Ceiling-mounted fans have been popular since the mid-1800s. People use ceiling fans to circulate the air, pushing cold air up during the warm months and warm air down during the colder months. Although most ceiling fan fixtures are very basic, some manufacturers offer designs and innovations that go beyond the ordinary. In modern times, ceiling fan fixtures range from antique pieces and reproduction models to contemporary designs. Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of blades, lights kits, and other accessories.
The Diehl electric fan, which Philip Diehl invented in 1882, became very popular when he added a light fixture to his basic fan. During this time, most fans were water and belt powered, but with the addition of the electric motor, fan usage became more prevalent. Most of the fans of this era were made of cast iron. Today, antique enthusiasts still use these old fans or buy reproduction pieces.
Ceiling fan fixtures tend to be more popular during times of energy shortages. When used properly, the fans may reduce air conditioning and heating bills. Sometimes an accessory, such as a downrod kit or a low ceiling adaptor, adds to a ceiling fan's efficiency. Other accessories like replacement blades, light kits, or room sensor controls may also enhance a fan's performance. Buyers can contact the fan's manufacturer about accessories that are available.
Some manufacturers have released innovations that meld new technology with traditional ceiling fan fixtures. For an ultra modern look, a homeowner can select fans made of glass or sporting feather blades. Some fans have a double set of blades, and when the upper blades are powered, the downward draft spins the lower set. One manufacturer offers a ceiling fan and sound system combination. The fan showers the music down onto the room's occupants.
Traditionally, the fan blades are made of thin wood, metal, and other common materials. Manufacturers normally mount the blades under the motor, but some designers place them on top of the motor. Another design that was popular in the early 1900s features two fans mounted in tandem. Some manufacturers still sell the design that is often referred to as a gyro ceiling fan. The modern version incorporates not only two fans that face in opposite directions, but the whole assembly rotates.
Most ceiling fan fixtures feature fans that rotate. The punkah-style fan design swings back and forth, providing a gentle breeze. It is based on the action of a hand fan. Generally, an architect will use this type of fan in a large area with high ceilings.
Builders install ceiling fan fixtures in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Each application has different requirements, and a person should research which style of fan best suits the situation. Generally, commercial and industrial applications need fans that are more durable. In dusty locations, such as industrial buildings, it is often advisable to use a fan with a sealed motor housing. A sealed motor housing is also advisable for fans used outdoors on covered patios or gazebos.