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Can you put any ceiling fan in a garage and is it a good idea in the first place? There are a few things you have to look out for. Keep reading to find out what you want to know.
Ceiling fans are great in a garage that’s not hooked up to the HVAC system. Ceiling fans for a garage should be quite large, damp rated and have a short downrod to work properly in most garages.
Find out below what the best size for your garage is and what else to look out for exactly. You can find some recommendations at the bottom of this article as well.
Can You Have A Ceiling Fan In The Garage?
The garage is a part of the house that’s usually not as well insulated as the rest of the house. It’s also the spot where you often do more physical work which will make you feel a lot hotter than sitting on the sofa watching TV. And because the garage usually not very well insulated, using A/C isn’t always good for your electric bill although that would be very nice. That’s why a ceiling fan makes a lot of sense in the garage.
When working in the garage you want a little bit of airflow and circulation to make your time there more comfortable. It also works very well with the garage door open. That way the fresh air from outside circulates into the whole garage faster. A floor fan is the easiest solution because you just plug it in and put it anywhere. But floor fans don’t provide that air circulation although the are good at keeping you cool in a specific spot.
A ceiling fan provides a more comfortable, calm airflow than a floor fan though. Also, because garages are usually pretty large (although sometimes with low ceilings), you can use a pretty large ceiling fan which can move a lot of air.
There is no reason why you couldn’t put a ceiling fan in the garage and in most cases it’s actually a good idea to use one. It makes your garage more comfortable since it can cool you down while working there and circulate air efficiently.
What Type Of Ceiling Fan Is Best For a Garage?
So can you just put any ceiling fan in a garage? Using a normal indoor ceiling fan might not be the best idea for a few reasons;
- Ceiling Height
Garages are pretty big compared to most other rooms in the house. The average size of a one car garage in the US is 12’ x 22’ or slightly larger. That means you can fit a pretty large ceiling fan. You want to keep the tips of the blades of a fan about 2’-3’ away from the closest wall. That means we have 12 feet of width to play with and you can fit a 96” diameter fan at the biggest. Of course you can go smaller if you want but 96” is about the largest you can go with a 12’ wide garage and keeping 2’ away from the wall.
If you keep 3’ away from the wall, a 72” fan is the largest you should go which is still big enough for most situations.
Of course garages are long and relatively narrow. That means that a fan in one spot might not reach all the way to the other end with its airflow. In some cases you could use two fans, one in the front and one in the back. However, if this is possible depends on how your garage door opens. Most garage doors open along the ceiling so mounting something there is not possible. So if you can only fit one, going for the maximum size is a good idea. Otherwise, two slightly smaller ones works great.
Also, if you have any cabinets or other things that go all the way to the ceiling, you have to deduct how much space that takes up from how big a ceiling fan you can use. Alternatively you might have to change the location of your fan to stay clear of all obstacles.
The size of a ceiling fan you want to use in a garage is larger than most regular indoor ceiling fans. For a 12’ wide garage, a 72” diameter fan or slightly smaller is a good size.
Many ceiling fans that are meant for a living room or bedroom are very ‘designed’. For a garage this is unlikely to be necessary. If you’ve got a ceiling fan laying around and it fits the bill for your garage, sure, use it. But if you’re buying a new ceiling fan, buying one that fits your garage decor is a nice plus.
Most garages will look good with an industrial style ceiling fan. In case your garage is just a normal garage, this is a style that doesn’t look out of place. And in case you have a very nicely finished garage, it’s likely in an industrial style anyways.
The size and the looks are two differences why you would get a slightly different ceiling fan for your garage than your living room. Moisture is probably the biggest thing to be aware of though.
Garages tend to have much more moisture and dust than the average living room. Most indoor ceiling fans are built to be used in living rooms, bed rooms, etc. which are relatively dry and clean. Luckily there are ceiling fans that are built to live in a little harsher environments.
There are ceiling fans that are rated for; Dry, damp and wet. The damp and wet rated fans have better protection agains the elements and are made out of materials that are more resistant to moisture but also dust and dirt. As a trade-off, they are a bit more expensive and noisier.
