reversing the fan blade direction in the winter the hot air at the ceiling level is pushed down to the seating area so it’s not wasted at the ceiling. Remember, heat rises – so as the ceiling fans pushes it down into the living space it will register on your thermostat and your furnace won’t need to come on as often.
3. Ceiling fans help save costs on energy. By using a fan to circulate air in the summer so you feel cooler and by pushing hot air down from the ceiling in the summer you can save on air conditioning and heating bills. Ceiling fans are a year-round energy saver.
4. Ceiling fans provide a light source. Many fans come with lights or a light kit can usually be added to an already installed fan. With so many homes under lit, a ceiling fan with lights is an added bonus.
5. Ceiling fans come in a range of prices so there’s one for every budget. Find fans at high end specialty light stores as well as big box hardware stores - hire professional installation or do-it-yourself – do what works for your decorating budget.
6. Ceiling fans add a decorative touch to a room. Whether your home is Victorian, rustic, contemporary, or filled with antiques, fan finishes and blades can be found that support your decorating style. Consider the finish of the fan’s motor housing and select one that fits your decor – white, polished or antiqued brass, chrome, brushed steel, bronze, copper, verdigris or wood grain. Select fan blades that work with the housing and your decorating – wood, bamboo, metal, painted, stenciled. Some blades are even reversible so you can have two different looks for the same fan.
If you’re thinking of adding a ceiling fan compare the features of different brands in order to determine what works best in your size of room (generally, the larger a room the larger the fan). A knowledgeable salesperson can help you determine the best size of the motor, the pitch of the blades, the appropriate light kit and whether or not you need remote control.
Terrie Gives Ceiling Fans a Thumbs Down
I lived for years in Seattle and none of our homes had ceiling fans. The weather isn’t extreme enough to feel the need for a fan. When we moved to the southwest, not only does nearly every house have a ceiling fan, there are usually fans in multiple rooms.
It took me awhile to get used to the idea of a fan filling up the ceiling – hanging there looking ugly. It’s especially troublesome when dealing with a standard 8-9′ ceiling height. Yes, there are designer fans with interesting rattan blades or themed painted blades, but they rarely show up in the average home – they’re a little pricey. To me, anything that draws attention to the fan (painted blades, etc.) is a drawback, since I want to forget it’s there. Those more interesting looking fans are miles away from the builder standard installed in most homes in the southwest.
Fans are a central ambient light source. Unattractive and unflattering, but a source none-the-less. Standard fans (you know, the ones with the white blades and frosted glass bell shades) basically use naked bulbs pointed down into the room to provide the light. It’s harsh and isn’t good for much other than lighting the room enough so you don’t walk into furniture when you cross the room. It’s not bright enough for task lighting; it’s not flattering enough for ambient, romantic lighting; it’s like a spotlight when you’re right under it….otherwise, not so much help.
I would not recommend buying a ceiling fan if the purpose is primarily for light. There are so many attractive chandeliers. They provide much more personality and interest and yes, attractive light, so I would steer you in that direction.
Oh, and did I mention they can be dangerous? My husband and I were visiting the Golden Garden greenhouse in San Francisco and he wanted a picture of a particular orchid. So he took his 6’5″ self up on a little ledge to get a different perspective and…..wham, smacked in the head with the blade of a fan! He was fine but it drew blood and he now sports a cute little scar on the top of his head. So, I’m here to tell you, don’t stand on furniture or ledges around moving fans!
I agree that fans can circulate the air and help cool a room - they can be great for those in between spring and fall days where it’s too warm in the house, but you don’t need air conditioning. I believe they help moderate heating/air conditioning costs. However, now that we live in a part of the country where fans are a fact in every home, I’ve discovered we actually only use our fans maybe half a dozen times a year. The other 360 days a year they’re just ugly fixtures taking up space on our ceiling.
It’s actually a bit of a tough call…..I think they’re truly ugly and I hate the light, but occasionally I appreciate the function. Given the choice – I’ll pass.
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