Do You Need a Fan for High Ceilings? (Answered)

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It’s not always obvious what fans you need in different rooms in your house, building, or office. Clients and friends ask me about rooms with high-ceilings all the time.

Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

You do need a fan for high ceilings. Every indoor space legally requires proper ventilation. Ceiling fans attached to high ceilings help circulate fresh air, manage room temperature, improve comfort, reduce mold, deter pests, and lower energy costs. It is important to choose the right size fan.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about, “Do you need a fan for high ceilings?”

5 Reasons You Absolutely Need a Fan for High Ceilings

Room with a high ceiling—Do you need a fan for high ceilings
Image by the author via Canva—Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

There are at least five reasons to use a fan for high ceilings.

1) Prevent Stuffy Rooms

When you’re spending time in a room with a tall ceiling, you want to make sure it’s equipped with the right kind of fan.

Ceiling fans help to keep air circulating throughout the room, which can be crucial in spaces that are particularly susceptible to issues like air stagnation and stuffiness.

Unlike other types of fans, ceiling fans are mounted high up on the wall.

They create an umbrella effect that draws cool air down from the top while pushing hot, stuffy air up at the same time. This way, they prevent those uncomfortable areas where warm air doesn’t mix with cooler air and helps to regulate airflow throughout your entire space.

Ceiling fans come in a variety of different designs that blend seamlessly into any type of space.

For tall ceilings, you’ll want a bigger fan with the size and power to push more air around the larger room.

My favorite ceiling fans for high ceilings:

Best Fans for High Ceilings (Categories)Best FansPrice
Best overallBig Ass Fans Haiku L Smart 52″ Ceiling FanCheck the price
Best fan for 20-foot ceilingHykolity 72 Inch Industrial Style Ceiling FanCheck the price
Best fan for high ceiling with lightsBig Ass Fans Haiku L Smart 52″ Ceiling FanCheck the price
Best outdoor fan for high ceilingsMinka-Aire Xtreme 65″ Outdoor Ceiling FanCheck the price
Chart: The best ceiling fans for high ceilings—Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

2) Cooling Power

Ceiling fans can help to keep rooms cooler during warmer months.

When the air is circulated, it helps to evenly distribute the cool air from the air conditioner. This prevents pockets of hot air, indoor sweating, and overall discomfort.

You don’t want to spend a month in a hot, high-ceilinged room in a heat wave. Trust me.

3) Heat the Room Up During Winter Months

Some people don’t think about fans in colder climates but they can be lifesafers.

Ceiling fans can help distribute warm air around the space in winter months.

It may sound counterintuitive at first. However, since warm air rises, a spinning fan pushes the warm air back down to body level.

4) Reduce Energy Costs

Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

Yes, because ceiling fans can help reduce your energy costs. By circulating the air, it helps to reduce the amount of time that the heater or air conditioner needs to run.

The less you use your AC, the lower your energy bill.

Keep in mind that you will still need to run your air conditioning (AC). In most cases, a ceiling fan is not enough to completely cool an entire room with a high ceiling.

However, ceiling fans are essentially “helpers” or “boosters” for your AC and heat.

5) Team Up With Your Whole House Fan

To boost the cooling potential in a large room with a tall ceiling, you probably want to install a whole house fan.

What is a whole house fan?

A whole house fan is a type of air vent that is commonly installed in homes as a way to cool down indoor spaces and reduce energy usage.

Unlike typical home cooling systems, which use electricity or gas to run fans, whole house fans work by drawing in large amounts of outdoor air through vents and windows.

When used appropriately, this ventilation can provide an effective way to beat the heat without putting a strain on your HVAC system or your energy bills.

What Happens If You Don’t Use a Fan on High Ceilings? (The Consequences)

When friends ask me, “Do you need a fan for high ceilings?,” I always point out the consequences of not using a fan.

In the summer, you’ll be hot and uncomfortable.

In the winter, you’ll be cold as the heat escapes through the ceiling. The air will also be stale and stuffy, as there won’t be any circulation to circulate fresh air into the room.

This results in an overall feeling of discomfort.

Not to mention, you’ll also be spending more money on AC and heating as you try to compensate for the lack of airflow. Therefore, if you have high ceilings, make sure to use a fan.

Do You Need a Fan for Every High Ceiling in your House?

I recommend a fan in every room of your house—and particularly in rooms with high ceilings. The type of fan might vary depending on the room.

One of the most practical rooms to include with a ceiling fan is the living room.

This space can get very warm, especially with all those windows facing towards the sun. A ceiling fan helps pull cool air down from upper levels, allowing for balanced circulating air throughout your home.

While there are various other types of fans that can be used indoors—such as tower fans, blower fans, and bed fans—every room should have its own signature style so that you’re getting just the right amount of airflow any time you enter that particular space.

For example, an attic probably needs an attic fan.

An attic fan, or roof fan, is a specialized type of exhaust fan typically installed in the roof or gables of a home.

Attic fans work by drawing air up through the attic and out through the roof vents or soffits, helping to remove excess heat and moisture that can build up in the attic area.

