Ceiling Fan Questions and Answers
A resource for definative answers regarding questions about ceiling fans...

May 2007
    Jun »
About the Author
Filed under: General, About the Author
Posted by: @ 5:21 pm

Hell, my name is Greg Tillotson

I have been in the ceiling fan busines for over 20 years working as a retailer buying and selling ceiling fans from all of the major ceiling fan brands. I am also the chief editor for Hansen Wholesale (and have been since its inception), which was the very first website to introduce ceiling fans to the Internet back in 1995…and remains one of the largest sources for ceiling fans on the Internet to this date.

Visit Hansen Wholesale Here: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/

With my experience, I have talked to thousands of people regarding celing fans, answering questions and making recommendations. I attend the annual lighting convention in Dallas Texas every year where all of the major ceiling fan manufacturers show their products so that I can stay abreast of what’s new in the industry, speak with product develpers and engineers regarding product technologies, and see first hand what each and every ceiling fan looks like as well as how they perform.

Over the years, I have gained many insights of the ceiling fan industry…and it is at this blog that I intend to log some of the answers that are posed to me as well as impart my knowledge.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me at: gregt@hansehwholesale.com

Best wishes…


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What ceiling fans do you recommend for a tray ceiling?
Filed under: General, Vaulted & Angled Ceilings
Posted by: @ 4:50 pm

Question: What is the best ceiling fan to install in a tray ceiling?

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo Answers!

A Tray ceiling adds certain elegance to a room, so the ceiling fan you choose to install in your tray ceiling needs to be attractive as well as functional since it will draw more attention to and become part of this decorative focal point.

Aside from style (which is to your personal taste), I would suggest first looking for a ceiling fan that has a built-in uplight, which will add a dramatic effect by casting soft glow on the tray ceiling. You will certainly want the uplight to have a dimmer and operate independently from a downlight (if you choose one).

You will probably want to consider a fan that has a remote control or wall control…or the best, a fan that can use both a remote control (you keep on your nightstand) and a wall control you can use to turn on the light when you enter the room.

Finally, you want to consider buying an upper end fan with a good quality motor so that it runs smooth and quiet in your bedroom and does not keep you awake at night, but rather helps promote a good nights sleep.

Without knowing the style of decor in your room, I cannot make definitive recommendations, however, there are several well-designed ceiling fans that I would suggest your first look at. They are the Romantic Breeze form Minka Aire, the Raphael by Emerson and the Banff by Emerson. Each of these fans will add a sophisticated level of elegance to your bedroom while giving you great performance and quiet operation. All come with an uplight that operates independent from a downlight are available as wall controlled or remote controlled fans (or both) for the convenience that I suggest.

These fans can be found at several places online, but I would suggest using the links below to get you started:

Minka Aire Romantic Breeze: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=F724-AG

Emerson Raphael: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF2605WB

Emerson Banff: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF720ORB

Other ceiling fans with uplights: http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/fansearch.asp?sbUplight=ON

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Generic Celing Fan Downrods
Filed under: General, Dowrods
Posted by: @ 4:48 pm

Question: Can I purchase a generic downrod for a ceiling fan at a local hardware store or home center?

The answer is yes in a few cases, but no in most. For starters, even just the finishes between brands are different. What is brass from one brand may be more yellow than the brass from another. The same is true with other popular finishes like Antique Brass, Chrome and Bronze, even white.

Aside from finding the correct finish match (which is unlikely…unless you don’t care), each brand has their own type of mounting hardware for their downrods, and each brand may have several different types of downrods that work on certain fans in their line. Some have holes drilled in specific locations on then ends for a specific size set pin. Some downrods are threaded on one or both ends, others are not. Some downrods are 3/4″ and others are 1/2″ in diameter…and so on. So unless you know specifically that the downrod sold at the home center will work on your fan, you are better off purchasing a downrod that is made specifically for the brand and model of fan that you own.

At Hansen Wholesale, you can purchase dowrods that are designed specifically for the fans that are in lengths up to 72″ (and in some cases longer).

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How much electricity does a ceiling fan use?
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Efficiency
Posted by: @ 4:02 pm

Question: How much electricity does a ceiling fan use?

Ceiling fans are extremely efficient and can cost as little as 2 or 3 cents per hour to operate. Compare this to about 50 cents per hour for central air and you can see there is a lot of money to be saved by using ceiling fans. Of course these numbers will vary depending on your location, but it puts the proportonal cost of running air conditioning versus ceiling fans into perspective.

