How a Ceiling Fan Works

Because of the slight breeze it creates, a fan makes a room more comfortable at higher temperatures during the summer so a room’s thermostat can be set 5 to 7 degrees higher. And in the winter, a fan recirculates rising warm air that would otherwise collect and give off its heat at the ceiling.

©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Ceiling Fan Parts Diagram ©HomeTips

A ceiling fan consists of a few basic parts, namely an electric motor with a housing, blades and the “irons” that hold most types in place, and a downrod or other mounting device. In addition, many fans are designed to receive decorative “fitters” beneath the blades that hold lamps and glass or crystal shades. Some have a control that is wall-mounted or a hand-held remote.

The lion’s share of fans are sold by a few companies, including Hunter, Casablanca, Emerson, and Fasco. Many others import or distribute fans under a variety of labels.

Most large manufacturers make housings, blades, fitters, and shades in a wide variety of styles so you can mix and match the different parts to create the fan of your dreams. Many of these same fan makers also produce models that are sold complete through mass merchandisers.

Surprisingly, most fan parts and pieces come from only three sources in Taiwan. This is why fans offered by competing companies often look similar. Many American companies import, repackage, and distribute these components.

Some companies stand out from the pack by being more innovative in design or by utilizing better materials, finishes, or proprietary manufacturing processes. Casablanca boasts parts made of die-cast zinc, hand-lacquered blades of hardwood veneer, and the most sophisticated controls in the industry. The Hunter Original—the fan with 100 years of experience—is made in America and features a limited lifetime warranty (as do several other companies’ fans). Emerson makes its own motors domestically.

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