Ceiling fans are a small appliance that can significantly improve the comfort during a hot day. There are indoor and outdoor ceiling fans but what do you need for a covered patio? Let’s find out.
You do need an outdoor ceiling fan for a covered patio or other covered outdoor space. The fan should have either a damp- or wet-rating. Indoor or dry-rated ceiling fans are unsafe in this environment due to exposure to moisture that can lead to rust, corrosion, or electrical fires.
There are a few differences between outdoor- and indoor-rated ceiling fans, including the materials used, the blades, and the motor. Keep reading to learn about the differences between outdoor and indoor ceiling fans and how to decide on one for your patio.
What Is an Outdoor Rated Ceiling Fan?
An outdoor rated ceiling fan is a ceiling fan made of high-quality, weather-resistant materials for optimal performance in any condition. Outdoor ceiling fans are categorized as either damp-rated or wet-rated. They are ideal for outdoor use and suitable for moisture-rich climates.
The biggest benefit of an outdoor ceiling fan is that it offers heat relief without using an AC. Outdoor ceiling fans are very versatile, and you can find industrial and natural designs options.
A damp-rated or wet-rated ceiling fan is best for a covered patio. A dry-rated fan should never be used. It’s essential to use a safe option to prevent minor inconveniences and major safety concerns.
Covered patios are enclosed enough for a damp-rated fan. However, choosing a wet-rated option will likely offer the most durable, long-lasting, and potentially safest fan.
What Are Outdoor Rated Ceiling Fans Made Of?
Damp- and wet-rated outdoor ceiling fans are made of a special plastic that allows for optimal performance in extreme weather. The materials used to make outdoor fans are chosen carefully to prevent corrosion, rust, deterioration, and perhaps most importantly – electrical fires.
This durable, high-quality material also has damage resistance. Other materials include stainless steel and powder-coated paint for resistance to rust and UV rays.
Can Outdoor Ceiling Fans Be Exposed to Rain?
Typically, outdoor ceiling fans can be exposed to rain if they are designed for it. Outdoor ceiling fans are either wet-rated or damp-rated. A damp-rated outdoor ceiling fan won’t be good enough for areas exposed to rain. Only wet-rated outdoor ceiling fans can be exposed to rain.
To understand this better, we will look at the rating system used for ceiling fans. Like all products, ceiling fans have to go through safety tests before being sold to the public. One of the safety requirements for ceiling fans is a rating on the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) system.
The UL Rating System
Underwriters Laboratories is a non-profit organization that does independent research on the safety features of products. The organization created a rating system for ceiling fans and other consumer products.
Ceiling fans fall into 3 categories in the UL system:
Dry-Rated or Indoor Ceiling Fans
Indoor ceiling fans are only safe for in-home use. Dry-rated indoor fans need arid environments with no contact with water, so they only work in some rooms. Bedrooms, kitchens, playrooms, living areas, and finished basements are all rooms in which dry-rated fans work.
Any area that regularly comes into contact with moisture, like a bathroom, unfinished basement, or laundry room, must use a damp-rated fan.
Damp-Rated Ceiling Fans
Fans that fall in this category are safe to use in moisture-rich environments like bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, and screened-in porches or patios. The design of these fans holds up against light moisture but not heavy rain.
These fans are more durable than dry-rated fans but not as versatile as wet-rated fans.
Wet-Rated Ceiling Fans
The most general-purpose ceiling fans are in the wet-rated category. They work in areas like unscreened porches and patios, gazebos, waterfront areas, and more. Wet-rated ceiling fans are safe from snow, sleet, rain, water, and extreme temperatures.
With designs that protect the fan from the elements and damage, they are safe to use outside and inside.
Indoor Vs Outdoor Ceiling Fans
The main difference between indoor and outdoor ceiling fans is in the interior design. Outdoor fans have all the capabilities of indoor fans, with additional features, such as withstanding moisture and bad weather. Indoors fans, however, do not have all the capabilities of indoor fans.
A ceiling fan has several components:
- An electric motor
- Safety cable
- Ceiling mount
- Sometimes, even a lamp
Indoor and outdoor ceiling fans have all the same elements, but the parts of an outdoor fan can withstand moisture, extreme temperatures, and weather damage.
The motor, motor housing, blades, safety cable, and ceiling mount are where we see a difference between indoor and outdoor options. In general, they can better handle the elements.
Can Indoor Ceiling Fans Be Used Outdoors?
Indoor ceiling fans cannot be used outdoors because it’s not safe. Indoor fans are prone to rust, deterioration, and even electrical fires without the appropriate materials and design. Indoor fans can only function in bedrooms, kitchens, living areas, and finished basements.
Can Outdoor Ceiling Fans Be Used Indoors?
You can use outdoor ceiling fans indoors, and they’re just as functional inside the house as they are outside. Unlike an indoor fan, which is only applicable in certain climates, outdoor fans work anywhere and can even offer additional benefits due to their modified durability.
However, they will use more energy.
Decorating an outdoor covered patio is an exciting and stressful adventure for any homeowner. Finding the safest fan option will give your space a comfortable feel and keep hot temperatures at bay.
The best ceiling fan for a covered patio is either a UL damp-rated or wet-rated option. The materials and design of the outdoor fans make them ideal for environments with heavy moisture and exposure to the elements. Indoor or dry-rated ceiling fans should never be used in a covered patio.
By adding the right outdoor ceiling fan to your covered patio, you’ll keep guests safe and comfortable.
- Virginia State University Virginia Cooperative Extension: ENERGY SERIES: What about Using Ceiling Fans?
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors: Ceiling Fan Inspection
- Consumer Reports: The Consumer Reports Guide to Ceiling Fans
- Y Lighting: All of Your Outdoor Ceiling Fan Questions, Answered
- Build with Ferguson: Outdoor Ceiling Fans
- Informinc: Best Outdoor Ceiling Fan
- Center for the Built Environment: Ceiling Fan Design Guide
- Underwriters Laboratories: About Us
- Plastic Extrusion Technologies: What is ABS Material?