Updated: June 8, 2015
Paddle Fan Installation:We recently moved into a smaller house that is a single level home with no air conditioning. Summers here in Portland, Oregon can be hot with temperatures in the 90s and even over 100 degrees. Our first summer in the house was comfortable but we felt like having a few ceiling fans installed would be a good decision for future years. The two rooms that seemed to get very hot on warmer days were the family room and kitchen. We bought 2 paddle fans at a local lamp and ceiling fan store for about $150/each. The ceiling fans ended up being the cheap part of the project as the installation was quite expensive. The labor to have an electrician come in and setup the wiring for the fans on the ceiling was almost twice as much as the paddle fans cost. We had a guy come out and install the fans and put switches on the walls so that we could control the speed of them. Unfortunately I am not a handyman and I could not do the project on my own.
There are several factors that go into a successful installation of ceiling fans. First, ventilation experts say that fans should be installed roughly 8 feet from the ground. If you are installing the ceiling fan in a room with lower ceilings then you'll have to do a flush-mount installation which puts it closer to the ceiling itself. High ceilings require downrods which will bring the fan closer to floor level. We had a sloped ceiling in our family room so the install process was a bit more difficult for the journeyman as he did an angle mount. Smaller rooms can have a 36" fan but mid-sized rooms should go with a 42" diameter ceiling fan or larger. Our paddle fans had a reverse switch on them so that in the winter we could recirculate the warmer air aloft and keep the colder air from settling near the floor. I must say that the paddle fans do a better job of keeping the house cooler in the summer than warming it up more evenly in the winter. Nevertheless, I bought the fans for summer conditions so I am happy with their performance. The indoor ceiling fans are very energy efficient and the ones we picked were Energy Star rated. I really like the wall controls for the fans too, we can simply turn them on/off and control the fan speed with the flip of a switch. No more having to pull on a cord to operate them. For DIY homeowners, the project is considered "moderate" or intermediate in terms of skill level. If you currently have no electrical outlet on the ceiling where the fan will go the cost will rise substantially as that is a significant part of the installation process. Also, the higher the ceiling the more difficult it will be for the installer to reach the paddle box mount area and this too could add to the cost of the project. Get an estimate first, even two if possible, and then proceed. We ended up hiring an electrician that the store recommended and he was $65/hour. We found paddle fans available online at Amazon.com, Home Depot, and Lowes. Compare prices whenever possible and keep the manufacturers installation directions from the box so that if you do hire a professional they don't have to waste time guessing on the steps. We recommended viewing the installation guide for ceiling fans on the Lowes.com website.