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Can Any Ceiling Fan Be Used Outdoors?

Indoor furniture isn’t designed to use on your porch or patio, and neither are indoor ceiling fans. Although indoor ceiling fans and outdoor ceiling fans may appear similar on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that sets them apart. Outdoor ceiling fans are designed for greater durability than their indoor counterparts, to stand up to the elements without electrical failure or cosmetic damage. Here’s what you need to know.

Dangers of Putting a Ceiling Fan Outdoors

Never install an indoor ceiling fan outside, even on a screened-in patio. The ceiling fan will not stand up to any type of moisture. While a patio may seem like a safe, dry space, humidity will always be present. Not only can moisture break your ceiling fan, it can also create a number of electrical errors or even an electrical fire. Installing an outdoor ceiling fan on your patio eliminates these annoying and often dangerous problems.

What Makes Outdoor Ceiling Fans Different

The main difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans lies in the materials. Every ceiling fan model on the market has a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rating that designates whether it can be used in or outdoors. Outdoor fans are made from materials that are designed to stand up to wind, moisture, and even in some cases even direct contact with water. Indoor ceiling fans aren’t made for these more humid or moist spaces, so they don’t feature the protective casing and wiring that an outdoor ceiling fan has.

Where to Install an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Outdoor ceilings fans can either be damp-rated or wet-rated. Each is designed for different outdoor spaces. Knowing the difference between the two is important for your safety and the longevity of your ceiling fan.

Damp-Rated Ceiling Fans

Damp-rated ceiling fans can withstand mist, dew, or air moisture but should not come into direct contact with water. This makes them perfect for outdoor spaces that are completely covered, but may experience air humidity. What sets them apart from indoor fans is on the inside. In addition to protected wiring, the motor on damp-rated fans feature a non-corrosive motor to protect their internal motor.

Where Damp-Rated Ceiling Fans Work Best

Damp-rated ceiling fans work best for enclosed exterior spaces. Popular spaces for them include garages, patios with full-covering, and even indoor bathrooms. During a nice hot shower, moisture collects on objects. Damp-rated ceiling fans can withstand these high levels of moisture while giving you the airflow you’re looking for.

Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans

Wet-rated ceiling fans are more durable, and can stand up to rain, wind, snow, and ocean spray. If your fan is going to be exposed to any type of water, a wet-rated ceiling fan is the way to go. Unlike other fans, these are made with ABS plastic with sealed wiring to protect against electrical shorting. Their plastic design also prevents warping and rusting that would occur on a standard indoor fan.

Where Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans Work Best

Wet-rated ceiling fans can go in unenclosed outdoor spaces like patios, gazebos, exposed decks, and cabanas.

Choosing the Right Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Choosing the perfect outdoor ceiling fan for your home takes some research, especially with so many options available. Once you determine the space you’ll want to place it, it’s important to keep in mind whether or not a wet-rated or damp-rated fan will be the best fit for the space. 

Choosing the right style is important too. Ceiling fans with plastic blades tend to be a great choice for outdoor areas, as they are more durable and less susceptible to damage from the elements. There are many options, even those that mimic the appearance of wood. And if your space needs a little extra light, many styles also feature moisture-safe light kits.

You’ll also want to consider the motor power of the fan, as this will determine how much airflow you can get. It may also affect the noise level and the energy efficiency of the ceiling fan.

Helping You Find the Perfect Outdoor Ceiling Fan

Finding the perfect outdoor ceiling fan doesn’t have to be a struggle. At Dan’s Fan City, we’re proud to offer a wide selection of outdoor ceiling fans to fit your unique style. We’re here to help you make the right decision and answer all of your questions, so you can make your purchase with confidence. You can even design your own ceiling fan.

Ready to find the outdoor fan of your dreams? Shop our selection here.

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