If you want to keep cool, save money, and add style,
give one of these spin meisters a whirl
The gentle breeze of a spinning fan may spark memories of sultry summer days past—you know, before you gave in to the chilling call of air-conditioning. But you'd be hard-pressed to recognize the plain-Jane models of yesteryear in today's options. From exuberantly ornate, Victorian-inspired versions to sleek stainless numbers epitomizing a modern minimalism that looks good in any house, there's a fan to suit every taste and style. But while appearances have changed, one thing has stayed the same since the first electric ceiling fan started whirring in 1882: These simple mechanical devices—a motor connected to a set of rotating blades—remain marvels of common sense. By circulating air that evaporates moisture from your skin, they make you feel cooler, even on the clammiest of days. That means you can ease up on the expensive AC. In fact, used properly, a ceiling fan can shave up to 40 percent off your summer cooling bill, while drawing only as much electricity as a 100-watt bulb. Now, how refreshing is that?
Move air through a large space like a great room with up to six fans funning on the same motor via a pulley system, a throuback to early commercial models used in diners and department stores a century ago.
About $2,000 for one double motor, one spindle, and blades; about $1,400 for additional spindle with blades; Fanimation
For maximum effectiveness, choose a fan that's sized right for your room. Blade spans of less than 36 inches are for spaces smaller than 75 square feet, such as baths and breakfast nooks. Spans of 36 to 42 inches work in rooms up to 225 square feet, like a dining room. Larger living rooms and bedrooms can handle 50- to 54-inch blades. Whether or not you need a down rod depends on your ceiling's height. For optimal performance, the fan should be 8 to 9 feet above the floor.
Get more bang for your fan with two rotating ventilators. This one, with Victorian embellishments, also turns on its central axis, pushing air to the far corners of a room.
About $820; Minka Group
Besides pushing air, a fan can also accent your home's architectural style. This Arts and Crafts design has teak-veneer blades laminated to resist warping and a bronze-colored motor housing that will blend right in with the details of your bungalow.
About $700; Casablanca Fan Company
If clean, crisp lines are more your style, air out your bedroom with a sleek, Art Deco–inspired model finished in matte nickel. The louvers reduce glare from the light, which comes with an energy-saving compact fluorescent option.
About $450; Modern Fan
An amber, blown-glass uplight provides soft, ambient room lighting as well as a hit of color. With its classic details, this one would fit well in a Greek Revival–style living room or library.
About $280; Hampton Bay