Certainly you will save the most money if you do not run your central air at all, and instead run a ceiling fan in the rooms in which you spend your time. However, this is not always a practical solution since ceiling fans do not actually reduce the temperature in your home, they only give you a wind chill effect if you are in their close proximity. So in very warm climates, using just your ceiling fans may not give you the comfort level you are used to with air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, ceiling fans will at least give you a good level of relief…particularly if you open some windows in your house to allow for maximum air circulation.

The ideal solution for saving energy with ceiling fans while maintaining your maximum comfort level, is to operate your central air and ceiling fans at the same time. The trick is to raise your central air thermostat by 10 degrees. What you will find is that your comfort level remains the same, but your air conditioner runs up to half as much…which is where you will pick up a substantial savings on your cooling bills.

However, before you go running off to by ceiling fans for every room in your house, it is important to know that there are vast differences between ceiling fans…they are not all created alike and some will perform better than others!

The motor inside a ceiling fan is what makes or breaks it, just like the motor inside a car is the driving force behind it’s performance. There are several different types and grades of motors used in ceiling fans, some being more powerful than others, and some more “Energy Efficient”. The largest most powerful fan motors on the market are made by Emerson (K55 motor) and Casablanca (XLP motor). These motors cost the most to operate (which means they are not considered as energy efficient), but will actually give you the most bang for your buck because they move substantially more air than fans with less powerful (more energy efficient) motors.

The Emerson K55 and Casablanca XLP motors run at about .9 amps, which is equivalent to the cost of operating a 100 watt light bulb. Other less powerful motors may use as little as .5 amps, which means they will cost almost half as much to operate, but they will also move much less air…which means you will need to run your air conditioner at a lower thermostat setting.

I say this because there is a lot of buzz about “Energy Efficient” ceiling fans going around nowadays, which can be somewhat misleading. Although the “Energy Efficient” ceiling fans will cost less to operate, you may find that they do not keep you cool enough to warrant the miniscule annual savings you get from them compared to the most powerful “Non-Efficient” ceiling fans that move more air and allow you to run your air conditioning the least.

Finally, you will find that most of the light fixtures you find on ceiling fans actually use more electricity than the fan motor itself. Consider a 4 light fixture with 60 watt bulbs in it. That will use a total of 240 watts, whereas the most powerful fan motor only uses the equivalent of 100 watts. So you may do well to consider fans with less wattage to the light fixture, or fans with fluorescent or halogen bulbs that are energy saving. You can also put those new compact fluorescent bulbs into a 4 light fan fixture and reduce the cost of the light by up to 75 percent.

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What costs more to operate. Lamps or Ceiling Fan Lights?
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Efficiency
Posted by: @ 3:59 pm

Question: Which saves more energy? Lamps or Ceiling fan lights? (You know what I mean about ceiling fan lights, if you don’t, ask. Not sure what to call them) All of a sudden I gotten very energy conscience. After I take my shower, I turn off the bathroom light right away, and I’m always ‘cleaning’ up after those people who leave the lights on. Just curious, really. I have the ceiling fan lights that I use often, but they make my room so warm. I’ve moved my lamps around (I have 2 little ones that take 60w bulbs) and find that my room stays much cooler and I have enough light to see or do what I want to (normally only use 1).

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

The amount of energy that your ceiling fan lights use compared to your lamps is simply a matter of what light bulbs you have in your fan (and how many) compared to the light bulbs in your lamps. Since you say that you have 2 lamps with 60 watt bulbs, I would assume that you have 4 lights on your fan. So if you have 60 watt bulbs in your fan, you will be using 2 times the energy as your lamps. If the bulbs in your fan are more than 60 watts, then you are using even more.

In any case, if you switch the bulbs in your fan to 13 watt compact fluorescent bulbs, you will be using less than half the power as your 2 60 watt lamps, this is if you prefer to use the fan light because it is overhead. Otherwise, put the 13 watt fluorescent bulbs in your lamps and you will save the most.

Even better, put 13 watt fluorescent bulbs throughout the house for the most energy savings with your lighting.

Finally, there are now a few ceiling fans on the market that are Energy Star rated, so the motors are more efficient, and if they have a built-in light, it will be fluorescent. So you may want to consider replacing your energy consuming ceiling fan with an Energy Star model.

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Can you buy ceiling fan blades seperately?
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Blades
Posted by: @ 2:54 pm

Question: Is it possible to purchase replacement blades for my ceiling fan?

In many cases it is possible purchase replacement blades for a ceiling fan. However, you will need to make sure that the blades you purchase have the same hole pattern as the blades that came with your fan. The metal arms (called blade irons) that your blades are attached to determine the pattern of holes drilled into the blades. This pattern varies between manufacturers and in many cases, each manufacturer will have several different hole patterns they use based on the model of the fan.

