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How Many Ceiling Fans Does Your Space Need?

If you are planning to install ceiling fans in your home, there are a multitude of things to consider. One of these will ultimately be how many do you need in your space, particularly, for the larger spaces in your home. Do you install more than one fan, or do you opt for one larger fan to successfully do the job of cooling and circulating the air?

It isn’t necessarily, a one size fits all solution, and sometimes, simply comes down to personal preference, however, here, we provide you a guide on fan installation based on things like room size, the size of your fan and it’s airflow capacity, as well as what makes sense aesthetically.

It’s also important to note that it isn’t always a case of more is better. When you consider one of the biggest advantages to installing fans in your home is the energy savings, it doesn’t always make sense to be having more fans do the work that could easily be done effectively by one.

How do ceiling fans work?

To understand how many fans might be required in a space, we first need to have a basic understanding of how ceiling fans actually work.

Unlike other forms of cooling or heating you may have in your home, ceiling fans are not designed to lower or raise the temperature of a room. Instead, they circulate the air within a room, in such a way designed to make you feel cooler in summer, and warmer in winter.

During the warmer months of the year, your ceiling fan blades work to generate a breeze, which is pushed down toward you, creating a “wind chill” effect on the skin causing you to feel cooler. During the winter months, most ceiling fans are designed so that the direction of blade spin can be reversed. Instead of pushing air directly down toward you, the blades will pull warm air down from the ceiling, and push it down the walls of your room providing an overall feeling of warmth in the room.

Ceiling fans create a breeze in summer

What is airflow?

Airflow is a good place to start as a measure of your fan’s performance. It would be easy to look at the breeze created by a ceiling fan, and the speed at which this breeze is produced, as a measure of a fan’s performance. This, however, is not the full measure of how well your fan performs. Airflow refers to the volume of air a fan is able to move around a room, and is measured in cubic metres per hour, or CM/h, and is a much more reliable indicator of a fan’s performance.

To put this in perspective, a ceiling fan with a high speed setting, but a low airflow measure,
would produce a stronger breeze directly under the fan, but would not have the capacity to disperse that breeze over a large area. Conversely, a fan with a low speed setting, but high airflow measure, would produce a gentle breeze directly under the fan, but disperse this breeze over a larger area.

Why is this important? The measure of airflow is directly related to the size of your fan. In general terms, the larger the fan, the more air it will be capable of moving.

Airflow is best measure of ceiling fans performance

What ceiling fan size do you need for your space?

How do you measure a ceiling fan? A ceiling fan’s size is given as the measure of distance from the tip of one fan blade to the tip of the opposite blade. This is referred to as the fan’s blade span. Generally, we refer to blade span in inches, like 52″ or 60″. So, weighing up size against a fan’s performance means that the greater a fan’s blade span, generally, the greater volume of air it will be capable of moving, and the larger the area it will cover.

When it comes to ceiling fans, size is actually everything, and, while there’s no exact science to selecting the right size ceiling fan for a space, there are some general rules you can follow.

Below is a short guide to average room sizes in Australia, and what size fan is suited to these spaces.

Small Room of 2.8m x 2.5m might include a small bedroom or study, where a 44″ to 48″ ceiling fan would be recommended.

Medium Room of between 3m x 3m and 4m x4m might include a standard bedroom, living area, or dining space, would be more suited to an average size fan of 52″. A larger bedroom may be an exception to this. The average master bedroom in Australia, for instance, is 4.2m x 3.9m, where you could afford to go a little larger to a 56″ ceiling fan.

Large Room of over 4m x 4m, consider installing a 56″ or even 60″ ceiling fan to ensure good airflow. It is in these larger spaces that you might consider installing more than one ceiling fan.

How Many Ceiling Fans Do I Need?

If we are talking about single rooms in your home that are of small or medium size, then one ceiling fan will provide sufficient airflow. It is when you move into the larger spaces of your home, that you can start to consider installation of multiple fans, and there are a number of factors that will help determine this.

  1. What is the function of the space? For instance, if it is a space that you generally use for relaxing, ask yourself whether excessive airflow will aid or hinder your relaxation within the space. If it is a space where you are generally completing tasks, greater airflow might be appreciated.
  2. Where is the space located within your home? Do you get any natural airflow into the space? Are your heating/cooling appliances effectively doing their job, or could they use more assistance in circulating warm and/or cool air throughout the space?
  3. What is the configuration of your space? For instance, if you have one big open space, then one large central ceiling fan might do the job? However, if your space is configured a little differently, maybe with unusual corners, or lowered arches that create separation, or even the configuration of furniture that creates zones, then multiple ceiling fans may do the job more effectively. This is particularly the case during the warmer months of the year when ceiling fans are generating a breeze designed to create a “wind chill” effect on the skin.
  4. Where, and what, are your current light fixtures? Depending on the configuration of your other light sources, it could be better, or worse, installing multiple ceiling fans to work in with your existing lighting plan. Where you have two existing light fittings for example, do you replace one with a fan/light and leave the other, or is it more aesthetically pleasing to replace both with fan/lights? Or, maybe you have downlights installed and need to ensure installation of your ceiling fan is not going to sweep across those existing lights and create an unwanted strobe effect.
  5. What looks more aesthetically pleasing? How many ceiling fans you install in larger spaces quite often comes down to personal preference. A good example of when it might look better to install more than one fan is in an elongated space, where one single installation might look out of place.
Consider function and location of your space when deciding on multiple ceiling fans

Is there a right way to install multiple ceiling fans?

The short answer is, yes there is. When you are installing a single fan in a room, it is most often placed in the centre of the ceiling. This is for two main reasons. One, it is aesthetically pleasing, and two, it will be more effective in pushing air to every corner within the room.

The same things apply when installing multiple ceiling fans in one space, with a few additions.

  • Make sure placement of your fans is evenly spaced. This ensures adequate coverage and airflow across the entire space, and is also much more pleasing to the eye.
  • Remember, that during the summer months, ceiling fans provide a breeze that creates a chilling effect on your skin. Where possible, try and centre your ceiling fans over places you will be sitting in to take advantage of this breeze.
  • Where you can, use your ceiling fans the same way you would light fixtures, as delineating zones within your space.

For a more in-depth look at ceiling fans, download our free eGuide below, it’s everything you need to know about ceiling fans in one place!

Download our Ceiling Fan Guide

Or, speak to one of the ceiling fan experts at Rovert Lighting & Electrical. They can guide you through the right ceiling fan options for all your spaces.

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