Guide to buying a conservatory ceiling fan — Part 1

Guide to buying a conservatory ceiling fan - Part 1

Factors to consider

When buying a conservatory ceiling fan you need to consider a number of important things.  In this part we consider the three overall basics in making a choice. function, form and price.  In Part 2 we will consider the specific features and in part 3 the technical aspects that will help you make the perfect choice of a conservatory ceiling fan and ceiling fan accessories that ensure you dont waste your money.

Traditional Conservatory Ceiling Fan

Function

Function covers the technical specifications, performance, features, build quality and reliability of the ceiling fan.  Hear are the salient points to consider:

  1. Reliability and Warranty A conservatory ceiling fan is something you want to last for many years so look for a reputable reliable manufacturer who gives a minimum of 10 years guarantee.  Fantasia offer a 5-10 year guarantee on most of their fans.  However a lifetime warranty is obviously much better and worth paying a bit more for.  These are only offered by Hunter Fan who have been around 125 years and so likely to be around to honour the guarantee.  Make sure that any company offering any guarantees will be around in the 5, 10 or 20 years time to honour them when you need them to.
  2. Guide to buying a conservatory ceiling fan - Part 1
  3. Specifications - How many fans do I need to cover my room?  This depends on the size and how good the performance is.  How high are my ceilings as a fan that is more than 0.5m above head height is not going to be very effective so you will need a drop rod to bring it down to the correct height.  If your ceiling is low then you will need a flush mounted or low profile ceiling fan. Do I want to use a pull chain or have a hand or wall remote control?  How many speeds do I need?  Do I want to have a fan that reverses so that in the winter I can bring trapped heat down to floor level saving me money on heating bills? Do I want to have a light with my fan, and if so one that can be switched at the wall? meaning you will require a 4-core wire to be run from the fan to the wall control.
  4. Performance How many blades should I have?  There is a lot of misunderstanding on this point.  Less blades actually more move air per watt of power since there is less overall drag and so are more efficient but for a given speed more blades will move more air which means less noise.  In reality there is not much difference between 3, 4 or 5 blades so the choice should come down to appearance and style.
  5. Blade Size The bigger the blade size the more air is moved and the more energy is consumed.  However a larger blade running at a lower speed is much quieter than a smaller blade running at a high speed.  Typical sizes are 42 (107cm) and 52 (132 cm) but for very small rooms you can get a 36(92 cm) size.  Look at each manufacturer for the span of action of a fan so you can size up how many you need to cover a large rooms.  In small to medium sized rooms 1 properly sized fan should be sufficient.
  6. Speed Most fans operate at 3 different speeds.  Speed interacts with size and power (see previous point).  Speed is controlled by either a gearbox (in rare situations) or more usually by a tyristor/capacitor and microchip controller.  Here the use of cheap components can lead to annoying buzzes and premature failure of the fan motor.
  7. Features Better manufacturers such as Hunter have many patented and useful features such as wooble free canopy mounting systems, low energy motors, easy installation systems etc.  Preventing wooble is essential to reduce noise to a minimum which can be very annoying especially if the fan is going in a quiet room such as a bedroom.
  8. Build quality Cheap manufacturers will use cheaper components that will fail much quicker often just outside the 1-year warranty period.  At the core of a ceiling fan is the motor one moving part so not much to go wrong?  Wrong!  A cheap speed control capacitor can easily fail after 18 months or sooner and can start buzzing long before it gives up.  Cheap motor laminates can buzz and fail and unless the copper windings are encased properly in resin can corrode and short leading to motor failure.  This is especially important in conservatories where the ambient temperature at night can fall below the dew point causing moisture to condense onto the motor which in turn will lead to corrosion and failure.  Blades need to be made not from cheap card or hardboard but proper plywood to avoid twisting.

Form

Today there are so many styles and finishes to choose from there is something for everybodys taste and to cater for every sort of room.  From traditional to contemporary, art nouveau to swish and stylish designs the ceiling fan can become a centre of focus for the room as well as providing the essential function of cooling.  Hunter provide an amazing range with 40 different models in 8 different finishes!

Price

We all love a bargain but dont waste your money on a ceiling fan that isnt going to last a minimum of 10 years.  It is a false economy to go cheap since you will spend time and a lot more money getting an electrician to fix it when it goes wrong and having to replace it.  A £25 ceiling fan from B&Q really is a waste of money and is like buying cheap wine.  Since the part of what you pay that actually went to manufacturing the product itself will be less than £5 you will not get a lot of ceiling fan and certainly quality will be so low as to be meaningless.  It may last a year if you are lucky but will almost certainly start humming long before that due to the cheap components used (cheap capacitors, windings, laminates etc).   Fit and forget is the best policy so go for one of the reputable branded names such as Hunter. Minka Aire, Vega or Cassablanca.  They will also have all the essential accessories such as light kits, remote controls, drop rods and provide you will full backup should anything go wrong.  To find out more go here.  Try and find a company that provides you with full technical information and details of features such as that shown below.


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