A simple ceiling fan can make all the difference in the amount of time spent on your porch. In the summer time, the gentle breeze created by a ceiling fan allows us to sit outside when, by everyone’s admission, it is too hot to be outside. Just having that little bit of cool air blowing makes it enjoyable. When a natural breeze isn’t present, the man-made kind, powered by the electric company, is hardly considered second best. Besides, there’s something old-fashioned and, in the South at least, nostalgic, about the blades of a ceiling fan rotating around and around. A porch seems incomplete without one.
In the spring and fall months when the air outside is so pleasant that we just can’t get enough of it, using the ceiling fans inside as well as on the porch can help circulate fresh air into the house. I love days when I can open the windows and door to the porch, hear the birds and kids playing outside, and breathe in fresh air—not to mention that having neither the heat nor air conditioning running makes me a very happy person. Unfortunately, where I live in the South, these days are few so it is important to take advantage of each and every one of them.
When selecting a fan for an outdoor area, there are two types to consider: damp-rated and wet-rated. Fans that are damp-rated can go in a protected outdoor area which has a solid roof overhead.
One that is wet-rated can be used in any outdoor area. Although you will need a structure overhead on to which to attach the fan, it could be an open pergola or a beamed structure which does not keep all of the moisture off the fan. In salt-water areas, it is recommended that the wet-area fan be used in any outdoor installation.
In general, a ceiling fan to be used outside should be made of a weather-resistant material such as ABS plastic (resistant to temperature and atmospheric humidity), stainless steel, or resin. Hardware and metal (except for stainless steel) should be powder coated, and the motor casing must be water tight and sealed.
If you are choosing a white ceiling fan, choose one which has UV protection. This will help maintain the white color and protect the finish from yellowing with exposure to the sun.
In high wind areas, choose a uni-body style fan. In this style, the blades connect with the fan body as a unit, rather than as separate arms.
For maximum air circulation, the American Lighting Association recommends a blade pitch of 14 degrees and mounting the fan at least 7’ above the floor.
Beyond that, choosing the design that is right for your outdoor space is a matter of personal taste, room style, and budget.
Better Homes and Gardens
“Windpointe” from Fanimation
“Palmetto” from Fanimation
“Loft” from Emerson
“Shangri-La” from Minka Aire
“Monaco” from Quorum
“Tortos” from Light Innovations
Dan’s Fan City