I'd love some advice regarding ceiling fans. I am buying a new house
which has no central air and no ceiling fans. Central air is too
expensive a proposition at this point, so I was considering putting
ceiling fans in all the major rooms to improve air circulation and
cooling. Downstairs doesn't present a problem, but upstairs the
ceilings are just 7 feet high. There are three rooms upstairs 15x15, 12x10 and 10x8. Are ceiling fans an option here? I've heard
about the 'hugger' models, but are they going to be effective,
espcially in the smaller room? If I do put them in, what do you
suggest for a blade length?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Frankly I think ceiling fans are overrated. They can be convenient in
some situations and you may well have that situation downstairs, but with 7
foot ceilings, I don't think I would want one, even a hugger.
Any number of appliance fans are made. I suggest considering some sort
of fan designed to sit on the floor. Depending on your location, you may
want a window A/C for a bed room. I really hate trying to sleep when it is
warm and humid. A mobile fan will allow you to try it out in different
rooms so you can decide if it will work and if so you can buy more like it.
In any case good luck and stay cool.
Ceiling fans don't help with cooling. They circulate the hot air and
sometimes the draft may make you feel a tad cooler if you are in the moving
Much more beneficial, especially at night, is a fan to exhaust the hot air
and draw in the cool air. Whole house fans can do a good job. Fans don't
dehumidify either. You may want a small AC in the bedroom so at least you
can sleep well.
They do, IMO, especially at night, helping a whole house fan or natural
ventilation. A narrow cool air stream won't cool the mass of a house much
at night. Cool night air needs to scrub the thermal mass of the walls.
It can make you feel a LOT cooler :-) See the ASHRAE 55-2004 standard.
I think this tends to be a local thing. In some climates they seem to
work well and in others they are worthless. In recent years I believe they
have been over sold and many people in areas that they are not very helpful
for put them in and now a few years later, seldom use them.
I use my ceiling fan (in the computer room) almost everyday. I put
it on when returning from my daily workout or after bathing. It is a
blessing when the A/C needs repair. I have a small four-paddle
ceiling fan in the small room. All my ceiling fans are hard wired to
a switch at the door. I turn it off when leaving the room.
Good idea, except to help with night ventilation. FSEC planned a motion
detector for the lovely Gossamer Windward II fan, but it never got
implemented, perhaps because the blades or fan-wiggling triggered it.
You might put one on the wall.
When run slowly in reverse, ceiling fans can lift cooler air from the floor
upward. Too fast seems to defeat the purpose, based on my observations, but
a slow speed definitely makes a noticeable difference.
Now, the trick is getting your average walkin' around slob to NOTICE the
instruction manual in the box the fan came in, and then actually READ the
7 foot ceiling? Yikes. I will not put an fan in unless there is 7'6"
clearance from the finished product. Even an hugger will not achieve this
in your situation.
Surely you mean 8 foot ceilings.
Not planning for the a/c now will cost an fortune later. At least install
the ducts and registers to an central location.
I agree with the whole house ventatulator. I grew up with one of those,
until Mom wanted a/c so she could sleep in the hot muggy nights of southern
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
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I think those who are replying negatively are possibly a little too rich and
I have a moral problem with using too much energy, and therefore I do not
have, never have had, nor ever will have, air conditioning. I do have it in
my car, as it is more efficient to drive with the windows closed, but even
then use the "fresh air" vent option as much as possible.
That said, I've installed ceiling fans in most every room of both of the
houses I've owned over the last 17 years. I LOVE them. They work great. I
even installed one in the galley part (used to be a pantry, of all things)
of my 5 foot wide by 9 foot long "kitchen". It's a little 30" model, and of
course a "hugger". It helps enormously!
I've learned to love to hear the outside noises. I feel connected to the
world at large, and in touch with what is going on around me. I am often
the first neighbor to notice a problem, as others are behind closed doors
and windows and hear little or nothing!
The crickets at night and the birds in the morning are music to my ears.
I've had a whole house exhaust fan, and it works great, too. But it died
two years ago, and I've lived without it just fine.
BTW, I'm in hot and humid Baltimore, Maryland.
Me too. Our UU church is having a candlelight vigil tonight for the 1000
Americans (and 1 million Iraquis?) killed in our latest Gulf war. Skipping
the candles and standing outdoors under our 1000 watts of dusk-to-dawn
parking lot lights might be more to the point. We might even (gasp!) turn
them off tonight. Our US energy appetite is a large part of the problem.
How did OUR oil get under THEIR country? :-)
Steve Baer went all the way from Albuquerque to West Texas to find
a new pickup truck with no AC. He and his wife Holly use 80 kWh/mo
of electricity, less than 1/10 of an average US household.
And people feel cooler. Equally comfy at 80 F with no air movement and
82.6 F with 0.5 m/s, at 60% RH, according to the ASHRAE 55-2004 standard,
based on worldwide surveys of over 21,000 people.
You might replace it with Grainger's $73 4TM66 16" reversible window fan,
which moves 3290 cfm with 84.1 watts or their $183 3C614 20" window fan,
which moves 7005 cfm with 170 watts, which can capture lots of cool night
air. Typical whole house fans are harder to mount, leak wintertime air,
cost twice as much, and are half as efficient.
Moreso than Phila, at 77.0 vs 76.7 F in July,
with average daily mins of 67.2 and 66.8...
Thanks for the advice on the fan. How quiet are those window fans? My old
one (was really old, too--when I took it apart to try to fix it the
insulation on the wires just fell to pieces!) positively roared--and
vibrated the attic floor, too.
| Thanks for the advice on the fan. How quiet are those window fans? My
| one (was really old, too--when I took it apart to try to fix it the
| insulation on the wires just fell to pieces!) positively roared--and
| vibrated the attic floor, too.
I have this window fan (WCW-1616) and like it very much. It's quiet,
powerful, reversible and is designed to be mounted inside the window frame
so the window can be shut while fan is installed. I also like the thermostat
control that automatically shuts off fan when the air is sufficiently
Thank you for all your excellent comments. The new house is over 100
years old and is near Pittsburgh and I wish I were kidding about the 7
foot upstairs ceilings. My old house in Eastern PA does have ceiling
fans in just about every room and I am a huge proponent. Although
I'll agree they don't do the job on the really humid days, they are
very useful for the simply hot days and for air circulation. I do
plan to put a window AC unit in the main bedroom for the worst of the
days and an exaust fan is an excellent suggestion to assist in
I think I will test out one hugger ceiling fan with no light fixtures
for the bedroom. If I find it works out here, I might install in the
smaller rooms before next summer. If not, then I won't have gone
through the expense.
Whatever you decide, do NOT under any circumstances buy a Hunter fan, unless
you think it's cute to support slobs who sell awful products. Get yourself a
Casablanca and you'll be happy forever, at least with the fan purchase.
| Whatever you decide, do NOT under any circumstances buy a Hunter fan,
| you think it's cute to support slobs who sell awful products. Get yourself
| Casablanca and you'll be happy forever, at least with the fan purchase.
I've had Hunter fans for years and have never had a problems with them.
They're priced moderately, last forever, are quiet and are the easiest fan I
know of to install. I'd be curious to know the origins of your dislike for
Hunter fans and perhaps some documentation of your opinion. Just how do know
all people who sell Hunter fans are "slobs"? Me thinks you sound like a
disgruntled ex-Hunter employee (or perhaps a current Casablanca employee).
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