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Ceiling Fans in Outdoor Spaces - Any Safety Issues?

bigstock--220069387Outdoor living spaces are more important than ever in our lives today, don’t you agree? We’ve all spent plenty of time isolated and indoors, and the time to bust out and enjoy outdoor living is here*. Whether you’re on the deck, the patio, or the porch, two priorities matter – safety and comfort.

*NOTE: Eager as we all are to resume socializing with no restrictions, Wilcox Electric wants you to know that we are still following safety precautions as set forth by the CDC and state and local governments in the DMV, and hope that all of our customers and neighbors are doing the same. As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the time comes closer for the kinds of socializing and celebrating that we describe below. Until then, hang in there. Continue to take precautions. Be safe.

Ceiling Fans Complete Your Outdoor Spaces 

After more than a year of restrictions and anxiety, prepping your outdoor picnic and party area feels twice as important as it ever has before. We’re all ready to enjoy ourselves, our friends, and our family a whole lot more this season. Creating an outdoor living area or upgrading the one you have can be fun and exciting.

Styles and trends in outdoor living areas are continuously improving, upgrading, and changing. As you look forward to a much-anticipated social summer, make sure you’ve made your outside spaces as comfy as you can. 

Outdoor ceiling fans come in every style your tastes prefer. Whether you are going for a beachy feel, a rustic look, or even a chic, modern look, you’ll find an outdoor fan to complement your décor. Letting yourself go and get creative with your outside space is fun. And there’s just something whimsical about having a breeze at the touch of a button. 

 Adding a ceiling fan provides a much-needed breeze on a hot summer’s day, but only if safety is the name of the game. So, what are the safety issues to be aware of before you install that fan? 

What You Need to Know for an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

The first thing you need to know is that you cannot take an indoor ceiling fan and add it to your outdoor space. Outdoor ceiling fans are built differently to handle the elements, and it’s important to know what to look for when choosing the proper one.

You want outdoor fan blades that are rated for a “damp” or “wet” area and made with special plastic, called ABS, that resists corrosion. Galvanized steel, or tubular metal covered with a corrosion-resistant powder, gives strength to the fan blades and helps resist corrosion and rust. The fan’s motor needs to be covered with a waterproof seal to keep it from electrical malfunction due to rain. 

Another factor to consider is the length of the fan blades. The general rule is that larger spaces require longer fan blades for maximum efficiency and comfort. Be sure to measure the square footage of your outdoor space. The standard rule of thumb is: 

  • For spaces up to 75 square feet = 29-36 inch
  • For spaces up to 76-144 square feet = 36-42 inch
  • For spaces up to 144-225 square feet = 44 inch
  • For spaces up to 225-400 square feet = 50-54 inch

Make sure you have at least 12” of headroom below the fan, 24" of clearance from the walls, and 84” of clearance from the floor.

Although you may be an experienced DIYer, it’s best to have an outdoor ceiling fan installed by an electrician. Because you are combining electricity and weather, safety is worth the additional cost. Professional installation meets all outdoor safety ratings, ensures all your connections are sound, and nothing is left to chance. 

Enjoy your summer of socializing in your beautiful outdoor living space! Contact Wilcox Electric today about ceiling fan installation and other home electrical projects.