Furthermore, even if you find blades that fit the hole pattern of your blade holders, you must be sure that the type of blades you purchase will actually work with your fan motor. Are they to wide? are they too long? are they too heavy? These are questions that need to be asked before you alter the blades that came with your fan.

It is very common the people will as me if you can buy palm leaf blades seperately to add to an existing ceiling fan…and usually we find that the answer is no. There are special fans designed to handle these types of blades. Many fan blades today that are very wide and are made from carved wood or palm fronds…or something similar, generally require more powerful motors, so if you put them on a fan that is not designed to handle them, the motor may burn out. Also, since some of these blades are very wide, the fan bodies that they are designed to work on have very narrow profiles so that the blades do not hit the fan body as they spin.

Based on this information, it is unlikely that you can just purchase any set of blades from any manufacturer and have them work on your fan. Your best bet is to contact the outlet from which the fan was purchased and ask them what your options are, or speak to a ceiling fan expert. If you do not know where the fan was purchased, then you should attempt to determine the brand and model number of the fan so you can contact a ceiling fan expert for help. This information is usually supplied on a label that is stuck to the very top of the ceiling fan motor. You may be able to see the label by standing on a ladder and tilting the fan enough to look at the top. Otherwise, you will need to remove the fan from the ceiling to find it.

Once you have determined the make and model of the ceiling fan, you can contact Hansen Wholesale at 1-800-201-1193 or online at http://www.hanenwholesale.com, and they may be able to determine if there are replacement blades available for your fan, as well as what types of blades will be suitable.

If you cannot find a label, you can also email a picture of your fan to info@hansenwholesale.com and ask them to help you out.

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How much does it cost to have a ceiling fan wired and installed?
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Installation
Posted by: @ 2:27 pm

Question: How much would it cost for electrical wiring for a ceiling fan with light package?

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

If there is already a junction box with wires in the ceiling, a typical installation is around $65 to $85.

Add an additional $35 if the junction box in the ceiling needs to be reinforced with a 2 x 4 or fan brace.

If there is an an attic and you need wires run and a junction box installed, expect to pay about $150-$200 for the wiring alone, plus the cost of installing the fan (depending on the complexity of running the wires).

If there is no attic and no wires (first floor of 2 story home, or vaulted ceiling), expect to pay as much as $250-$350 for the wiring alone, plus the cost of installing the fan (depending on the complexity of running the wires).

If you want the fan wired to a wall switch as well, you can probably add about $75 more for that service, unless the wiring to the ceiling is being pulled from the switch on the wall.

These figures are simply estimates based on what a company I used to work for charged for these services in Southern California. Labor rates vary dramatically around the country, so I cannot say this would be pertinent to your local.

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Hunter Ceiling Fan Capacitor
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Repairs
Posted by: @ 2:24 pm

Question: I have a hunter ceiling fan, 15 - 20 yrs. old , the capacitor is not working. Capacitor is a 6 wire 250wvac. who sells it.?

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

Hunter is one of several fan companies that actually can supply replacement parts for their fans. You will be best served if you call Hunter’s technical support hotline directly to see if there is a replacement part available. They may be able to ship it to you directly, or refer you to a place that can supply the part or simply repair your fan.

Hunter Technical Support Phone Number: 1-888-830-1326

Care must be taken when replacing capacitors in that you need to mark the wires that are removed so that when you install the new capacitor, you know where to put the wires. My experience has been that coming up with wiring diagrams for ceiling fans is more difficult than coming up with parts. So do yourself a favor and mark the wires.

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Installing a fan on a ceiling slanted at 25%
Filed under: General, Vaulted & Angled Ceilings
Posted by: @ 2:20 pm

Question: My ceiling is slanted at 25%, can I still install a ceiling fan?

This post was rated #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

If your ceiling is slanted at 25%, that would be a 3:12 slope, which is about 23 degrees. If you purchase a fan from a specialty ceiling fan dealer, they will be able to supply you with an optional angled ceiling adapter that is made specifically for the fan you purchase. Most of these adapters will accomodate ceilings that are pitched up to 30 degrees (some up to 25 degrees), so you should have no problem. You will also need to purchase a matching downrod.

You will probably also need to buy a downrod as well. The downrod should bring the fan blades no lower than 7 feet from the ground. Most of the better brands of fans will have downrods available up to 6 feet long, and Casablanca Fan Company has downrods as long as 10 feet. A ceiling fan expert can help you determine the correct downrod for your ceiling based on the height of the ceiling at the point you wish to locate the fan, what will be below the fan (furnishings, bed, table etc), and how large the room is.

