When it comes to the idea of buying or replacing a few ceiling fans, most people think it is as simple as picking out a style they like in-store or online and just purchasing it….period. Sometimes it is that easy. You just buy the fan and have someone else install it. But a growing number of homeowners and DYIers, who have been squeezed financially for every last dollar they own, are opting to do the work themselves. That includes the total demolition of rooms, the full renovation of rooms, the decoration of rooms, and so forth. Sometimes in the process of revamping an entire room, ideas and measurements and dreams become confused. And the eyes can’t always judge correctly what an exact dimension or measurement truly needs to be, in order for an installation of some sorts to work.
Furthermore, most homeowners are being forced to purchase their products online, as brick and mortar stores are folding and closing left and right. Just recently it was announced that Walmart, JC Penny, Macy’s and Sears were closing hundreds of stores. When it comes to purchasing fans online – suddenly the world becomes complicated. Most manufacturers sell their fans online in pieces. Why? Because consumers can now pick out their motors, blades, light kits and remotes at the click of a link, and thus, e-stores have managed to magnify the shopping experience to a whole new level of confusion. Consumers are given a wide array of choices online – yet sans the friendly in-store sales person to guide them, and without an ability to be able to ‘physically see’ and inspect the items they plan to purchase.
Is your ceiling sloped? What angle ratio does a sloped down rod allow for? Do you want a wet location fan? Do you need the hand remote or the wall unit? Would you like an additional light kit attachment? How many down rods come with the unit? Does it come with blades or are they sold separately? Must the fan be hardwired in? What does the canopy look like? Is the fan motor one speed or three speed? Is it reversible speed? Is the light kit dimmable? What finishes does the fan come in? What are the replaceable parts? What’s the warranty? What are the glass shade choices on the light kits?
A lot of times, the ‘online details’ regarding all these questions are NOT provided by the manufacturers, nor the stores selling the products. And that’s because people are magically supposed to know what they want when they’re shopping – just by looking at the provided one or two web pictures of the ‘whole product’. A large majority of people never even think to ask half of the questions we’ve just listed. And quite often, customers will see the same picture listed for several different finishes and are then left to wade through the product details to make sure that what they’re looking at – is exactly what they’re expecting to get – because the description says black finish but the picture shows chrome. Yes, these days, finding the right fan online can suddenly become a nightmare project. What’s a human to do?
One could simply sit quietly for a moment with a notepad in hand…or cellphone for that matter, and make notes to oneself from within the room space one desires to put the fan. It would be ideal to list the things you think you want before you begin the online shopping process. Here are a few tips to start you off…
Do you want your fan to hang incognito or be a decorative room feature?
What are the dimensions of your room? How high is your ceiling?
Will your fan need to give off light? You’ll need one that can host a light kit.
Go for a high quality quality fan. Cheap fans wobble and don’t circulate air well.
Don’t know what a quality fan brand is? Review them at: www.consumerreports.org
A fan should be elevated at least 8′ – 9′ from the ground.
Do you want a wall remote control? Some remotes are sold separately.
Find out how many down rods come with the fan and which sizes they are.
If you plan to add a light kit – make sure the circuit can handle both the fan and the light.
If your ceiling is sloped, make sure the canopy is designed specifically for sloped ceilings.
Be sure to look at the size of the fan blades. The full diameter is then usually (x2).
If the fan is hung high up in a double story room, get a remote and extra down rods.
If you are hanging it on a porch or patio, you’ll want a ‘wet rated’ fan.
Returns are no fun for anyone; not the customer returning it, nor the e-store selling it, nor the manufacturer receiving an item back. Doing a little pre-thought before rushing out to purchase online can save you lots of hassle in the long run. Most e-stores have ‘chat’ and provide a customer service phone number. Use those features. Sometimes one phone call or quick ‘chat in’ can nip any future purchase issues in the bud – by getting you all the information you need – before the point of purchase!