With summer coming up here in Australia, many of us are beginning to start thinking of how we’ll keep cool during those months. An air conditioning service will be great for getting that system ready for maximum output ahead of the hot season. But for a less power-consuming alternative, a new ceiling fan can be a very handy item. But how exactly does a ceiling fan work?
A ceiling fan takes advantage of the physics of heat and air, particularly with how warm air rises towards the ceiling. As that warm air gets to the top of the room the fan slices it up and pushes it back down towards the ground. When a person enters the room, the moving air around the skin blows the warm air from the body heat away from your body.
This does mean that a ceiling fan doesn’t actually cool the air. It only moves the cool air towards you. This doesn’t mean you won’t feel cool when sitting under it, just don’t leave it on when you go out expecting the house to be cold when you get back.
Despite not actually cooling the air, there are still a number of benefits of ceiling fans.
A room with a good quality ceiling fan installed in it will still be much cooler than one without one. This is particularly useful over the warmer months in rooms where an occupant may spend more time in, i.e. the bedroom, the home office or the living room.
Ceiling fans are cheaper to buy and both easier and cheaper to install. Even a professional ceiling fan installation will be far quicker and cheaper than the equivalent air conditioning installation.
They are also far easier and quicker to maintain and keep clean compared to an air conditioner. Plus they’re also much easier to replace, remove or change if your preferences or requirements change.
Do ceiling fans use much power? No, ceiling fans are much better than air conditioners, both for the environment and your electrical bill.
A ceiling fan can be altered to work in winter as well. By changing the direction of the blades the fan will basically suck the cold air from the ground upwards, displacing the warm air that rises to the ceiling back down.
While they won’t heat the area in the winter months, they can be used to speed up the drying of washing for those who hang their clothes on indoor racks when it’s raining. Essentially creating artificial wind, this speeds up the process considerably.
For those of us with a sheltered patio or event area, the idea of installing a fan on the ceiling to cool yourselves or guests during an event might have crossed our minds. And it can totally be done. An outdoor ceiling fan works just the same as an indoor one, only being installed outdoors.
The one thing to be aware of is that there are specific types of fans made specially for outdoor areas. A conventional indoors ceiling fan will not be suitable for the outdoors as the moisture in the air (especially during winter) will cause the blades to rust. There are also special coastal-rated outdoor fans for houses that are situated near the salty spray of the ocean.
Provided you are careful and know how to wire a ceiling fan, you can actually install one yourself. Providing there are no difficult access requirements and you have electrical knowledge of circuits, there is the possibility you can do the job yourself.
Of course we always recommend a professional ceiling fan installation to give you the peace of mind that everything is done correctly. However, here are the steps involved in installing a ceiling fan:
First, turn off the power to the circuit at your home’s electrical box. This is essential to create a safe working environment and protect yourself from an electrical shock. You should also have made sure by now that the fan you are installing will be able to be supported by the space of ceiling it will be installed on.
Carefully remove the existing fan (if applicable) from it position and place it well away from the working area.
Install the physical component of the fan. This means screwing in the fan and making sure it is properly secure, but not completing any of the electrical work yet.
Carefully wire the fan and the wall switch according to the manufacturer’s instructions and test them to make sure there aren’t any short circuits or other dangers before using the fan. If you encounter difficulty with this step, speak to a licensed electrician. Better to be safe than sorry. Additionally, if your ceiling fan has a light fixture this will also need wiring.
While a knowledgeable person can install a ceiling fan themselves without much hassle, the dangers of DIY electrical jobs are always present. Not only will a professional installation by a residential electrician reduce the risk of an accident significantly, it will also be of a higher quality. A licensed electrician will know how to properly install a ceiling fan, will arrive at the job equipped with all the necessary tools and will also be able to better test and troubleshoot once the installation is complete.