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Feb 12, 2018

Lighting Tips Outdoor

Ceiling Fan Ratings: Indoor Fan Vs. Outdoor Fan

Well-chosen outdoor fans make summer entertaining more inviting.

Ceiling fans class up your outdoor living space while providing comfort. It is important to select a ceiling fan that is suited, both mechanically and functionally, for your intended setting. At, we have a vast array of fans, ranging from tropical Monte Carlo fans to minimalist styles from Minka Aire and others, so you can find the profile you’re looking for as well as a fixture tough enough to field Mother Nature’s curve balls.

Minka Aire F753L Java 54 Inch 3 Blade Ceiling Fan

Minka Aire Java 3 Blade Ceiling Fan

The Right Rating for Outdoor Fans

Most indoor fans are rated exclusively for dry locations by Underwriters Laboratories. You can place UL damp-rated fixtures outdoors as long as they are not directly exposed to water. UL wet-rated fixtures are designed to deflect dousings with rain and snow. Casablanca fans, Quorum International and Savoy House offer a nice selection of waterproof outdoor fixtures. You can certainly place damp and wet-rated fans in dry indoor settings, but you should never expose a UL dry-rated fixture to the weather.

Quorum International 143525 Estate Patio 52 Inch 5 Blade Ceiling Fan

Quorum International Estate Patio 5 Blade Ceiling Fan

The Right Size to Suit the Space

Determine the the square footage of the space you want your fan to cool. A fan that is too small for the square footage will have to work too hard. Measure from the outer end of one blade to the outer end of the opposing blade. This is the fan’s diameter. The American Lighting Association recommends sizing your fixture according to these rules of thumb:

  • If the area is less than 75 square feet, the fan should be less than 36 inches in diameter.
  • Spaces larger the 75 square feet but less than 144 should have 36-inch to 42-inch diameter fans.
  • Areas ranging from 144 to 225 square feet should have 50-inch to 54-inch fans.

Placement of Your Fixture

For safety’s sake, be sure you place your fan a minimum of seven to eight feet above the patio or deck floor. If you are squeezed for head space, you should choose from our selection of flush mount fans, just to be safe. If your roof is higher than average, you may need to add a down rod extension to achieve the optimal fixture height of around nine feet.

1800Lighting Can Help

Our lighting experts are available to help you select a ceiling fan with the right rating, diameter and installation to operate at its maximum efficiency. Shop our amazing selection today, and plan a party on the patio this weekend.

Pro Tip: Experts recommend having 12 inches of clearance between your fan blades and the surrounding walls, so if you are cooling long, narrow space such as a porch, consider using two smaller fans along the length to get the optimal amount of circulation.