Ceiling fans are such seemingly simple appliances that they are rarely given much thought. They do their job without spectacle, providing a cooling breeze in the warm months and circulating warm air during the cold season, increasing comfort and minimizing heating and cooling bills. For many people, what model of ceiling fan to purchase is only a stylistic choice. If you want to reap the full benefit of your ceiling fans, however, be sure to consider these points before purchasing and installing.

Fan size and blade count

As you might expect, the larger the size and number of blades on a fan, the more air it moves. An average-sized 12’ x 12’ bedroom is well-served by a standard 4-blade fan with a 42-inch blade span. Larger rooms will benefit from blades that are longer (such as a 52-inch span), wider or more numerous.

Distance from ceiling

As a rule of thumb, ceiling fans should have at least 7 feet of clearance from the floor. Fans are typically offered in standard and ceiling-hugger or flush-mount models that provide varying install distances from the ceiling. Look for the “installed distance” on the packaging for the amount of space between the ceiling and the blades.

Energy-efficient functionality

Different fan models can have differing impacts on your utility bills. Fans that bear the Energy Star label operate more efficiently than other units, saving on electricity. Fans that can reverse direction provide seasonal energy savings with a cooling downward breeze when it’s hot and an upward draft to keep warm air circulating when it’s cold.

Lighting options

Don’t assume the picture on your ceiling fan’s box is exactly what you’ll find in side. Whether or not a fan includes or is compatible with lighting should be listed among the product details. Check to ensure you’re getting the lighting option you expect before you buy.

Installation requirements

Installing a new ceiling fan can be a do-it-yourself task or a job best left to a professional. Most communities permit you to do the work yourself, but some cities are an exception. Check with your local building authority first if you wish to do the job on your own. Installing where there isn’t currently a fixture or adding a large fan that the ceiling can’t support without additional measures are trickier jobs that might warrant hiring a professional installer.

Follow these considerations, and your fan installation should be a breeze!