These fans are an important part of effective ventilation systems.

Do You Need a Fan for a High Ceiling Outside?

Ceiling fans are great for creating airflow in large outdoor spaces.

They can help keep you cool on hot days and make your outdoor space more livable. They can also help blow away small pests that may bother you or your guests.

Modern ceiling fans also have the added benefit of being very stylish.

They come in a variety of designs and can really add to the look of your outdoor space. When paired with other types of outdoor fans, like blower fans or tower fans, they can create a truly unique look—while providing comfort.

My favorite outdoor ceiling fan is the Minka-Aire Xtreme.

It looks really good and moves a lot of air. You can get it in different sizes to match the needs of your space.

How To Choose the Perfect Fan for Your High Ceiling

When considering which fan is best for your high ceilings, consider size, performance level, noise output, budget and CFM rating (cubic feet per minute of air flow) before making a final decision.

Let’s quickly run through each factor so that you can see why it’s so important.

Why the Size of Your Fan Is Important for a High Ceiling?

When it comes to ceiling fans, size definitely matters. But why is that?

Well, for one thing, a fan that’s too small simply won’t be able to move enough air to make a difference in a room with a high ceiling. And a fan that’s too large can actually be counterproductive, because it will push the air down too forcefully and create an uncomfortable wind chill.

How do you know what size fan you need?

The general rule of thumb for large rooms with high ceilings is that you should select a fan that has a blade span of 40″-72″. Of course, your room could be somewhat bigger, smaller, or narrower.

Here is a chart with general fan sizes for different sized rooms:

Room SizeCeiling SizeFan Size
12X1213 Feet36-44″
12X1215 Feet44-52″
20X2020 Feet60-70″
Fan size vs. Room Size chart—Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

Here is a simple online celing fan size calculator that will help you match your perfect fan to your specific room deminisions.

You’ll want to make sure there is a minimum of three feet between the ends of your fan blades and the walls of your room. By following these general recommendations, your ceiling fan will be both effective and efficient.

Check out this short video about how to choose the perfect size fan for your high ceilings:

YouTube video by Hunter Fans—Do you need a fan for high ceilings?

Why Performance Level is Is Important for a High Ceiling Fan?

When shopping for a new ceiling fan, another crucial factor to consider is the fan’s performance level.

This refers to the speed at which the blades rotate, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). A higher RPM means more air circulation, which can be beneficial in hot weather or for large rooms.

Conversely, a lower RPM can create a more gentle breeze, making it ideal for smaller rooms or cooler climates.

Why Noise Output Is Important for a High Ceiling Fan?

Noise output is another factor you’ll want to consider.

After all, you don’t want your new fan to be so loud that it’s constantly disrupting your peace and quiet. But at the same time, you don’t want a fan that’s so quiet that it’s ineffective.

A bigger room will necessitate a more powerful fan, which will likely make more noise. A taller ceiling may require a longer downrod, which will also make the fan closer to you and thus louder.

Here is how to think about noise output from fans in a room with a high ceiling:

  • Don’t always buy the largest ceiling fan that can fit in a room
  • Shorter downrods will reduce noise
  • The acoustics of the room will impact noise levels
  • Different celings fan brands and models make different levels of noise

My personal favorite ceiling fan that balances power and noise level is the Big Ass Fans Haiku smart fan.

Why Budget Is Important for a High Ceiling Fan?

There are many reasons why budget is important when it comes to ceiling fans for high ceilings.

First and foremost, a high-quality fan is an investment that can help save you money in the long run. A more expensive fan will tend to be more energy efficient, which means lower monthly costs on your power bill.

Additionally, fans with premium features like remote controls or programmable settings can make a fan more expensive but easier to use.

Another reason why budget is important for ceiling fans is because of their impact on both comfort and aesthetics.

With the right size and style of fan for your room, you can create airflow that will keep you refeshed throughout the summer months. Choosing a stylish design that complements the aesthetic of your home will also help add to the overall ambiance of your space and create a welcoming environment for you and your guests.

My favorite budget-friendly ceiling fan for high ceilings is the Rustic Barnwood Style fan with caged lights from Honeywell.

Why CFM is Important for a Fan on a High Ceiling?

CFM, or the rate of air movement in a fan, is an important consideration for anyone with a high ceiling.

In rooms with cathedral ceilings and open spaces, the air can easily get stagnant if it isn’t properly circulated. This can lead to issues like stuffiness, odors, and an overall unpleasant environment.

In order to move enough air to have an impact on an entire room with a high ceiling, you will need either multiple fans or one fan with a high CFM rating.

My recommendation is to choose a single ceiling fan that has a high CFM rating.

By doing so, you save money upfront (and long term). You also help to ensure that your room is well-ventilated.

Final Thoughts: Do You Need a Fan for High Ceilings?

One more thing: go with a smart fan in rooms with high ceilings.

The ease of control, speed settings, airflow options, and energy efficiency is more than worth the cost.

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Sources

International Journal of Ventilation