outdoor ceiling fans

A Sizable Summer Guide to Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Outdoor ceiling fans are a great way to add cooling airflow to a patio or entertainment area during drinks or dining alfresco.

You don’t need to see the results of a ‘most popular search’ to know Aussies think it’s difficult to survive the summer without climate control. And air conditioning is ineffective outdoors, making ceiling fans the go-to for adding that alluring airflow to sheltered areas.

So, we’ve compiled these facts about fans and divided them into digestible bites. This way, you make informed decisions regarding your veranda, patio, or deck while keeping the family and friends cool and comfortable. Here’s what you need to know about outdoor ceiling fans:

ceiling fan at porch

How a Ceiling Fan Works

Ceiling fans appear straightforward: they circulate air, right? This is true, but the more details you know, the more impressive you can sound at parties and get-togethers.

During normal summer use, the blades of a ceiling fan rotate counter clockwise. This forces air downwards, creating a wind chill effect. According to How Stuff Works, wind chill is a perceived drop in air temperature felt by the body in relation to airspeed. The faster the airflow, the greater the cooling effect.

Ceiling fans don’t cool a room or outdoor space. Instead, the wind chill helps lower skin and body temperature to make a hot climate more bearable. They cool you directly rather than the surroundings.

Fans also help circulate stagnant air that gets trapped at high ceilings and along walls.

Many modern ceiling fans feature a switch at their base or a button on the remote that allows you to change the blades’ rotation. Reverse the direction to clockwise during winter, and the fan creates an updraft that pulls cold air away and pushes trapped warmth along the ceiling and down the walls to help make a living space feel warmer.

So, there are benefits to using ceiling fans all year round.

ceiling fan direction infographic

Outdoor Ceiling Fans vs Indoor Fans

Outdoor ceiling fans function the same as their indoor counterparts. The main difference between the two is the construction.

Most modern fans are made using aluminium and ABS, an affordable, tough plastic with strong resistance to heat.

Outdoor fans go a few steps further by protecting the motors with a waterproof seal, keeping them safe from moisture. These products also feature powder coated finishes to reduce the risks of corrosion and rust when exposed to saltwater spray. Use an indoor fan outside, and you risk electrical faults and the fan being warped by the weather.

Outdoor products also possess additional classifications, including a combination of a damp rating, wet rating or IP rating. These refer to a model’s resistance and ability to withstand moisture, water and its overall waterproof rating.

It’s also possible that your desired outdoor fan will have a more powerful motor to help cool a larger, open space. But this will always differ between models. So before purchasing, check the desired range to what’s suitable for your location and purpose.

What Size Outdoor Fan Do You Need?

Choosing the right fan for your home goes beyond colour and style. You’ll also want to select a fan or fans sized appropriately for the task at hand. Here’s a useful guide to choosing the correct ceiling fan diameter for a range of spaces:

ceiling fan size guide

How Many Blades Should a Fan Have?

The number of blades featured on a fan provides more than aesthetic qualities. Traditional 3 and 4 blade ceiling fans tend to be more affordable and require less energy for rotation. They also provide more airflow, and so produce a stronger wind chill effect.

Moving up to 5 and 6 blade outdoor fans, the wind chill effect is subdued. However, these fans offer quieter operation. The less ambient noise and wind chill, the less disruptive the operation. So again, consider your needs before settling in on the desired ceiling fan.

Ceiling Fan Running Costs

Ceiling fans are one of the most affordable forms of climate control in Australia. Canstar Blue compares the running costs of ceiling fans depending on their output measured in wattage. Regardless of product variations, you’re looking at paying no more than 1-2 cents per hour per ceiling fan.

These running costs are accurate to energy prices in Australia, and modern fans with DC motors will consume less energy than those with AC motors. Either way, you won’t pay more than 50 cents per day per fan, and you would need to be operating one 24/7 even to get close.

ceiling fans outdoors

Outdoor Ceiling Fan Prices

Like all forms of appliances, there’s a category of fans to suit every price range. Search any shop or online listing, and you’ll discover that prices start at around the $200 mark for basic 3 blade units. For designer 6 blade units with expansive diameters, you could pay up to $3000. But most quality fans fall between $500 and $1,000.

Of course, you will be looking for shapes, colours and styles that compliment your outdoor décor. There’s a limitless selection available—traditional styles to contemporary, rustic and industrial, among others.

Some fans are equipped with a light, but many outdoor models do not. You may need to look elsewhere for outdoor lighting.

Ceiling Fan Installation

Each Australian state has its own requirements surrounding home renovations, but all electrical work must be completed by a licensed electrician under Australian law. Beyond changing light globes and replacing fuses, there are very few electrical jobs that everyday Australians can perform themselves.

If you’re upgrading to a newer fan and relying on an existing powerpoint then ceiling fan installation can be completed DIY—assuming you have the tools and know-how to make it happen. Otherwise, you will need to contact an electrician.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors has electricians on call 24 hours a day for emergency repairs and new installations. Contact our team to add climate control and that desirable wind chill to your outdoor area today!


Published: 21 Oct, 2021

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