Can a Ceiling Fan Get Wet? Is It Safe?


You’ve got a ceiling fan and would like to mount it somewhere it could possibly get wet. Is getting a ceiling fan wet a problem and what kind of ceiling fan can get wet? Here’s what you want to know. 

A normal indoor (dry rated) ceiling fan can not be exposed to water. The electric motor nor the blades and fasteners are built to handle water. Wet rated ceiling fans have a sealed motor and weatherproof blades. Wet rated fans can get wet without problems. 

Keep reading below to see what could go wrong and how to choose a ceiling fan that’s suitable for your situation. 

Can Ceiling Fans Get Wet? 

Normal ceiling fans that are meant for indoor use (most of them) are not going to be happy when they get wet. There are a few problems with getting a normal ceiling fan wet: 

  • Motor
  • Blades
  • Fasteners/fixtures

The motor of a normal ceiling fan is not sealed. Anything can get in there if it gets close enough. That includes water. And we all know that getting water in electrical components is a very bad idea. If you’re lucky it will just short out and/or trip the circuit breaker but worse things can also happen. 

The blades of many, especially cheaper, ceiling fans are also not weatherproof. That means water can get into the blades and compromise the structure. On some blades this is not an issue. If you have plastic or metal blades, this isn’t going to be an issue likely. However, fans with wooden and composite blades can start sagging with too much moisture intrusion. 

Suggested: Can an indoor ceiling fan be used outdoors?

Besides the blades and motors, all the fixtures and fasteners are not necessarily built for water exposure either. That can cause rust on certain parts. This is not a guarantee but it can happen especially on the cheaper models. 

All in all, that means you shouldn’t expose an indoor ceiling fan to water. It might be OK for a while but it’s likely not going to last very long. You risk electrical shorts and even fire if you expose a normal ceiling fan to water. The fasteners and blades will deteriorate very quickly as well. 

A ceiling fan that’s better for the job might be a bit more expensive but it’ll actually last. 

Which Ceiling Fans Can Get Wet?

So exposing a dry rated fan to water is not a good idea. But there are other options. There are ceiling fans that can stand up to the rain or other sources of water. 

Ceiling fans come with different ratings: Dry, damp and wet. 

The ratings are pretty descriptive of what they are built to stand up to. Dry rated ceiling fans are only for indoor use in areas that don’t get wet or damp at all. That means living rooms, bedrooms, etc. 

Damp rated ceiling fans have weatherproof blades and usually a design that stops some water from getting into the electronics but can’t stop big amounts of water. These fans are good for areas with high humidity and at most little mists of water. 

Wet rated ceiling fans can be exposed to rain. The motor is sealed and the blades and all the fixtures are going to be built to handle water without a problem. You can’t mount them under water but otherwise you’ll be good. 

Do You Need a Wet Rated Ceiling Fan?

So there are different types of ceiling fans and some of them can get wet and some of them are good for damp areas. Which one do you actually need. 

If you think there is a good chance that there will be a good amount of water ending up on the ceiling fan, a wet rated fan is the best option. Damp rated fans are really just for areas that are potentially humid like a garage, shed or basement. But a damp rating is still not going to be enough if you expect something like rain to hit your ceiling fan. A wet rated fan is just going to be the safer bet. By getting a wet rated fan, you won’t have to worry about it. 

For large covered patios and porches a damp rated fan is usually OK. The water mist from a storm can be handled by damp rated fans. However, it there is a risk that there is rain landing on the fan directly, a damp rating is not enough. 

There are of course some edge cases where it isn’t completely clear which type you should get. If there is any chance there is direct water contact with the fan, a wet rated one is safer. For other cases, a damp rated one is OK. Garages, basements and sheds can be served perfectly fine by a damp rated fan. 

Recommended Wet Rated Ceiling Fans

Do you need a wet rated ceiling fan for your application? Here are some of the best options: 

Minka-Aire F896-65-CL Xtreme H2O

With a name like Xtreme H2O, you don’t have to read the description to know it’s wet rated. It’s a large 65” fan that flows quite a bit of air and is perfect for outdoor locations. It has a simple industrial look that works in most situations. It comes with a remote control and can be controlled with a phone app. 

It’s available in different colors to really make it fit into your space. It has 8 blades and a DC motor which results in a quiet airflow even at the highest setting. 

Hunter Builder Elite

A simple and affordable outdoor ceiling fan that’s outdoor rated. It’s 52” in diameter which is a good size for smaller patios. It’s a simple fan with a pull cord and without any fancy remotes or connectivity. For most people that’s all they need though. 

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