Pick a Ceiling Fan Based on a Room's Square Footage

Photo:  Serkanyalcinkaya (Shutterstock)
Photo: Serkanyalcinkaya (Shutterstock)

With energy costs continuing to rise, ceiling fans are becoming an increasingly popular way to make homes more energy efficient. As we’ve written about in the past, not only can ceiling fans keep your home cooler in the summer—with or without air conditioning—but they can also help your home stay warm and toasty in colder weather.

But when it comes to choosing a ceiling fan, it’s not solely a matter of finding one to match your decor: You should also consider the room’s square footage in order to ensure that the fan is able to get the job done. Here’s what to know.

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How to buy the right size ceiling fan for a room

First, you need to figure out the square footage of the room where you’re going to hang the ceiling fan.

Find the square footage of the room

You can use an online square footage calculator, or do the math:

  • Measure the length of the room (in feet)

  • Measure the width of the room (in feet)

  • Multiply the length by the width to calculate that room’s square footage.

Finding a fan with the right span

Once you have the room’s square footage, you can select a ceiling fan that is the right size for the space, based on the fan’s span.

The span of a ceiling fan is the length (in inches) between the tip of one blade to the tip of the opposite blade (i.e. the diameter). If the fan has an odd number of blades, measure the distance from the tip of one blade to the center of the fan (the radius) then multiply it by two.

Now, pick a ceiling fan with the right span for the room:

  • Rooms up to 100 square feet: 36-inch span

  • Rooms up to 200 square feet: 42-inch span

  • Rooms up to 400 square feet: 52-inch span

  • Rooms larger than 400 square feet: Either one 60-inch fan or two 52- or 56-inch fans

Regardless of the size of the room or the fan, make sure there’s at least 18 inches of clearance from the walls.

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