How far down should I hang the fan?

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justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
I have an A-Frame with a 21' height at the peak of the ceiling. This point is directly above the stove (a Chinook 30). I am replacing the fan which is at the very top and have the opportunity to use a downrod. I just don't know how much downrod to order.
Half the house has this huge open ceiling and consists of the great room where the stove is. The back part of the house consists of an open loft area (750 sf) where I sleep, and the other bedrooms, bath, and kitchen below it.
What is the optimum size down rod that I should order? They range from 18, 24,36,48, to 60" Some guys tell me to drop it as low as I can, which I think might look awkward, but I am open to the best one to circulate the air and to try to keep so much of the heat from rising and pooling at the top. Sometimes the loft can be 15 degrees hotter than the rest of the house!
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,805
Central Mass
I would probably go with the 4' but those decisions are usually made by my wife. I believe its 15 degrees hotter up top, I went up a ladder to change a recessed light bulb in my cathedral ceiling and it was hot up there, that's when we installed fans, I think we have 36" but its only a 12' ceiling.
edit: meant 4 feet
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
In theory, as long as the fan is fully clearing the ceiling edges, it will completely circulate the air whether it is 18" or 60". Personally, I would go shorter as the longer the extension is, the more you have wobble problems unless you can get it perfectly balanced - not easy. I've seen this in churches and no one wants to sit under them for fear of getting bonked. The whole fan and rod are gyrating.
Our ceiling is 16' and the extension is only 12" and the only problem we have is cleaning the blades. Not fun!
 
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DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
I have an 18' ceiling and installed a ceiling fan with a 60" down rod. It allows me to get on a stepladder and throw the reversal switch and clean the blades. It works just fine circulating the air, whether updraft or downdraft. It hasn't wobbled an iota since it was installed, out of the box. If a fan wobbles, it needs to be balanced (they usually come with balance weights and instructions, but mine was fine to start with).
 

DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
8,990
Wherever we're parked
Mine is a 52" with an 18" down rod in a 16' tall Great Room. Works fine in either direction.
 

DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
Ceiling Fan.jpg
Mine is a 52" with an 18" down rod in a 16' tall Great Room. Works fine in either direction.

Mine is a 60" Hunter beneath a 12/12 pitch roof, so I needed a longer downrod just to keep the blades from touching the ceiling!
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,974
Marshall NC
I would go with the 5 foot down rod. My buddy put a ceiling fan in a 21 foot cathedral ceiling with a 2 foot down rod, you can't even feel the air that the fan blows. Matter of fact, I would get a longer down rod than 5 feet, all it is is a steel pipe threaded on one end, you could get a 7 footer made, that is what I would do.
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,974
Marshall NC
From link provided by hogwildz:

"With today’s newer homes and the higher, more open ceiling spaces, it is recommended to set your ceiling fan blades between 9 and 11 feet from the floor (the closer, the more effective). "

So, to the OP, you have a ceiling height of 21 feet, you should get a rod of at least 10 feet. I said above I estimated 7 feet. I am not surprised that a 10 to 12 foot rod is recommended for you, as I said, my buddy's fan is about 3 feet below a 21 foot cathedral ceiling and it is of no use at all, you can't even feel the breeze.

I am interested in this subject as, in a few months, I will build a house with a, guess what? 21 foot cathedral ceiling. Of course the room will have a wood stove and a ceiling fan, looks like I need a 10 or 11 foot down rod.
Easy to get one made up at the machine shop, hole drilled one end and the other end threaded, simple steel pipe.
 

justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
I would go with the 5 foot down rod. My buddy put a ceiling fan in a 21 foot cathedral ceiling with a 2 foot down rod, you can't even feel the air that the fan blows. Matter of fact, I would get a longer down rod than 5 feet, all it is is a steel pipe threaded on one end, you could get a 7 footer made, that is what I would do.
Thanks! I am not as concerned with the air in the summer as I am with the WINTER. The fan was situated above the firebox by the original owner in 1993. I am not interested in heating my ceiling while I remain cold down on the floor. Also, the master bedroom is a loft in the back half of the house. The loft is a full 10-15 degrees hotter. So this fan's job is to push down the hot air before it rises and also to circulate the air so that the great room feels the wood heat and not just the loft.
With that in mind, do you still think I should install it as low as possible?
Thanks again!
 

justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
I would go with the 5 foot down rod. My buddy put a ceiling fan in a 21 foot cathedral ceiling with a 2 foot down rod, you can't even feel the air that the fan blows. Matter of fact, I would get a longer down rod than 5 feet, all it is is a steel pipe threaded on one end, you could get a 7 footer made, that is what I would do.
Thanks so much This fan is above the firebox, but the ceiling being at 21', the fan's blades will be a good 16-17 feet above the top of the firebox. It's a Blaze King Chinook 30. It might look strange to hang the fan down so low, but maybe not. My friend/contractor thinks I should go as low as possible. The problem with that right now, at 2 feet, the fan is almost at the very peak of the A-Frame with a lot of air pushed up there. Dropping in a 5' downrod will put the fan at a point in the room where hot air can just "go around it" on its way up to that peak.
Maybe I am overthinking this but I want to do it right the first time.
Thanks again
Bloom
 

justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
In theory, as long as the fan is fully clearing the ceiling edges, it will completely circulate the air whether it is 18" or 60". Personally, I would go shorter as the longer the extension is, the more you have wobble problems unless you can get it perfectly balanced - not easy. I've seen this in churches and no one wants to sit under them for fear of getting bonked. The whole fan and rod are gyrating.
Our ceiling is 16' and the extension is only 12" and the only problem we have is cleaning the blades. Not fun!
Thanks! Are you also using it to push down the hot air rising from the firebox?
 

justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
View attachment 150200

Mine is a 60" Hunter beneath a 12/12 pitch roof, so I needed a longer downrod just to keep the blades from touching the ceiling!
This ceiling does look more like mine. Here is the view from the loft, where you can't see the stove below, but can see the pipe and (barely) the old fan. Should I just go 5 feet down? I am more concerned with heating my ceiling instead of heating the great room down there. Also, all that hot air drifts over to the loft, making it unbearable sometimes in the summer--but that is a smaller concern; I have a/c. At this point, I just want to do the right thing during my first winter here in 3 years.
Thanks!
 

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DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
The site linked is mostly making suggestions based on the cooling effects of a fan. My post was more specific to circulating air from a wood stove to get heat off the ceiling.

In the winter, you do not want air blowing on people and you do not want to feel the air circulating, you just want to even out the heat in the room. Air movement on skin will feel like the room is cooler than it is. Perfect in summer but bad in winter. Quite a different scenario than trying to cool a room with a fan.

Your goal is to circulate the air without feeling a breeze, so keeping the fan closer to the ceiling is better so that it grabs the warm air at the top of a cathedral ceiling and circulates it down very gently. As long as the air at the top and bottom are close in temps, you have achieved the goal.

Thanks! Are you also using it to push down the hot air rising from the firebox?
It doesn't matter as much whether you are pushing down or pulling up, it's gentle circulation that matters. If your fan reverses as most do, better to pull up in the winter but that is more dependent upon your room layout. Regardless, you'll still feel a gentle movement of air near the floor as the cool air moves toward the stove. If you've got kids lying on the floor, that may not be the best. My personal preference is to turn the fan on medium for a few minutes, get the air evened out, then off most of the time but that more depends upon where people are sitting in the room.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Splice extend tp 50 ft if you like

The download becomes a conduit for these 120 volt conductors. You can't splice in the middle of the run of conduit so where do you propose to make this splice?

Surely it is possible, I just don't know how.

The reason that manufacturers recommend to lower the fan is that for cooling effects you need to feel the blowing. Closer to your head the better for that. My shop ceiling fan is at 12.5' and on full speed blowing down I can only occasionally feel a puff. The room has 14' ceilings and thermal stratification is minimal.
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
You can't splice in the middle of the run of conduit so where do you propose to make this splice?
You should buy new wires the length of your conduit, plus a foot for splicing, then splice at the electrical box at the ceiling.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
In theory, as long as the fan is fully clearing the ceiling edges, it will completely circulate the air whether it is 18" or 60". Personally, I would go shorter as the longer the extension is, the more you have wobble problems unless you can get it perfectly balanced - not easy. I've seen this in churches and no one wants to sit under them for fear of getting bonked. The whole fan and rod are gyrating.
Our ceiling is 16' and the extension is only 12" and the only problem we have is cleaning the blades. Not fun!
What he said. Besides, who wants to see a fan every time you walk into the room? Unless you're going to go for some steam punk architectural statement, even the prettiest of ceiling fans are usually a detractor from the room.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
You should buy new wires the length of your conduit, plus a foot for splicing, then splice at the electrical box at the ceiling.

