fan dimmer

I would like to use a dimmer/speed control with a window fan or a standing floor fan. Is this safe?
I tried using a 3 speed control for a ceiling fan but the low and medium settings on the speed control made the fan go faster, and the high setting seemed to be the normal speed for the fan. Why does the fan go faster on the lower settings?
Are there any speed controls made for portable fans? Also I'd prefer to have a continuous control like a light dimmer instead of only 3 speeds, are continuous controls made? I didn't see any at home depot.
Thanks
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John78785 wrote:

I have no idea that is happening. As below, you can only use a speed control on a motor designed for that speed control.

Not a good idea. It can cause overheating problems. You need a fan designed for speed control. Trying to force a motor to run slow when it was not designed for it is not wise.
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Joseph Meehan

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Ditto, a dimmer on a ceiling fan can -> fire, etc.
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burn out fan faster too

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If anyone makes one it would be- Lutron.com
Casablanca used to make a 6 speed motor with their own controler. I have owned a couple and found them much better than the 3 speeds I'm now living with.
RickR
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On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 09:44:09 -0500, "John78785"

I know that they don't sell these things as add-ons and I find it strange. I suspect that fan users are being ignored in favor of AC users, while dimming lights for romance is still "in".
I think I've seen one or two fans with *built-in* continuous speed controllers.but a) they were the size or shape I wanted (probably box fans and not table fans like I like) and b) if I bought one of those, what would I do with all the fans I have that my mother gave me, left me, and that I find at rummage sales or even in the junk. I wouldn't throw them away.
I respect Joe, but I've been buying or making fan speed controls for decades for my own personal use, at home and at work, and never had any problems.
Maybe I exercise *some* caution in that I never leave a fan alone when it is set so low that it does not spin, or that it spins so slowly that it doesn't move a little bit of air. Even when I'm present and adjusting the speed, I only spend a couple seconds at such speeds, becaause I know the motor will start to get hotter. And there is no point to having a fan that is on but not spinning. If a fan can't spin, it may overheat.
My favorite speed is usually the maximum speed that is still slow enough that I can't hear the fan at all. This has always been enough to blow a decent breeze.
Once I have established a speed that I like, the fans are able to run several hours on end with no problem. If you want to be cautious, feel the motor housing and see if it is hotter than normal. They never are. In fact they are cooler than if the fan was running fullspeed.
Some fans I have are three-speed, and with one of those I notice that I can use a high position on my speed controller with a low speed on the fan itself, or vice versa. I think there is some difference in the ease of adjusting, but either works.
I started with a lamp dimmer. Maybe they still sell this model. Mine is Leviton model 16256, maybe, it's hard to tell because the date of production is stamped over the model number. It was made in June of 1982. It's almost all brown. At one end of the cord it has a table-top little box with a slide control. At the other end is a plug with a receptacle right on top of it. The control plugs into the wall and the fan plugs in on top of it. This worked well enough that I bought a second one. I think they were 10 or 20 dollars
But it didn't work for all fans. Some fans would not spin at all, even when the dimmer was set to maximum. (I unplugged those as soon as I was sure it wasn't spinning.) For those I bought the fan speed controller, a thing smaller than a standard small size spool of thread with 2 wires coming out of it and shaft that rotates in it, that is meant, I think, to replace a failed controller in a wall control for a ceiling fan. I found a plastic box at a plastic store on Canal St. and mounted it in that. Then I simulated the plug from the Leviton dimmer by using a plug and a cord-mounted single receptacle. In another case when I didn't have a single outlet receptacle, I used a 3-outlet receptacle, and I have to remember not to use the other two outlets. (It's easy to remember in this application. If it weren't I would plug the other two outlets, or wrap tape around them, or something.)
I also have one that I made from a slide control light dimmer intended to be mounted in a wall, in a box. I had a metal surface mount box and I mounted it in that.
My fans range from 6 years old to 60 years old, maybe older. Some of the old ones and some of the new ones work with the light dimmer, but any that won't do work with the real fan speed controllers..
I;'ve also use one of the controllers to vary the speed of a smaller than normal bench grinder I have, and I suspect it would work for any power tool that didn't overload the dimmer. The one I mentioned above is rated at 300 wattts max 120 vac.
Right now I have a fan on the file cabinet next to my desk, one on the tv on the kitchen table, one on the tv in the basement workshop, and a little one on the window sill above my bed, which is next to the window. And I have one for my desk at work. (At work they have windows that open in the spring and fall, and they have AC in the summer, but although the temperature is adequate, sometimes it's much more comfortble with a little breeze.)
They all have dimmers or speed controllers. They all run without my attention. Although I suppose one should not leave the house with one of them running, I woulden't be worried if I forgot.
My house has central AC but I rarely use it.
The fan above my bed, one can tell by the design, only 2 blades, all metal, all black, flat base, very simple, was once riveted to a machine so that it blew on the man who worked the machine, in a factory somewhere. I bought it at a thrift shop for a dollar. It's now on a dimmer so it doesn't make any noise, and I also took a thermostat out of a 21" box fan, mounted it inside the plastic cap of a large aerosol can, and I use it to turn the fan off completely if it gets cold during the night. Both boxes sit on the shelve next to the head end of my bed, (my home-built head board that holds a bolster when I want to read in bed), so I can adjust them without sitting up.
Fans and AC are both great, but they both make noise. With a fan one can get rid of the noise, and that makes them truly great.

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wrote:

They do sell this at most hardware stores, iirc. I didn't want to rely on these becasue iirc they are more expensive than lamp dimmers, and the only premade boxes I could find were 4 inches high (x 2 x 2), when 2 inches high would be plenty. The boxes are obtrusive, and look sort of ridiculous. But otoh, you'll be the only one who has one, except for me, and there is some pride to be taken in that. Or you could hide the box, or find a better one. :)

These are hard to find too, and when I do see one it is often for heavy duty cords. Sometimes I find suitable things in appliances like vacuum cleaners that I'm stripping beforre throwing them away,
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mm wrote: ..

And you may never have a problem. I hope you don't.
I know lots of people who intentionally go out and get tans regularly. However 35 years ago, after a stint as a letter carrier working in the sun, I found out I had skin cancer and was given a 10% chance of living 5 years. Now after about 20 operations I still have both legs and am doing well. I still advice people to stay out of the sun although not many people will have my experience some will or worse. Just because you have not experienced problems does not mean your next project may not result in failure or worse.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 11:16:20 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I"m glad to hear you're doing well.
I"m not sure what else to say.
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