All About Light Kits
Ceiling-fan light kits come three different ways: integrated into the fan, included with the fan at the time of purchase, or sold separately. Many of the light kits that are sold separately are universal, meaning they can be used on a number of fan models. Similarly, most ceiling fans are light-kit adaptable. But there are many cases where compatibility is only between light kits and ceiling fans of the same brand.
If your fan doesn’t include lighting, buy an Energy Star certified light kit. This lighting is efficient and long-lasting, so you won’t have to make frequent bulb changes. There are three common types of light kits. Branched and stemmed light kits have cans or globes that can point up or down. Uplight kits sit on top of the housing and point toward the ceiling, casting a softer light.
Nearly all Energy Star certified ceiling-fan light fixtures use bowl lighting, which can be attached directly to the ceiling-fan housing or below the fan. Bowl and shade designs include clear, alabaster, and crystal. Typically, the fancier the glass design, the more expensive.
The right light bulbs. Not all CFLs and LEDs are intended for use in ceiling fans. If your fan has bowl lighting, look for a light bulb that can be used in an enclosed fixture. If it has cans or globes in which the bulb points down, you’ll need light bulbs specifically intended for ceiling fans. Keep in mind that lighting affects energy use. LEDs are more efficient than CFLs, and CFLs are more efficient than halogen light bulbs.
Match the Fan to the Room. The style you choose should add to the room décor, like a piece of furniture. You might want to install more than one fan in very large spaces, such as a great room, or if your home has an open floor plan.
Hang it high. A fan at 8 to 9 feet is best for optimal airflow, so if your ceiling is higher, use a down rod to position the fan at the proper height.
Connect with color. Coordinating a fan’s finish with other furnishings helps create unity and balance in a room. You can match the color of a wood fan blade to the floor. Metal fan finishes can coordinate with doorknobs, cabinet hardware, and even kitchen faucets and bathroom fixtures.
Blend it in. If you want to make a fan less obvious, choose a very simple style in a color that blends in with the ceiling. A flush-mounted fan will disappear into the ceiling a bit more.
Keep It Clean
Dirty fan blades don’t move air efficiently, so clean all household fans at least once each cooling season. A ceiling fan that’s covered with dust or pollen might also fling the offending particles around the room as it’s whirring away. And if you have a fan in the kitchen, cooking grease can make it a dust magnet. That’s why it’s important to keep the fan clean, especially if you use it year-round. Doing so requires a ladder, an all-purpose cleaner, and only a little effort. Here are some tips to help you get the job done:
Cover the floor and furniture. Spread a drop cloth or old sheets on the floor and over any furniture that’s near or under the fan. Try to cover an area about twice as wide as the full width of the fan. Position the ladder so that you can see the top of the blades. Remove any globes and hand-wash them in the sink.
Dust, then wash. Begin by removing loose dust with a cloth or duster. Then moisten a cloth or sponge with an all-purpose cleaner—don’t spray liquid on the fan—and wash each blade. Don’t apply heavy pressure, which can bend the blades and cause the fan to not work properly. Dry thoroughly; damp blades attract dust.
Cool tools. You can clean both sides of the fan blades at once using a long-handled, U-shaped brush. This special tool is available from hardware stores and home centers. Don’t have one? A few cleaning websites recommend slipping an old pillowcase over the blades one by one, then pulling it back to remove dust and dirt. If cleaning the ceiling fan is a chore you hate, try waxing the blades with car wax, which can prevent dust from sticking.