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Can a Ceiling Fan Be Too Big for a Room? Tips for Proper Sizing


Choose the right size ceiling fan;

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Choosing new items for your home is exciting, but it can also be challenging. There are so many different types to choose from, and some things, like ceiling fans, come with many technical factors. However, installing the correct ceiling fan for your room is essential as anything too big or too small will cause problems.

Ceiling fans can be too big for a room, resulting in low airflow and less cooling. However, ceiling fans can also be too small, which creates too much airflow. Some tips for sizing your ceiling fan include measuring the longest wall, measuring floor-to-ceiling, and considering light kits. 

The following article offers some great tips on sizing your ceiling fan. I’ll also explain why you don’t want a ceiling fan that’s too big or too small and what the different types of ceiling fan mounts are for. There’s even information on indoor and outdoor fans and which type you need for your situation.

What if My Ceiling Fan Is Too Big?

If your ceiling fan is too big for the room, it can be dangerous. It may be mounted too low, bringing you and your family into contact with the blades, or your ceiling may fail to support it. You will also get an overpowering amount of air regulation and potentially a lot more noise.

Some people like the aesthetics of an overly large ceiling fan, but many others feel that they spoil the room’s decor. A big ceiling fan can work as a focal point to your room, but it can also be intrusive and ugly. 

What if My Ceiling Fan Is Too Small?

When your ceiling fan is too small, it fails to regulate the room’s airflow and temperature correctly. It won’t cool your room down because it isn’t powerful enough. For the best effect, you want your ceiling fan to move as much air as possible.

How to Measure Your Room for a Ceiling Fan

The best way to get the right size fan for your room is to measure the space correctly. Start by measuring the longest wall. This is the measurement you will need to choose the right ceiling fan, as shown in the table below.

Length of Longest WallCeiling Fan Size
< 12 feet (< 3.67 m)36 inch (0.91 m)
12 – 15 feet (3.67 – 4.57 m)44 – 48 inch (1.12 – 1.22 m)
> 15 feet (> 4.57 m)52 inch (1.32 m)

Ceiling fans are usually sold by blade span, so if your room is 12 feet, you’d be looking for a fan with a 44 inch (1.12 m) blade span. 

You can buy an excellent tape measure from Amazon.com. The Komelon SL2825 Self Lock 25-Foot Power Tape is push-button operated and has a self-locking function. 

Below is an excellent video on mounting and removing ceiling fans by Handy Dad TV:

Ceiling Fan Installation for Renters and first-time Homeowners

Tips for Proper Ceiling Fan Sizing

Selecting the best ceiling fan can feel a little overwhelming, but by following these great tips, the process will be easy. 

To get accurate measurements, you’ll need a ladder or stepladder, like the Delxo Step Ladder from Amazon.com. It’ll hold up to 330 lb (150 kg) and comes with one, two, or three steps. 

Measure the Longest Wall in the Room

This is the best way to get the right size fan, as you can compare the measurement to the guidance on ceiling fan packaging. For an excellent size guide, see the table above. 

Measure Floor-to-Ceiling

Getting an accurate measurement of your room’s height goes a long way towards choosing the right ceiling fan. A ceiling fan that is too low might be ugly or even dangerous, and a ceiling fan that is too high won’t improve airflow or regulate temperature adequately.

Consider a Lighting Kit

If you intend to fit a light kit to your fan, you’ll want to consider the extra length underneath your fan, as well as how the fan will look in your room. You’ll also want to choose the right lighting for your space.

How to Mount a Ceiling Fan

First, you’ll need to measure the ceiling’s height to determine which type of mount you’ll need. Measure from floor to ceiling, but be aware of safety as you do this. Never use a ladder when you’re alone. 

Once you’ve determined height, it’s time to figure out which kind of mount your new fan will need. 

Types of Ceiling Fan Mounts

If your ceiling is 8 feet (2.44 m) or less, above the floor, you’ll need a flush-mounted ceiling fan. However, if your ceiling is more than 8 feet (2.44 m) from the floor, you’ll need some form of downrod to mount your fan. The greater the distance, the longer downrod you’ll need. For example:

Floor-to-Ceiling MeasurementLength of Downrod Required
10 feet (3 m)12 inches (30.5 cm)
12 feet (3.66 m)24 inches (61 cm)
20 feet (6 m)72 inches (1.82 m)

The more downrod you’re using, the more lead wire you’ll need, so it’s worth stocking up on this too. 

If you have a sloping ceiling, you can get angled downrods to help you account for your ceiling’s gradient.

If you are installing any electrical product yourself, please ensure health and safety guidelines are followed, as well as double-checking any relevant building codes, such as the National Electrical Codes.

Can I Use a Ceiling Fan Outdoors?

Ceiling fans come in two types: indoors and outdoors. Outdoor ceiling fans are much more robust and come with rust-resistance and other protective materials. If you want to use a fan around water or damp, it’s best to install an outdoor fan. 

When you install a fan in a wet or damp room or outside, you’ll need to make sure it meets UL wet/damp regulations. You can find the UL listing in the product information. However, if there are no details on the product’s UL category, assume the ceiling fan in question is for indoor use only.

The UL listings look like this:

  • UL Listed (for dry locations), or UL Listed: suitable for indoor use in dry areas only.
  • UL Listed for damp locations: sometimes marked as ‘Suitable for Wet Locations,’ or ‘Suitable for Dry Locations.’ Damp-rated ceiling fans are suitable for use in areas exposed to moisture or steam, such as poorly ventilated bathrooms and kitchens. You can also use Damp-rated ceiling fans for indoor pools. For use outdoors, keep these ceiling fans undercover and do not allow water to come into direct contact with them.
  • UL Listed (for wet locations: ‘wet-rated,’ ceiling fans are the only products suitable for outdoor or indoor use in wet areas. If water is likely to come into direct contact with the fan or the electricals running the fan, you’ll need a wet-rated product. For a ceiling fan mounted in, or close to, an enclosed shower, install UL Listed (for wet locations) products only.

You can use outdoor ceiling fans inside but never use an indoor fan outside.

Final Thoughts

In this article, I offered advice on choosing the right size ceiling fan and why it matters. I also gave you some handy tips on sizing your ceiling fans and explained the types of mounts. Furthermore, I explained the wet/damp ratings you’ll find on the packaging and what they mean. Plus, you’ll find two useful tables describing ceiling fan sizes and downrod lengths. 

Sources

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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