Ceiling fans can add a lot to your home. They can help maintain a comfortable temperature, provide light, and add to the decor and ambience of any space. They can even help keep bugs away when used outdoors.
However, many parents are cautious about adding ceiling fans out of concerns for safety. The image of a ceiling fan falling and seriously injuring someone is just too vivid for some homeowners. In fact, as recently as the 1970s, the idea of ceiling fans causing grievous harm to people was even touted by the governments of some countries, who used the threat of injury as propaganda to reduce energy consumption.
The fact is, though, that the ceiling fan has come a long way, and when properly installed and maintained, is perfectly safe. And with the following tips, you can be even more confident that they are safe for your home and family.
How to Keep Your Ceiling Fans Safe
1. Have Them Professionally Installed
Unless you have experience installing fans and working around electricity, it’s best to leave installation to a professional. The most common reason for a wobbly fan is improper installation, but a professional can ensure that everything is correct and tight. It’s especially important to call in the pros if you’re installing a new fan, and not just replacing an old one. A new installation requires working with wiring, and if you aren’t a licensed professional, you could void your homeowners insurance coverage in the event something does go wrong.
2. Use the proper supports
Safe installation requires an anchor point, which is usually located in a support beam. If the fan is hung in the wrong place, or there are problems with the support beam and anchor point, it’s at risk for wobbling or even falling. Ceiling fans also need to be supported by a fan brace box and an electrical junction box designed for fans. It’s not enough to install a fan where a previous light fixture was located if it wasn’t designed to support the weight of the fan.
3. Maintain the Fan
Checking your fan and keeping it in good condition ensures its safety and helps increase its lifespan. Although you should check the fan and make repairs any time something isn’t working right, regular maintenance is a must. This includes cleaning the fan blades, tightening the screws if needed, and making sure the fan blades are balanced. You can purchase an inexpensive balance kit for this; unbalanced fan blades are a primary cause of wobbling fans. Lubricate the moving parts every few months to keep them moving freely and to reduce noise.
4. Keep Fan Chains Out of Reach of Children
Although it’s unlikely that children will become entangled in fan chains, they can still present a temptation to youngsters. For example, children may try to hang or swing from a long fan chain, which can pull the chain off or even cause the entire fan to fall. If you have bunk beds or other tall furniture in the room, be sure the fan chains are well out of reach to prevent climbing or jumping to reach them. Avoid hanging anything that might tempt children, such as decorative pulls from the chains, as well.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your pets when it comes to ceiling fans. Cats and birds have been known to perch — or try to perch — on fan blades. Before turning on a fan, make sure none of your pets have found their way up there.
5. Avoid Obstructions
Before installing a ceiling fan, carefully measure the room to ensure that the fan will be able to rotate freely without hitting any obstacles, like tall furniture or doors. Ceiling fans are offered in multiple sizes, so choose the one that’s best suited for the room it will be hung in. The smaller the room, the smaller the fan you’ll need. Choosing a fan that’s too large for the intended space is not only dangerous, it’s likely to create too much airflow and dominate the space.
Ultimately, the fact remains that the risk of injury from a ceiling fan is fairly low, and there have been very few instances of people being harmed by them. As long as you never try to stop the blades with your hand (which will cause painful injury) and follow these safety tips, you can enjoy a fan without incident.