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Outdoor ceiling fans are a great way to improve the look, lighting levels and overall comfort of any outdoor space. Just as with a standard indoor ceiling fan, outdoor fans are available in a range of sizes, mounting options, styles, controls and lighting options.The first step is determining what type of ceiling fan you need for your outdoor application. Outdoor fans are categorized by the type of water or moisture exposure they are likely to encounter.

DAMP RATED FANS:Damp rated fans are designed to withstand damp locations such as under a covered patio, porch or over an indoor swimming pool. Any location where humidity might be elevated, even just temporarily, requires a damp-rated fixture. Damp-rated fans cannot be used where they will be exposed directly to the elements, especially rain.

WET RATED FANS:Wet rated fans are designed to be exposed directly to the elements, such as uncovered patios, gazebos, overhangs or other locations where the fan is exposed to direct rain.

CHOOSING YOUR FAN:Once you’ve determined the type of fan you need, its time to take some measurements. There are 2 primary measurements that must be taken into consideration before going shopping: Headroom and Width.

Headroom: Keeping in mind that most rooms have a ceiling 8 ft high, measure the distance from the floor to where you intend to mount the ceiling fan.

+If you have 8 ft a standard installation will suffice.

+ If you have more than 8 ft you might consider installing a downrod to bring the fan closer to the floor, and, if the ceiling is angled, an angle mounting system.

+ If there is less than 8 ft clearance you will definitely need to limit your choices to flush-mounted, low-profile fans.

Width: Measure the distance from the mounting location on the ceiling and the closest wall surface. This is the maximum diameter fan that can be installed in that location. Be sure to subtract at least 2″ from your measurement to make sure you have enough room. Also check the manufacturer’s recommendations as some brands may require additional clearance.

Controls:Damp and wet-rated ceiling fans are available with the full range of control options found on indoor-rated fans. Wired remotes and wireless remotes that control the fan, lights or both are available for outdoor-rated fixtures. Make sure that any remote control accessories you select are compatible with your fan and are designed for the installation location.

Power:Before shopping for your fan be sure you understand the power requirement where you plan on installing the fan.

+ If electrical wiring needs to be installed its a good idea to add enough wires to allow for direct control over the fan and lighting. Wireless remotes can add $100 or more to the installation costs, they require batteries which wear out and the fixtures aren’t quite as attractive as those for wired controls.

+ If there is an existing light you can instal the fan using the existing wiring to turn the fan ON/OFF and control fan speed. If you plan on adding a lighting kit you’ll need to purchase a remote unit that also controls lighting wirelessly.+ If wiring access is easy your electrician may suggest adding separate control wiring for the lighting. This is a great choice if access is unobstructed and the contractor won’t charge to much to add the extra wires.