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Old 08-09-2014, 11:01 AM   #1
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


Hello! Sorry if this is the wrong section. I'm posting here because my entire purpose in this venture is to improve the effectiveness of my AC (read: to use the AC the same amount I use it now, which is roughly two hours a day, but make the house feel colder anyway).

I have a 1200 square foot townhouse and wish to put a ceiling fan in my living space, which is roughly 16x25 ft, with ceilings somewhere over 9 feet high. The problem is, I only have one existing electrical box, located off to the side of the room, and I'm not willing to have a second one added (I live in a co-op so would have to get board approval plus pay the huge Washington DC COL fees for an electrician).

The situation is this: The center of the box is approximately 37" from the closest wall. I can either get a 52" fan and only have a 10-ish inch space between it and the wall, or I can get a smaller fan and get closer to the "at least 18 inches" the internet recommends. What's better for my situation - bigger blades (for purposes of this discussion please assume bigger blades = higher CFM) or more space for the air to flow?

Thanks for your expertise/opinions!

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Old 08-09-2014, 12:21 PM   #2
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


If you don't want to do it right, why do it ? You might consider a big box or pedestal fan instead.

You generally either center the ceiling fan in the room, or center it over the area where the people will be.

In a room of similar size at my house, I used two 52 inch fans to get really effective air movement.

The existing electrical box is not only in the wrong location, but it is probably not fan rated. So, it would need changing to a proper fan rated electrical box, if you were going to put a fan on it.

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Old 08-09-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


Thanks, Oso. I should add that other units do have ceiling fans in this same location and I know they didn't change any wiring. Again, it's a co-op... and not a permanent location at that. I'm not getting my money back if I go have the place rewired. And it'd take them until fall to agree to it anyway.
Do you have an answer for my question?
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #4
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


If your neighbors did not change out the electrical box (not wiring), and the ceiling box is not fan rated, there is a good chance that one of these days the fan will fall out of the ceiling.

If you are happy with the performance of one of your neighbors fans, you can always buy a similar one.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:02 PM   #5
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


I obviously haven't gone and measured my neighbors' fans, nor have I monitored their change in energy consumption as a result of the fan.

I'm not asking a complicated question here - which makes a bigger impact, size of the fan or area around it?
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:21 PM   #6
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Ceiling Fan Size versus Distance to Wall


Since you are asking about the difference between 11" or 13" clearance (52" vs 48" fan) the larger fan should move more air. But, you are limiting the performance of either fan by pushing it too tight to the wall. The 18 inch recommendation is there for a reason.

Limiting the air flow on one side, may give you an unbalanced effect, particularly at high speed. It may be severe enough that you might not want to run it on high.

I don't think you will see any summertime savings with a fan jammed in there. If you do, it will be a placebo effect. Because you see it turning, you think it is cooler.

For a 16x25 foot room, I think you should have something close to a 72 inch fan, or two 52" fans (properly spaced) to see significant savings.

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