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Everything You Need to Know about Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Outdoor ceiling fans are a great way to cool down your porch, garage, or open areas outside of your home. Choosing the right one requires an assessment of the space and determining what features you want. Use this guide to find the answers to your biggest outdoor ceiling fan questions:

What’s the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Ceiling Fans?

The main difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans lies in their UL rating. A UL rating is determined by looking at the fan’s electrical components and determining if it runs the risk of electrical shock or fires when exposed to moisture. There are three ratings used to catalog fans, “indoor”, “damp rated” and “wet rated”.  Fans with an indoor rating should never be used outside, but fans with a “damp” or “wet” rating are fine for indoor and outdoor use.

What’s the Difference Between a Damp and Wet Rated Fan?

Wet Rated Ceiling Fans

Wet rated fans are made to handle intense moisture and the top of the fan is sealed to prevent moisture from getting in the motor. These types of fans work well for uncovered areas such as a pergola where rain or snow may fall directly on the ceiling fan.

Damp Rated Ceiling Fans

Damp rated fans are better for covered areas like a patio, lanai or back porch. Damp rated ceiling fans can handle moisture but are designed to have a roof over their heads.

What Outdoor Ceiling Fans Features are Right for Me?

Outdoor ceiling fans can come with a lot of useful features, including remote controls, lighting fixtures, and different airflow capacities. Which of these features is the most important for you depends on your needs and preferences?

Remote Controls

Remote controls are a great alternative to a wall switch or pull-chain. If your fan will be installed somewhere like a patio where you’ll likely be relaxing, a remote control means you don’t have to give up your relaxation to turn your fan on! This can also eliminate the need for extra wiring depending on your space.

Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures on your outdoor ceiling fan are a great way to maximize space, eliminating the need for a separate light. Adding a light kit to your outdoor ceiling fan can transform any space into a well-lit oasis.

Airflow Capacity

When picking an outdoor ceiling fan, airflow capacity is an important consideration. For most, choosing a powerful fan with high airflow is ideal for outdoor spaces for maximum cooling and heat relief.

What are the Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Ceiling Fan Light Fixtures?

Light fixtures on outdoor ceiling fans feature added protection around the light component itself, to prevent electrical hazards. Wet rated fans don’t usually feature light components since they come into direct contact with water. So if you’re looking to add airflow and light to the exterior of your home, go with a damp or wet rated fan.

What Size Outdoor Ceiling Fan Do I Need?

Like with indoor fans, determining what size outdoor ceiling fan you need will depend heavily on the space you’ll be placing it. Finding the right size is important for safety and efficiency reasons, because the wrong size blade span can lead to aggressive or insufficient airflow in your space. Measure the space and follow these guidelines to get the right fit:

Very Small Outdoor Spaces 6’x6’ or Smaller:

A 18” to 36” blade span is ideal for these spaces. This may be a compact, outdoor seating area.

Small Outdoor Spaces 8’x 8’ to 10x10’:

A 36” to 42” blade span works well in these spaces. This could be a front porch, or small patio area.

Standard Sized Outdoor Spaces 12’ x 12’ to 16’ x 16’:

Blade spans of 52” to 60” inches are great for these spaces. Most patios and garages fall into this room size.

Large Outdoor Areas 18’ x 18’:

For these spaces, a blade span between 60” and 72” inches are ideal for optimal airflow. Large outdoor patios that feature seating and gazebos are examples of this size area.

Wide Open Spaces 20’ x 20’ and Up:

Spaces this big require an extra-large fan to get the job done, specifically something 65” and up. If you have a large, covered pool area then this could be the size for you!

How Do You Clean an Outdoor Ceiling Fan?

Cleaning an outdoor ceiling fan is actually pretty easy! All you need is multi-surface cleaner and a microfiber cloth or rag. Simply wipe down each blade from top to bottom to get any dirt or dust off. Be sure to also wipe down the housing and fixtures too, because these parts can also accumulate dust. For fans with glass globes or attachments, remove them and soak in warm water.

Which Brands Does Dan’s Fan City Carry That Offer Outdoor Options?

Dan’s Fan City carries some of the top ceiling fan brands in America. Our own Troposair and Gulf Coast fan brands offer a wide variety of wet and damp rated ceiling fans. You can check out our entire list of outdoor fans here to find the style that perfectly encompasses your personal taste.  We also carry Hunter and Casa Blanca ceiling fans to offer you even more great options.

How Do You Install an Outdoor Ceiling Fan? 

Each ceiling fan installation is unique and will depend on the fan itself and the space it will reside in. When you purchase a fan from us, it will come with a detailed instruction booklet with information on installation. For the situations where it’s not so simple, talk to your local Dan’s Fan City location. Our experts can assist you with any questions you may have.

An outdoor ceiling fan will maximize your space and keep you cool during the warm months of the year. For any questions about what outdoor ceiling fan is right for your home, contact Dan’s Fan City today!

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