It’s true stirring up the air will make you feel immediately cooler. But ceiling fans do more than just bring about breezes. Designed with the latest home decor trends in mind, these overhead fans move in fashionable circles.
‘Fans today are design pieces as well as functional appliances,’ says Martin Shepherd, national sales manager for Minka Aire, a ceiling fan manufacturer based in Corona, CA.
Kevin Grimes agrees. ‘Customers are interested in using fans as design elements,’ says the marketing services manager for Casablanca Fan Company, a Pomona, CA.-based fan manufacturer.
High-tech, contemporary designs have become popular in the last few years. As a result, brushed nickel, steel, and sleek pewter finishes get thumbs-up approval from trendsetters. Earth tones like rustic copper and bronze are also hot-sellers. Ditto painted finishes and washes.
‘People are more inquisitive than ever about ceiling fan possibilities,’ says Troy Lee, general merchandising manager for Progressive Lighting, Inc., a retailer in Kennesaw, GA. ‘People want something attractive on their ceiling and they are concerned about matching the fan’s design to their decor.’
Ceiling fans work well in any home, thanks to a variety of design options. Ornate filigree blade holders offer a graceful, turn-of-the-century ambience. Brushed steel housing and light-colored maple blades offer the ultimate in contemporary styling. Classic polished brass finishes work well in more traditional homes.
‘Today’s fan customer seems less interested in price and more concerned with matching their ceiling fan to their home decor. I think it’s great to offer a product that make a home more comfortable and adds beauty at the same time,’ said Cliff Crimmings, vice president of marketing, Craftmade, a fan manufacturer from Coppell, TX.
The soaring ceilings and expansive great rooms in today’s newer homes have increased demand for larger fans with bigger blades and longer down rods. Manufacturers comply, creating phenomenal fans that move massive quantities of air and work well in 30-foot tall spaces and lofts.
Fan design isn’t the only thing that’s expanded. Places to put ceiling fans have also increased. These fans bring a breeze to almost any home space, inside or out — from kitchens, bathrooms and dining areas to porches, patios and gazebos.
‘We are seeing more fans being used on patios than ever before,’ says Kathy Held, manager, buyer and vice president of South Dade Lighting, a 10,000 sq. ft. lighting showroom in Miami, FL. ‘People are using their porches and patios as extra rooms. They spend money on landscaping and landscape lighting, then add the fans so they can sit out and enjoy it all.’
With more than 14 million ceiling fans sold annually, most do double-duty, lighting a room as well as moving air. ‘Our research indicates that a majority of ceiling fans are sold with a light fixture because consumers are usually replacing a light in their room,’ says Mark Jeffrey, marketing manager for Emerson Electric Company Air Comfort Products Division, a St. Louis, MO., manufacturer.
Little wonder. Ceiling fans today offer a wide variety of lighting options that add interest to any home. Mission-inspired fans look great with mica or stained-glass light fixtures. Art Deco styles boast white frost fixtures for a clean look. Glass shades etched with flowers add a romantic touch to a little girl’s room.
‘Ceiling fans have become an important part of the lighting scheme in homes today,’ says Held, who often works with customers to combine recessed and decorative lighting with ceiling fans.
Some fans feature built-in lighting. Others work with light kits, allowing dwellers to mix-and-match light fixtures and fitters to create a customized look.
When choosing lights for your ceiling fan, be sure they meet the room’s needs. Workspaces like kitchens and home offices demand bright light. Bedrooms and dining rooms, however, require more subdued illumination. Dimmer switches also allow you to adjust the light on a fan to fit your mood.
To create more relaxed lighting, consider the latest introduction — ceiling fans with indirect uplighting. ‘The uplight bounces ambient light off the ceiling to create a comfortable mood,’ says Jeffrey. Emerson debuted uplighting last year, combining it with more traditional downlighting in several models this season.
Like garage doors and television sets, some ceiling fans utilize remote controls to not only adjust lights, but operate the fan itself.
‘Everything else has a remote, why not a ceiling fan?’ says Casablanca’s Ball.
Tall ceilings and aging Baby Boomers make remotes a good idea. ‘The older population and couch potatoes don’t want to jump up and down to pull a chain on a fan,’ says Minka Aire’s Shepherd.
In addition to turning fans on and off, some remotes automatically adjust the fan based on changes in the room’s temperature, turn lights on and off when you’re not home and dim lights as you leave the room.
Ceiling fan prices are as diverse as the styles. Experts agree, however, that quality counts.
‘Customers are more educated than ever about the different grades of fans,’ says Allan Margolin, president of M&M Lighting, Inc., a Houston, TX., retail establishment. ‘Fans can cost up to $600 for a quality, deluxe model at a lighting showroom. Customers seem to be turning to the lighting showrooms and trading up to better merchandise, replacing ceiling fans that wobble, make noise and don’t move air as well as top quality fans.’
In fact, independent research from the American Lighting Association (ALA) indicates that 70% of consumers do not mind paying more for a higher quality product. The ALA points out that consumers will have the ceiling fan for many years so quality and style should be key factors in the buying decision.
ALA-member retail showrooms offer ceiling fans with the latest innovations in technology as well as style. Consumers can visit the ALA web site at www.americanlightingassoc.com for the name of the nearest lighting/fan showroom or call the association’s hotline at 800 BRIGHT IDEAS (800 274-4484).
CEILING FANS & ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature of a room like an air condition. But by spinning the air, they do make the room feel cooler.
‘Ceiling fans augment air conditioning by moving air and creating a wind chill effect,’ says Martin Shepherd, national sales manager for Minka Aire, a ceiling fan manufacturer based in Corona, CA. ‘If your air conditioner is set at 72, the wind chill factor of the fan will make it feel like 68 degrees.’
Best of all, ceiling fans use only about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb. Studies show that by setting ceiling fans to spin in a counter-clockwise pattern, you can save as much as 40% off summer cooling bills — without sweltering. Simply set the thermostat a few degrees higher and flip on the fan.
In the winter, ceiling fans move warm air back to the center of the room, pushing it down from the ceiling.
‘With tall ceilings, it can be 10-15 degrees hotter up there than on the floor,’ says Shepherd. ‘Ceiling fans can push that warm air back down to floor level.’
Studies also reveal that ceiling fans can help homeowners save as much as 10% on their heating bills. Switch the direction of the blades to spin clockwise and turn on the fan.