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Hampton Bay Fan Problem.
Filed under: General, Hampton Bay Ceiling Fans
Posted by: @ 2:13 pm

Question: My Hampton Bay remote controlled ceiling fan quit working after a thunderstorm. Lights will not come either.?

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

There are several components inside a ceiling fan that can get fried with power surges. Some brands of fans have heavier duty components that can better tolerate power surges.

You are going to need to talk to Home Depot about fixing or replacing the fan because Hampton Bay is their exclusive brand which they import directly from China. They do not ususally have replacement parts, so the odds of them fixing it are pretty slime. However, if it is under warranty, they may replace it…at their own discression.

In the future, I’d stick with buying ceiling fans from specialty fan dealers who are have access to replacement parts for the better quality brands like Emerson, Casablanca, Fanimation and Minka Aire.

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Harbor Breeze Fan Globe.
Filed under: General, Harbor Breeze Fans
Posted by: @ 2:10 pm

Question: I have a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan and have been very satisfied with it!!! My question is: Where can I find a repacement globe. The one on my fan fell off!!. I have been to Lowe’s and Home Depot. Since Lowe’s sells these fans, I figured they would be able to help me. Not!!!! How silly of me….They said go to the Harbor Breeze website. Sounds like a good suggestion, but when I Google it or Yahoo it, I do not find a website….The opening where the globe goes is 10 inches. Anyone have a suggestion about where to find a globe? HELP

This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

You are really going to need to take this up with Lowes. Harbor Breeze is their exclusive brand which they import directly from China…and they don’t usually import replacement parts. The odds of finding the exact same fitting glass from another brand is pretty slim to say the least.

Being in the ceiling fan business for over 20 years, I have seen this happen thousands of times, which is why I always recommend purchasing a ceiling fan from a fan dealer rather than a department store or home center. Ceiling fan dealers pretty much only sell fans where they can get replacement parts so they can keep their customers satisfied…their life depends on that.

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Do ceiling fans change room temperature?
Filed under: General, How Ceiling Fans Work
Posted by: @ 1:59 pm

Question: Do ceiling fans change the temperature in a room?

I’ve been in the ceiling fan business for over 20 years and I still get asked this question almost every day…

Ceiling fans do not actually change the temperature in a room. If you place a thermometer beneath a fan, you generally will not see a change in the temperature. However, if you are running a window air conditioner in a nearby room you may see a change in temperature only because the fan is moving the air throughout the two rooms and bringing cooler air into the room where the fan is.

As others have correctly noted, ceiling fans mostly create a wind chill effect, which is what happens when the breeze created by the fan pulls perspiration away from your body, allowing your body’s own cooling system to work more effectively. That’s why we all like a little breeze outside during the hot summer.

Even more, if you use ceiling fans along with central air conditioning, you can raise the thermostat about 10 degrees without noticing a decrease in your level of comfort. Since a ceiling fan costs about 3 cents/hour to operate and an air conditioner can cost as much as $1.00/hour to operate (depending on it’s efficiency), there is considerable money to be saved by augmenting your air conditioning with the use of ceiling fans.

Finally, not all ceiling fans are created equally, so some fans will make you feel substantially cooler than others simply because they are designed to move more air. This has to do with the power and quality of the motor inside the fan combined with the shape and pitch (angle) of the blades. Poorly designed fans have small weak motors with blades that are nearly flat, so they don’t move much air. Good quality high performance ceiling fans have much more powerful motors with blades that have a steep pitch to them and that are fine tuned as far as weight and aerodynamics. But plan on paying a premium price for the better fans, which cost about $300 and up (you need to go to a specialty fan dealer, not your local home center to find them).

Sorry if I went a little overboard…

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How do ceiling fans operate?
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Motors
Posted by: @ 1:48 pm

Question: How do ceiling fans operate? (in 200 words or less please)


This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers.

There are 2 types of ceiling fans: Those with spinner motors and those with induction motors. Spinner motors have a center shaft that the entire motor revolves around. In this case, the blades are attached directly to the motor itself (by blade holders). Induction motors work in the opposite manner in that the motor is stationary and the shaft in the center spins. A rubberized noise-dampening self-balancing flywheel is attached to the center shaft, which the blade holders are then attached to. The latter is the best as the induction motor is more powerful and has more torque. The air movement is directly associated with the pitch and aerodynamic design of the blades as well as the RPM the blades reach. The steeper the pitch, the more torque is required to drive the blades through the air.

The only companies that make fans with induction motors are Emerson (since 1895) who manufactures the K55 motor, Casablanca (XLP motor) and Fanimation (who uses the Emerson K55 motor). Although Fanimation uses the K55 motor in their fans, their wafty palm leaf blades are wide and bulky and not aerodynamically designed, so they don’t move much air.