For a garage, a damp rated ceiling fan is the best option. A wet (rain) rated fan is not necessary in a garage unless you like to power wash the ceiling. But a garage can definitely get damp. Think about pulling your wet car inside. That alone can be enough to raise the moisture levels pretty high.
A damp rated fan is also a bit better sealed off which helps keep dust and dirt out. The garage can get pretty dusty in some cases which in turn gets into the fan, especially with the fan turned on.
A ‘damp’ rated ceiling fan is the best option for a garage. This type of ceiling fan is better protected against moisture and dust both of which are common in a garage.
Most standard garages don’t have very high ceilings. 7’ high ceilings are not uncommon but about 8’ tall is the standard height. If you’ve got 7’ tall ceilings, it’s a bad idea to mount any type of ceiling fan. While there are ceiling fans that stay closer to the ceiling, even the shallowest ceiling fan will come down a good few inches off the ceiling. That means you might be able to stand under it but if you lift anything above your head, it’ll get caught in the fan with potentially disastrous results.
With 8’ high ceilings you’ve got a bit of wiggle room although it’s still a good idea to keep the downrod pretty short. You’ll want to keep the lowest part of the fan Above about 7’ height to reduce the chances of hitting it accidentally.
Recommended Garage Ceiling Fans
So if you’ve read the requirements for a garage ceiling fan above you know that it’s best to look for a fan that is;
- Short downrod
- Damp or wet rated
- The design is up to you but in most garages an industrial design works best.
Knowing what we’re looking for, here are some good options;
Big Air Industrial Ceiling Fan
The brand you should look at first when shopping for a ceiling fan that ticks all the boxes for a garage is: Big Air. They make big industrial looking ceiling fans. They’re pretty affordable for their size and quality.
Big Air makes fans in different sizes but the range that’s of most interest for a garage are available in 72”, 84”, 88” and 96” which are perfect sizes for most garages.
They are very well built with high quality components and efficient/quiet DC motors. The designs are simple but purposeful and they work well. The distance from ceiling to bottom of the fan is quite short with the standard 6” downrod. The damp rating makes them suitable for any covered application.
Big Air 108” Industrial Fan
I mention this one separately because it’s a bit too big for a single garage. It has a 9’ diameter which is a bit too much for a 12’ wide garage. However, if you’ve got a garage that’s 14’ wide or wider, this fan works. And it works very well. It can move 40.000 CFM at the max setting which is a whole lot of airflow.
It looks sleek in its black paint and simple design. It’s a big fan and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. There is no built in light kit but the motor is strong and of very high quality. It has 6 speeds and a remote control for easy use.
The downside? Besides the price, it has a long downrod which means it needs a very high ceiling to be mounted properly. With the standard downrod the fan blades are almost 4’ from the ceiling. This means with 8’ tall ceilings you can’t use this fan. Of course you can cut the downrod down yourself but that potentially void the warranty which is something you might not want to risk with something that has this price tag.
Kathy Ireland Home
Need something a little smaller, simpler and cheaper? This 60” fan will do the job. It’s damp rated so it’ll work perfectly fine for a garage. It has a simple metal construction with three blades which means the price is quite low while still being a good fan. It’s available in a few different colors so you can fit it to your space.
There are no fancy remotes or smartphone apps but it’s controlled by a simple wall panel which adds to it’s low price and simplicity. With the standard 6” downrod the distance from ceiling to bottom is 12.8”.
Want something a little more stylish? This windmill (Windmolen means windmill in Dutch) inspired 65” fan looks quite nice and has a lot of blades which produces more airflow than other fans of this size although at the expense of some more noise.
It has all the usual great specs like an energy efficient DC motor, a damp rating and wet rating. The cool feature is that this fan is controllable by a smartphone app as well as a normal wall panel.
The standard downrod is 10” long which means the distance from ceiling to fan blades is 19.25” However, there are shorter downrods available to suit your needs. The shortest available downrod is only 3.5” long. With the 3.5” downrod the distance from ceiling to lowest part is 12.75” which isn’t the shortest but also not the worst.