Ceiling fan questions answered by Charlotte experts
James Amherst, co-owner
Amherst Electrical Services Inc.
Bobby Lindsay, owner
Lindsay Electrical Service Inc.
How do ceiling fans help balance the temperature in a home?
Amherst: Fans balance the circulation in a home. In the winter, they're moving warm air down away from the ceiling, and in the summer, it pulls hot air up out of the room.
Judy: If the fan's moving in the right direction, it will pull hot air down in the winter and circulate hot air out in the summer. Most people do it backward because they want to feel the air.
Lindsay: They circulate air - you want the warm air circulated so it can be cooled in the summer, and in the winter, you want the hot air pushed down from the ceiling.
What kinds of homes or ceilings pose particular challenges for installing fans?
Amherst: Angled ceilings pose the biggest challenge because fans have a limit to the angle they can hang. Low ceilings can be an issue because you need to safely walk under them.
Judy: A tall ceiling used to make installation a challenge, and until manufacturers started including [down rods] with fans, it was a two-person job.
Lindsay: In older homes, the construction may not be up to par, and it could be difficult to get the fan braced and installed properly, especially if there's plaster involved.
How do you charge?
Amherst: I charge by the job. If there's unfinished attic space above, it's $150 to $200. If it's an install with finished space above it, it's $90 per hour because of the patching and painting involved.
Judy: I charge $75 for a fan installation. That doesn't include any patching or painting, which is $50 per hour.
Lindsay: One fan installed in a standard ceiling is around $75. A two-story ceiling is $125 and that doesn't include any finish work.
Does it need to have its own switch installed, or are there remote-control-only models?
Amherst: There are remote models available. But there has to be a switch somewhere to disconnect the power, like in the attic where it's installed.
Judy: You can get a remote-control model, and there are universal remote controls you can get if your fan doesn't have one. But there needs to be a shut-off switch somewhere.
Lindsay: You can get a remote on any ceiling fan, and you can have it remote only.
Should I buy the fan myself and hire someone to install it, or buy it from the installer?
Amherst: Buy your own. Consider a 48-inch to 50-inch fan. Anything bigger is really for decoration.
Judy: Buy your own fan. People can call to ask questions if they're not sure what to buy.
Lindsay: Buy it on your own so you get what you want.