Casablanca used Emerson motors for over 20 years before they started manufacturing their own motor. Most other fan manufacturers use spinner motors. Spinner motors are measured in millimeters and the best spinner motors are at least 188mm in size, which will do a pretty decent job. Smaller spinner motors such as 172mm or 153mm will move substantially less air and are common in fans sold at home centers.

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Ceiling Fan Wall & Remote controls
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Controls
Posted by: @ 1:44 pm

Question: Can I have a wall control and a remote control for my ceiling fan?

Actually, most of the high quality brands on the market that are sold at specialty ceiling fan shops around the country have the option of having both controls. In most cases, a good quality fan will come with either a wall control or a remote control…and you have to buy the other control separately in order to have both.

As a ceiling fan professional for over 20 years, helping someone decide how they are going to control their fan is one of the first things I always do, so if the person who sold you the fan did not discuss these options with you, they did you a disservice.

I might suggest going back to the place where you purchased the fan and asking them if they have a wall control that will work with the fan. If it is one of the home centers, they may need to special order the control (if it is optional). Otherwise, if you truly want the convenience of both controls, see if you can return the fan and shop somewhere else where you might get more help.

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Ceiling Fans in Bathrooms
Filed under: General, Fans in Bathrooms
Posted by: @ 1:38 pm

Question: Is it OK to use a ceiling fan in a bathroom?


This post was awarded #1 Answer at Yahoo! Answers


Some ceiling fans are specially made and UL listed to be used in damp or wet locations. Generally, these ceiling fans are marketed as “Outdoor” fans, but they are perfect for bathrooms as well as indoor pools or any other location where the fan will be exposed to moisture.


Damp rated fans are sufficient for your bathroom, but you can use a fan that is Wet rated as well. The only difference between the two is that wet rated fans can actually be installed outdoors in uncovered locations that are directly exposed to rain, whereas damp rated fans can handle moisture, but not be directly exposed to water.

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Ceiling Fan Direction
Filed under: General, Ceiling Fan Direction
Posted by: @ 1:32 pm

Which way do I operate my ceiling fan in the winter and summer?


This post was awarded number 1 answer at Yahoo! Answers.

After being in the ceiling fan business for over 20 years, I’ve answered this question thousands of times…in several ways. The technical answer from the fan manufacturers is: During the summer the fan should run counter clockwise (as you look up at it). During the winter, clockwise at a low speed. However, most people get confused with this answer…and can’t remember the next day, which is correct. Plus, it is not 100% correct.

So, here are some alternative answers:

During the summer, you want the air blowing directly on you so you will feel cooler from the wind chill effect (which is how fans cool you off). So stand under the fan and turn it up on high speed. If you “Do Not” feel the air very well, then turn the fan off and flick the reverse toggle switch. Turn it back on high speed. If you feel more air, you have it in the right position. So whichever position you feel the most air movement when standing directly under the fan is the correct position for summer. If you do not feel much air in either direction, then your fan has a very weak motor with a relatively flat pitch to the blade. Fans like this won’t do much good for you in either direction during the summer. If this is this case, you may wish to consider visiting a specialty fan dealer online to get a more powerful fan than the ones they sell at the home centers.

During the winter, it is the opposite. You do not want to feel the air movement from the fan blowing directly on you since this will make you feel cooler from the wind chill effect. So, again…stand under the fan and turn it up on high speed. Whichever mode you feel the least amount of air is the correct mode for winter. However, you want to operate the fan at a low speed during the winter, otherwise, even in the correct mode, you will still get some wind chill effect, which you do not want.

To set the matter straight about how fans work during the winter and summer:

During winter (in the correct mode as described above), the fan will slowly draw the cooler air from floor level directly below the fan upwards to the ceiling where it mixes with the warmer air. The air is then kicked out across the ceiling towards the walls as it comes down. This circulates the air giving you the least amount of direct air movement, which minimizes the wind chill effect.

During the summer, you want the maximum wind chill effect, so the main column of air that rushes straight down from the fan is what you will feel the most. However, if your fan is not directly over the area where you want to feel coolest, say your room is rather large with a fan in the middle and your couch closer to an outer wall, you might find yourself more comfortable if you run the fan at a high speed in the wrong direction because the wind chill effect will be more prominent further away from the fan closer to the walls.

One customer told me how he determined the best direction to operate his fans. He turned on a bubble machine in his home and watched where the bubbles went. To this day, I think this is the most ingenious answer I’ve heard to the question.

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