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Cooling And Heating

What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Ceiling Fans?

Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023

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Ceiling fans are a ubiquitous part of most homes. These basic installations can provide significant heat-relief, and in some climates might be adequate without the additional requirement of a home air conditioning system. The reason for the popularity of ceiling fans is simple- they’re a cheap means of cooling a space. They don’t, however, actually work to cool an area. Rather, they assist in circulation of the air. In order to most effectively take advantage of this effect, it is advised that you adjust the direction of the fan based upon the current season. During summer months, blades should rotate counterclockwise to send cool air to the floor. Alternatively, in colder months, switching fans to a clockwise rotation helps to redistribute the relatively warm air at the top of the room.

What Kinds Of Ceiling Fans Are Available?

Standard ceiling fans are the type of fans people are most familiar with. They vary in size, power, materials, and profile, but all work in the same fashion. The fan "hangs" from a downrod (which may be absent in lower profile models). Depending on the model, a light and/or a hanging chain that changes speed may be present.

There are also outdoor fans that are specifically designed for areas of the home that are exposed to the elements. It is important to consider the exposure level of a space and then find a suitable fan within that parameter.

What Is The Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Ceiling Fans?


Three rating categories exist for ceiling fans: Dry, Damp, and Wet. These ratings are determined by Underwriters' Laboratories, an independent testing organisation. Outdoor fans are considered wet rated, while indoor fans are dry rated. When a dry rated fan is used outdoors, where it can be exposed to moisture, hardware can corrode, exposing wires or starting a fire. The finish can also begin to deteriorate quickly, leaving unsightly colour changes, rust, and signs of premature ageing. Heat and moisture can warp blades. Warping of the blades causes impaired circulation, noise-making, and wobbling. Hence, it is critical to utilise the right type of fan for different parts of the home.

A dry rating fan is best used in bedrooms, living and dining rooms, dens, and finished basements. These areas are all indoor and are unlikely to be exposed to moisture. Damp rating fans are utilised when the given area is outside, but doesn't have direct exposure to water. Finally, a wet rating fan is built to be used where rain, snow/ice, and sea breezes exist, such as a deck or gazebo. In fact, one can safely clean an outdoor fan with a hose without damageing it.

How Does Location Determine The Composition Of Ceiling Fans?


The materials used in making the spectrum of fans are carefully chosen to allow the fan to live up to expectations. Standard indoor fans are usually outfitted with more features and are available in a wide array of styles, sizes, and colours. Wood for blades may be better quality. Outdoor fans, on the other hand, are made with All-Weather plastic. Galvanised steel and corrosion-resistant paint are used. Additionally, the motor is housing is outfitted with a waterproof seal.

What Ceiling Fan Should You Buy?

The plethora of available fans can be overwhelming to a shopper. One must consider performance, size, location, features, and aesthetics. With a little research, however, it is possible to find a ceiling fan that will perform for a long time. Fortunately we have written a guide to help you find the best ceiling fan for your needs.

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