There are two main types of ceiling fans made for the outdoors with UL approval that is rated for outside: Damp Locations and Wet Locations depending on installation. Check your local building safety codes for correct type required.
- Wet UL rated outdoor ceiling fans are for outdoor locations that is directly exposed to rain or water. This includes uncovered areas, partially covered areas or covered areas where rain (or water from sprinklers) can blow onto the fan.
- Damp UL rated outdoor ceiling fans are for all other areas that is covered or not directly exposed to rain.
A wet rated fan can be installed in a damp location, but a damp rated fan cannot be used in a wet location. Both damp and wet rated ceiling fans can be installed indoors, but indoor ceiling fans cannot be installed outdoors because they are not properly sealed for the weather and can short out creating a potential fire hazard. Additional reading can be found here about the differences of outdoor and indoor fans.
Best outdoor ceiling fans are not only rated for the weather, but are well constructed for durability and requires less maintenance. Choose a wet rated ceiling fan because they can be used indoors and outdoors and are designed to handle excess moisture and harsh elements such as UV radiation and fluctuations in temperature.
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Installation areas for a Wet Rated Fan
- A patio, porch or other outdoor living area with a lattice or screened covering…or no covering at all.
- A pergola or partially covered Gazebo.
- A narrow porch or lanai where the fan is close enough to the edge for rain to blow on it.
- Any indoor or outdoor location close to the ocean.
Installation spots for a Damp Rated Fan
- A covered patio or wide porch where rain cannot reach the fan.
- Screened in porch or sunroom.
- A Gazebo that is completely covered and rain cannot reach the fan.
- Any covered area over a pool (indoor or outdoor).
- Bathrooms that have a tub or shower.
- Small enclosed laundry rooms.
Tip: you can “hose off” a WET rated outdoor ceiling fan to clean it. Even the best outdoor fans can get dirty rather quickly, so being able to hose it off can be a true blessing. Keep this in mind when deciding which type to buy.
- Choose wet rated ceiling fans for both indoor and outdoor areas that are exposed to salt air.
- Fans that have powder coated finishes will hold up the best to salt air, as apposed to those with polished metal surfaces.
- Darker more rustic finishes will do best. Even if they do begin to show signs of rust over the years, it will only add more character to the finish.
- If you must choose a white or off-white fan, most of the more expensive models (over $250) will have a special UV coating that helps prevent yellowing and flaking.
- If you prefer a metallic finish, the higher quality (more expensive) models that are wet rated will do best, although you can expect some signs of rust over the years regardless of the quality.
- Avoid cheaper brands sold at home centers because they simply will not hold up in salt air, even if they are wet rated.
- Any of the wet rated fans shown to the right will be appropriate if you live near the ocean.
- Choose a ceiling fan that does not have blade arms, but rather one where the blades connect directly to the body of the fan. These are known as “Unibody Ceiling Fans” in the ceiling fan terminology. Broken blade arms are the #1 demise of a ceiling fan in high winds.
- If you have a flat ceiling that is 9 feet high or less, choose a flushmount fan with a Unibody design (Shown to the right). Fans that hang on a downrod can sway violently in strong wind, which can cause the blades to hit the ceiling and break.
- If you must choose a fan that hangs on a downrod because you have a higher ceiling, buy a fan with ABS plastic blades that are convex in shape as these will be less likely to break in the event the fan sways too much. All of the Minka-Aire Concept fans listed above have such blades.
- If you do not like the Unibody style fans because they are too contemporary for your application, be sure that the fan you buy has substantial blade holders like the Casablanca Heritage. The Heritage ceiling fans are also great for high ceilings because they have a very powerful motor and move lots of air.
- No, there are no ceiling fans that are designed with a “Quick Release” type of mounting hardware that makes them easy to remove when winds kick up.
- No, there are no ceiling fans that have blades designed for quick removal either
- Yes, many people have expressed the desire for such fans…and we have suggested this to ceiling fan manufacturers
Outdoor ceiling fans typically require higher airflow. Ceiling fans cool you off by creating a wind-chill effect by moving air across your skin. Air temperature does not change though.