Building codes will vary by region. Here in Hawaii, the blades of your ceiling fan must be at least 7 feet from the floor.
Most fans are designed for 8-foot ceilings, even when a light fixture is attached. If you have an 8 or 9 foot ceiling, install the fan with the pole/downrod that comes with your fan.
Lower than 8-foot ceiling
You must still maintain 7 feet of clearance between the floor and your fan blades. You must use a hugger-style fan. Also known as a snugger or low profile fan. Some companies make “low ceiling adapters” that will help to shorten the fan for low ceilings.
Low profile fan will only raise your fan 3-4 inches. IF your ceiling is lower than 7 feet 9 inches, it is unlikely that you will be able to pass the 7-foot clearance rule.
One word of caution: fans need space between their blades and the ceiling in order to perform optimally. ALL hugger-style fans have significantly reduced air circulation.
Higher than 8 Feet
On high ceilings, a longer pole/downrod is recommended. Depending on the ceiling height, position your fan so that its blades are 8-10 feet from the floor. The poles/downrods for each brand of fan are slightly different and they are SELDOM interchangeable.
What size fan should I get for my living room? How about my master bedroom? Is a 52-inch fan appropriate for my children’s bedroom?
Ceiling fans, like rooms, come in different sizes. To get the most air movement and comfort from you ceiling fan, the following guidelines will help you choose the proper size.
Bathroom, hallways, walk-in closets
(very small rooms, smaller than 8×8)
Use a small fan, approximately 30 inch diameter.
Breakfast nook, bathroom, laundry (small room, 8×8)
If you can find one, a 36-inch diameter fan would be great. Be sure to measure any cabinets and doors to make sure nothing will swing out and hit your ceiling fan.
Small bedroom, kitchen (medium sized room, up to 12×12)
A medium sized fan, approximately 42-inch diameter is good for rooms of this size.
Large bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, etc
(large room, 12×12 or larger)
Once a room hits the 12 foot x 12 foot size, it is time to get a large ceiling fan. Look for a fan that is 50-54 inches in diameter.
Large living rooms, great rooms
(very large rooms, 20×20 and larger)
Most fan manufacturers produce fans that span 60 inches or more. As fans get large, they will have longer, heavier fan blades. 60-inch (or larger) fans can circulate air over a very large area, but they do it slower.
For maximum efficiency, your ceiling fan should be placed as close to the center of the room as possible. The tips of the fan blades should be at least 18 inches away from any wall. If the size of your room exceeds 20 feet, consider using multiple fans to ensure that the entire room gets a good breeze.
Keep in mind, that not all ceiling fans are created equal. Although you can buy a 52-inch ceiling from ValueMart for $60, does not mean that it is as strong or as reliable as a top-quality 52-inch Casablanca ceiling fan.
With ceiling fans, you get what you pay for. A ceiling fan from a well-known manufacturer will come with a lifetime warranty, some come with free in-home warranties, and will often keep your family cool for decades.