Ceiling fans can be a great addition to your conservatory, and a good way to provide a cooling boost on days when simply opening the windows and doors is just not enough. Making an investment in a ceiling fan needs to be well thought out, as a poor quality fan will fast become a nuisance if it is ineffective or too noisy to use. Here’s what you need to know about ceiling fans for your conservatory.
How ceiling fans work
There are three main ways in which a ceiling fan can help make your conservatory feel more comfortable:
The wind chill effect
Feeling a movement of air across the surface of your skin will instantly make you feel cooler and more comfortable. It is estimated that this direct skin cooling alone can make the room feel 3 – 4 degrees cooler.
Hot air in a conservatory rises to the highest point, and a ceiling fan can help to move this trapped hot air away. As long as you have a window open, the fan will be drawing cooler air into the conservatory, forcing the heated air out and helping to cool the room.
A little known trick of fan owners, this is one worth remembering if you plan to use a ceiling fan. Because temperatures drop significantly overnight, you can leave windows open and run your fan in reverse to draw cool air into the room all through the night. Objects in the room such as the brick walls, tiles on the floor and even furniture can retain much of the day’s heat, and if you don’t cool it down overnight, the room will heat up even quicker the next day. By drawing cold air over these warm objects, you’re giving your conservatory a cool start the next morning, and a chance to stay cooler for longer.
Ceiling fans are a great place to start when you’re looking for a way to cool your conservatory, as they are relatively inexpensive to buy, run and maintain. A good quality ceiling fan can last for many years, and will give you many more usable hours in your conservatory all through the summer months.
How to choose a great ceiling fan
There are some factors to watch out for when choosing a ceiling fan that will work well now and last for a long time. Think about:
Look for a recognised brand that offers a generous warranty. Five brands currently offer a lifetime warranty: Hunter, Minka Aire, Matthews, Henley and Star. The warranty usually only applies to the motor, not to the blades, light kit or remote.
Conservatories can get surprisingly damp in the winter, which can cause poor quality materials to break down. MDF blades can warp or crack, and cheap metallic finishes can crack or flake off. Look for high quality finishes and materials for a fan that will last.
Think about how you want to operate your fan, and avoid being draw in to unnecessary or gimmicky features that you don’t really need. Will you use a pull cord or remote control? Do you need a light? Do you want a fan that runs in reverse to recover heat in the winter time?
The more blades you have, the less efficient your fan will be in terms of air moved per watt of power. However, more blades mean more air moved at a lower speed, so multi bladed fans tend to be less noisy. If you’re looking for a super energy efficient solution, a three blade fan at low speed uses less energy, but if you want a significant blast of air and are not so concerned with energy consumption, consider four or five blade alternatives.
A ceiling fan will work best when installed at around 0.5m about head height. Any higher than this and the benefit will not be felt. This means you may need to add in a drop rod to bring the fan down to a reasonable height, which will need to be worked into the overall cost.
Overall, there are such a huge range of ceiling fans out there, much of your decision is going to be based on personal preference. As long as the fan is suitable for your conservatory and fitted at the right height, it should perform the job pretty well. However, buying a cheap fan is a false economy, so if you insist on purchasing a £25 model from B&Q, expect it to be noisy or go faulty within a couple of years.
If you want to make an investment in a fan that will stand the test of time, stick to the big brands despite their big price tags. Expect to pay from £200 upwards for a decent ceiling fan, more if you want lights and other additional extras. Look for Hunter, Minka Aire, Matthews, MrKen, Cassablanca and other reputable manufacturers to ensure a high quality product that is designed to last a lifetime.