Ceiling fans


In South Korea, there is a popular belief that if a fan is left on overnight in a closed room, the inhabitants will die. Apparently the fan creates a vortex, which in turn creates a vacuum effect and leaves a room devoid of oxygen.

Thankfully this is not the case – because ceiling fans are a popular low cost, energy-efficient option for keeping your home feeling up to eight degrees cooler.


How efficient are ceiling fans?

Ceiling fans can be very effective for cooling.

Most ceiling fans only use about as much power as a 60W light bulb – a tiny amount when compared to the 2000W consumed by the average split system air conditioner. This also makes ceiling fans very affordable to run. Depending on how much you pay for electricity, using a fan may well cost less than one cent per hour.

Ceiling fans can also be used in tandem with air conditioners to make them more efficient. The idea is that the fan helps to drive cool air around the room, preventing it from pooling at ground level and reducing the overall need for the air conditioner to be operating. An added bonus is that this technique is also very effective for evenly distributing warm air from a heater in winter.


How high should ceiling fans be?

The standard ceiling height in Australia is 2.4 metres. The standard installation height for ceiling fans is at least 2.1m from the floor to the blades of the fan, and at least 300mm from the ceiling. For homes where the ceiling is substantially higher, you can also buy extension rods lower fans, although as a rule of thumb it’s probably safer to mount them above arm’s reach if you have the space.


Recommended fan sizes for different rooms

It is also important to weigh up the power of the motor and the length of the blades. These two factors will have an influence on a fan’s ability to push air around a room. The larger a room is, the stronger and wider fan blades need to be.

  • For small to medium rooms (up to 4m x 4m) such as kitchens, dining rooms, kids bedrooms and home offices, you should choose a fan of 122cm or smaller.
  • For large rooms (bigger than 4m x 4m) such as family rooms or master bedrooms, choose a fan with a blade of 132cm or larger.

What different types of fans are available and how do they differ?

There are fans available to suit every need and taste. Below are a few of the different ways that fans might differ:

1. Metal or timber blades
Metal blades tend to produce more noise than their timber or bamboo counterparts. As a result, timber or bamboo blades are often preferred for bedrooms.

2. Three, four or five blade fans
The number of blades on a ceiling fan doesn’t have a huge impact its performance. That being said, four-bladed fans are the most common in Australia and three-bladed fans are typically only available in metal, so for that reason alone they often generate more noise.

3. Reversible
Some ceiling fans have the option to reverse their direction. This is to make them an effective addition to your heating system during winter months as they help recirculate warm air throughout your home.

4. Whole-house fans
A whole-house fan involves installing a large fan in the ceiling of the highest level of your house. This fan pushes hot air up into the roof cavity where it is vented out of the house. It also pulls cooler air in through vents located lower in the house.


  • Cheap to install and operate
  • Able to enhance air conditioners and heaters
  • Low maintenance
  • Broad range of styles
  • Dangerous for tall people, or houses with low ceilings
  • Can be noisy
  • Provide cooling sensation rather than actual cool air.