Uh, no. Then you would have more ghetto splicing at the fan motor where there is no box to do it. Aren't fans ul listed? Hacking the wires will certainly void the listing.
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
In all the fans I've done (4) there is always an enclosure in the fan where the splice could be and still adhere to code. On mine, it's in the bottom where the wiring for the lights connect but if there are no lights, usually there is a cup that comes off. Can't say if that applies to all models. If the splice is in an approved enclosure and if you are using proper wire and connectors according to code, I can't think of why it would void anything. Of course, do it improperly would be another story.

You do have to trace your wires carefully and not just look at the colors. I screwed one up for a short time when I got the full and half speed lugs switched. They are not well identified on some units. Unless you are dropping the unit further down than suggested, you shouldn't need to add wire anyway. Always best to ask at the store. Whenever I've had some serious questions, the electrical dept at HD in our local store has qualified electricians on staff most hours.
fan.jpg
 

tjcole50

Minister of Fire
Oct 5, 2013
509
Ohio
Wouldnt over think your height. Maybe oversize the fan. We have 21 ft cathedral A-frame as well. 3 exposed beams one over living room and 2 headed back to loft. The beams are at roughly 18ft tall. Our fan has a few ft down rod and giant pull strings to operate. It is a 54" hunter from the 80s. It is undersized and being replaced with a 70" to move more volume on low setting. It will be remote controlled which I will attach the remote next to the thermostat on the wall. Any air movement will help. In the winter have it move air upward and push heat sown your side walls we gained a couple degrees by doing so. (Not sure if that was mentioned). I'm going to add a fan in the loft as well to try and get the warmer air to move alittle.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,143
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
In all the fans I've done (4) there is always an enclosure in the fan where the splice could be and still adhere to code. On mine, it's in the bottom where the wiring for the lights connect but if there are no lights, usually there is a cup that comes off. Can't say if that applies to all models. If the splice is in an approved enclosure and if you are using proper wire and connectors according to code, I can't think of why it would void anything. Of course, do it improperly would be another story.

You do have to trace your wires carefully and not just look at the colors. I screwed one up for a short time when I got the full and half speed lugs switched. They are not well identified on some units. Unless you are dropping the unit further down than suggested, you shouldn't need to add wire anyway. Always best to ask at the store. Whenever I've had some serious questions, the electrical dept at HD in our local store has qualified electricians on staff most hours.
View attachment 150406

Thanks Doug. The fan directions certainly don't disclose how to do this and the op might run into the issue. If you can access and unhook the wire connection at the fan end then replacing the whole run with no splices seems very legit.

My last two fans only had 50+ inches of wire. Maybe 48". Just be ready if you're dropping the fan way down.
 

justbloom

New Member
Nov 15, 2014
20
occidental, ca
Wouldnt over think your height. Maybe oversize the fan. We have 21 ft cathedral A-frame as well. 3 exposed beams one over living room and 2 headed back to loft. The beams are at roughly 18ft tall. Our fan has a few ft down rod and giant pull strings to operate. It is a 54" hunter from the 80s. It is undersized and being replaced with a 70" to move more volume on low setting. It will be remote controlled which I will attach the remote next to the thermostat on the wall. Any air movement will help. In the winter have it move air upward and push heat sown your side walls we gained a couple degrees by doing so. (Not sure if that was mentioned). I'm going to add a fan in the loft as well to try and get the warmer air to move alittle.
Hey thanks! So your fan seems to be down around 16'. That helps! I would need a 3 ft down rod to get there.
 

DanCorcoran

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2010
2,205
Richmond, VA
Wouldnt over think your height. Maybe oversize the fan. We have 21 ft cathedral A-frame as well. 3 exposed beams one over living room and 2 headed back to loft. The beams are at roughly 18ft tall. Our fan has a few ft down rod and giant pull strings to operate. It is a 54" hunter from the 80s. It is undersized and being replaced with a 70" to move more volume on low setting. It will be remote controlled which I will attach the remote next to the thermostat on the wall. Any air movement will help. In the winter have it move air upward and push heat sown your side walls we gained a couple degrees by doing so. (Not sure if that was mentioned). I'm going to add a fan in the loft as well to try and get the warmer air to move alittle.


I have a fan in the loft as well, just so guests don't cook up there. Also, my Hunter is remote-controlled, but I still have to get on a step ladder to flip the switch to reverse directions...don't put your fan up so high you can't get to that.
 
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