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Tips for Buying and Installing Outdoor Paddle Ceiling Fans

By: Danny Lipford

Paddle ceiling fan mounted on porch.

Installing a paddle fan outside on a porch or other covered area is a great way to stay cool and keep insects away during the hot, summer months. But to get the most out of your ceiling fan, it’s important to make sure to choose the right fan and install and use it properly.

When choosing a paddle ceiling for outdoor use:

  • Choose a fan that’s designed for outdoor use.
  • Common fan sizes are 36, 42, and 52 inches wide.
  • Fans with longer blades move more air.
  • Fans with wide blades or more than 5 blades move less air.

When installing a paddle ceiling fan for outdoor use:

  • Make sure the area is covered and offers protection from rain.
  • Use a down rod on high ceilings to lower the fan to increase efficiency.
  • Make sure the fan turns counterclockwise so the blades push the air down, rather than drawing it up, to increase cooling.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: You know, we wait all winter for warm weather so we can spend more time outside, and then before you know it we’re complaining about the heat. Well, if you want to make your outdoor spaces more comfortable, maybe you should think about adding a ceiling fan. If you do, there a few things to keep in mind.

First, it has to be under cover. That one’s pretty obvious, but even under cover you want a ceiling fan that’s designed for outdoor use. That means the metal parts with be coated to discourage rust or corrosion and the fan blades will be made from a material that won’t warp or sag with temperature and humidity changes.

If the fan has the option, and you have the space, use a down rod to lower it a little bit from the ceiling. The closer it is to the ceiling, the more the air flow will be restricted.

The most common sizes for fans are 36, 42, and 52 inches. The longer blades tend to move a lot more air. But that “more is better” philosophy doesn’t hold up when it comes to the number of blades or the blade width. Six blade fans, or those with large decorative blades, actually move less air because there’s less space between the blades to draw air through.

Finally, be sure the fan is running in the right direction. Most have reversible motors now, and for cooling purposes you want the blades to be moving counter clockwise when you look up at the fan from the floor.


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  • Debbie Says:
    November 15th, 2017 at 9:28 am

    hi I have an outdoor fan weatherman brand earlier this year we had strong winds and the fan was hitting the porch ceiling so hard it broke the light cover and fan blades the down rod was letting the fan bend clear to the ceiling (which is not very long) should this have happened ? I didn’t think they would bend that far up to break, Thanks for any suggestions Debbie Westervelt


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Tips for Buying and Installing Outdoor Paddle Ceiling Fans