Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Ceiling Fans* (*but Were Afraid To Ask)

Posted: September 17, 2020
Category: Tips , Smart Home/New Tech , Home

Did you know that September 18 has been designated National Ceiling Fan Day? That’s right. Ceiling fans get their own appreciation day, and why not? Equal parts appliance and decorative home accessory, ceiling fans have boomed into a global 10.1 billion dollar business. And with models on the market today boasting added features like interchangeable blades and voice activation, there’s never been a better time to install a new fan or upgrade an existing unit.



The modern ceiling fan can trace its roots to 17th century India where wealthy people had a device called a punkah installed in their homes. Operating in the same manner as a hand fan, a punkah was a long wooden frame covered with cloth that was suspended from the ceiling of a room. A servant called a Punkahawala would pull a rope attached to a pulley that would make the frame softly move back and forth creating a gentle breeze in the room. It wasn’t long before fashion took hold of the device and some punkahs were made with elaborate designs on the cloth depending on the taste and budget of the homeowner.

Fast forward two hundred years across the globe in the United States when the modern rotary ceiling fan was invented. Installed using a network of belts that used steam energy to drive multiple units throughout multiple rooms, these fans gained quick popularity in commercial spaces. Ironically, these cooling devices used hot steam for power. It would take a few decades, the advent of the power grid, and a re-configured sewing machine motor before the first electric ceiling fan would spin above heads circulating air.



So, you’ve decided to get a ceiling fan. Congratulations! You’ll have plenty of styles to choose from but remember the cardinal rule; form follows function. Where you place the fan and the size of the room should dictate the size and style of the unit you purchase.

Since a ceiling fan literally has spinning blades overhead, height and room placement should be a primary concern. Fans should be installed in the middle of the room at least seven feet above the floor and 18 inches from any wall. If the ceiling height allows, install the fan eight or nine feel above the floor for optimal airflow.

For achieve the ideal height, fans come with a variety of mounts.

  • Standard – with a 3 to 5-inch down rod.

  • Extended – for tall ceilings. Down rods range from 6 inches to 120 inches.

  • Flush Mounts – for short ceilings are anchored directly.

  • Sloped Mounts – for angled ceilings.

Aesthetically and functionally, the size of the fan should neither dominate nor be dwarfed by the room. Energy Star suggests using the following guide to determine which size fan you’ll need.


Room Dimension                                Suggested Fan Size

Up to 75 ft2                                         29 – 36”

76 – 144 ft2                                         36 – 42”

144 – 225 ft2                                      44”

225 – 400 ft2                                      50 – 54”




Outside of their use in kitchens, most interior designers tend to shy away suggesting ceiling fans with built-in lights. Visually, they tend to provide uneven stark lighting in living room spaces. But not every room has recessed lighting capacity, so sometimes a fan/light combination is the best option. Fortunately, a good selection of fans with light kits come with low profile LEDs that are versatile and energy efficient.

If you’re installing a fan with LEDs, you’ll most likely have the option to choose a color temperature. To find out what that color temperature is, for the Kelvin number on the specs. The lower the number, the warmer the light will appear, and the higher the number, the cooler it will look.



Now that you’ve determined the size, height, placement, lighting capability and style of your fan, how are you going to control it? There are four options here:

  1. The Pull Chain – The simplest most economical and least versatile option.

  2. Wall Control – Either part of or independent of your light switch.

  3. Remote Control – Palm of your hand convenience but easy to lose.

  4. Smart Home – Wi-Fi-enabled fans controlled by either smartphone or voice control.



Are you ready to celebrate National Ceiling Fan Day? You may not have time for 2020, but you can get a jump on the 2021 festivities by making a simple phone call. For over fifty years, PK & Altman Electric has performed ceiling fan installations across New York City. We’re on hand for all phases of the process from helping you choose the fan that’s right for you to the removal of an existing fixture and custom wiring for the latest smart home models. We perform all manners of fan installations for both inside your home and business as well as outdoor spaces. And, as a licensed contractor approved by Con Edison, all work done by PK & Altman Electric’s expert staff is guaranteed to meet New York City safety code standards.

From contemporary chic to a classic look straight out of the film Casablanca, our team of licensed electricians in on-hand to help you warm up your style while cooling things down! No project is too difficult. From estimate to completion, we’ll make sure that your new fan installation is a breeze!


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