Ceiling Fan Questions and Answers
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July 2024
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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)


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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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