What a Comfort

Madison Lighting ceiling fan
Photograph provided by Madison Lighting, taken by Shanna Wolf

Enthusiasts of ceiling fans say that in a climate like Wisconsin’s, a ceiling fan makes a huge difference in comfort. In summer, a quality ceiling fan quietly moves heavy, humid air when you want to open your windows. Air stirred by a ceiling fan feels cool to your skin because the fan actually makes a light windchill effect. This gentle movement of air makes a room feel fresher without the chilled, shut-in-with-the-air-conditioning-on feeling. Come fall, simply flip the switch so the blades turn in the opposite direction and the fan pulls cold air up from the floor to mix with the heated air near the ceiling, recirculating it, making the room feel warmer as it evens out the temperature. A ceiling fan that’s correctly sized for a room is often run throughout the year for comfort.

Expensive to run?
Not at all—a ceiling fan costs pennies to run. Compare that to the average air-conditioning unit that costs an estimated $120 per month when running six hours each day. Ceiling fans only need to run when you’re in the room because their cooling effect is instant. Enter a room and flip it on like you would a light. Most people find they can push their thermostat up six or seven degrees in the summer and run the air-conditioning far less because their fan is such a workhorse. And while a ceiling fan is saving you money on your energy bill, it’s also saving energy, which is a mighty green thing to do.

What about style?
A quality ceiling fan can be a stunning visual element in a room. At the 2018 Parade of Homes, we saw the simplicity of a new brass fan in a home built by NorthPointe Construction that gave counterpoint to stunning brass hardware. A farmhouse built by Duren Custom Homes embellished the family room with an old windmill-style fan. A second-floor laundry room in a home by Classic Custom Homes of Waunakee featured a minifan in the same sharp white as the other appliances, a crisp contrast to the cloud-grey cupboards.

Fans are available in many finishes, from stained or painted wood to polished chrome, oiled bronze, and aged brass. Sleek and streamlined, propeller-style, rustic-luxe, loft-living, minimalist, and decked-out looks, ceiling fans come in so many varieties that it’s interesting to see how they can add style to a room.

There’s a huge quality range in the manufacturing of ceiling fans. If you plan to invest in one, remember it’s an appliance. Hardiness matters when it comes to the fan’s length of service. A quality ceiling fan can actually be fairly inexpensive, as low as a couple hundred dollars. The key is what’s inside: long-wearing, quality parts that can be repaired or replaced over the years or a fan made of plastic parts with a sealed housing that cannot be repaired.

Like a refrigerator, a ceiling fan is also built to run. But unlike a refrigerator, the working conditions for a fan change. Humidity; heat; and, for a fan that’s wet or damp rated for use on a porch or pergola, huge temperature swings will test a ceiling fan. A quality fan shoulders those challenges and keeps on running.

If setting your thermostat up in summer and spending less on air-conditioning is your goal, you’ll need to do a bit of homework before you shop. Measure the room where your new fan will be located, including the ceiling height. Are the ceilings vaulted? Take note and then visit madisonlighting.com/get-most-out-ceiling-fan to better understand what you need in your new fan.

There are three key elements when selecting a fan: the size of the fan, where to place it in the room, and what size motor you’ll need to move the volume of air in there. It sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, but it’s surprisingly simple. A fan that’s too small doesn’t make the whole room more comfortable, a fan that’s closer to the floor than seven feet moves the air inadequately, and a fan with an undersized motor can’t move the air efficiently. All these things mean you won’t be able to adjust your thermostat and save energy.

The experts at Madison Lighting can help you check all the boxes and find the right fan for your room. From bedrooms to pantries, screen porches, and outdoor dining spaces and the family room to your walk-in closet, there’s a fan that will make it feel better to use the space and while making it look beautiful too.

Tom Woodward is the owner of Madison Lighting, a brick-and-mortar showroom in Madison, and the nationally known online shopping experience at madisonlighting.com .

Photographs provided by Madison Lighting, taken by Shanna Wolf.

Madison Lighting
6701 Watts Road
Madison, WI 53719