FAQ: Ceiling Fans
Why am I talking about ceiling fans?
Good question. Doesn’t everyone already know how to use a ceiling fan?
Well yes and no and I still get asked about them all the time. So, today, we’re talking in circles.
We install ceiling fans as a standard fixture in all of our senior communities. They look great and they can be practical.
Everything you need to know about your ceiling fan
First, how to use it
Part of being a good storyteller is watching people. Even better is when you have two people who know everything about anything and the truths they know are in conflict. I see this all the time when it comes to ceiling fans.
I’ve done walk-throughs with homeowners and watched them turn concord as they argued with whichever friend or family member that had a different opinion about these simple fixtures.
First thing’s first. The pull chains can and do turn the lights and fan on or off. Usually, these aren’t used very often. The light switches on the wall are so much easier to use than the pull chain. Also, one of the pull chains, usually the one on the side of the fan, will control the speed of the fan. Most people however find a comfortable speed that they like their air to circulate at. Usually this is somewhere around the middle speed.
Often, there is also a switch in-between the light (if it has a light) and the fan. This switch is small, and its purpose is to reverse the direction of the fan. Now here is the part that gets people really riled up:
Which season do you have the air pushing down, and which season do you have it pushing up?
I’ve heard all the arguments before, trust me. Some say you want it to push the air down in the summer to create a gentle breeze, some say push it down in the winter to get the hot air back down. Even the manufacturers jump into the debate. If you read their instructions, they tell you what they think.
When it all boils down to it, I say, does it matter?
The fan causes the air to circulate, which is what you want. All you have to decide is do you want to feel that circulation by having it blow on top of you, or do you want it to feel more invisible by having the air go up, then get pushed across the ceiling and down the walls?
For me, it’s an easy choice. I leave it on whatever setting it’s at, then never change it again.
While all of our fans are hard-wired to light switches, they’re also compatible with remotes. We don’t supply them, but I’ve seen plenty of people install them after the fact.
So if you’re a fan of using your fan, by all means, install a remote and change your settings every time your steamy romance novel gets you sweating.
Also, you may not know, but if you ever re-paint, or just want a sharper look for your blades, the fan blades are inter-changeable. Usually they come in two colors. One for one side, and another color on the other. Of course this depends on the brand, make, model of that particular fan. Not all our subdivisions use the same fans as each other. But many of them, if you so choose, can have the fan blades reversed to get a different color.
Usually we pick one color and use it for all the homes, as it is often the best match. But you can also buy your own blades at any lighting store and customize it more toward your personal preferences. Keep in mind, this may change the balance of the fan, and you might need to re-balance the thing.
Third, common problems
The biggest problem with ceiling fans, is that they sometimes wobble. They’re a spinning fixture and we have to deal with this. Just like your car tires, a ceiling fan might need to be balanced.
If your fan wobbles like Aunt Ruth after a few too many egg nogs, and clicks every second like your Uncle Denny’s dentures, then your fan needs to be balanced.
This is done by clipping a weight onto one blade, turning the fan on high, and seeing if it diminishes the wobble. If it doesn’t, then repeat the same process for each of the other blades. Eventually, and this can be a long tedious process, you should find one or two blades that cause it to wobble less.
Once you’ve found these blades, then you apply a permanent sticky weight onto the top of the blade. I usually like to use masking tape first, then adjust where the weight sits until the wobble is diminished the most. Then I’ll adhere the weight permanently.
Of course, if you’re living in one of our senior communities, you’re likely under warranty when you discover an issue such as this. So just give us a call. We’ll be happy to balance the fan for you.
We might not eliminate the wobble 100%, but we should be able to reduce it significantly and get it to stop clicking.
Another problem that can happen is that your lights start blinking. We’re seeing less of this all the time, since we are putting in energy efficient bulbs. Often, the problem starts if the homeowner replaces the bulbs.
The fixtures are only meant to handle a certain amount of watts. Placing four 60 watt bulbs in your fixture will trip the fan’s internal breaker and cause it to either blink or not work at all.
The easiest fix for this, is to put smaller watt bulbs in. Luckily, an LED bulb uses less watts in four bulbs than a single incandescent used to use for the same amount of light.
There are other things you can do, but I don’t recommend them. They usually involve a little surgery. But these two issues contain about 99.9% of the problems surrounding ceiling fans.
Hopefully you found this helpful. It may have just been a review, but it is something we like to mention on our comprehensive walk-throughs. Thank you for choosing Leisure Villas. We are Utah’s best retirement community homebuilder.