Got a low ceiling but also want the cooling effect of a ceiling fan? You might run into some problems. What’s the minimum and ideal height to mount a ceiling fan at? Here’s what you want to know.
In many places, it’s against building codes to mount a ceiling fan with the blades below 7’ and/or mount a ceiling fan on a ceiling 8’ or lower. Having the blades at 8’-9’ from the floor is ideal and strikes a balance between cooling, air circulation and safety.
Why is this the case and should you care about any of this? Keep reading to find out.
What’s The Minimum Height To Mount a Ceiling Fan?
The minimum height you should mount a ceiling fan at is mostly dependent on safety.
According to the building code, it’s not legal to mount a ceiling fan with the blades below 7’ from the floor. It’s also against the building code to mount a ceiling fan on ceilings 8’ or lower.
With the blades at a minimum of 7’ from the floor, you keep the spinning blades free of anyones head while standing up. The last thing you want is to get hit in the head by a spinning ceiling fan. They can be dangerous in that way and they can hit pretty hard.
Of course you mount a ceiling fan at any height you want in your own house. It’s not like you need to get a license and it’s unlikely someone is going to check unless you sell the place. However, it makes sense to not mount a ceiling fan at a height where you can’t hit it by simply standing up. And also take any potential guests into account. You might not be 6’8 tall but you might befriend some NBA players, who knows?
There should be no chance for anyone to hit the fan by simply standing up and about 7’ is about the minimum height to make sure that never happens.
And 7’ is really the minimum. How often do you stand up and stretch out a little? It’s not uncommon. If you’re 6’ tall and stretch out without thinking, you can easily get your hand at 7’ height without even trying very much.
What’s the ideal height to mount a ceiling fan?
About 6.5’ might be the minimum height to mount a ceiling fan at, that doesn’t mean that’s the ideal height. But what is the ideal height?
In general, the best height to mount a ceiling fan is at 8’ to 9’ from the floor. That means the distance from the floor to the bottom of the blades is 8’ to 9’. That actually means the mounting point of the fan is a little higher.
This is the perfect height because it strikes the right balance between airflow and clearance. If the fan blades are too low, you have the chance to catch something in the spinning blades. The tip of a ceiling fan spinning at the highest setting is actually moving pretty quick. Fast enough to seriously hurt you when hit.
So that means you don’t want it to be too low for safety reasons. However, higher isn’t always better. The airflow slows down with distance. That means if the blades are too far away from the floor, you lose air speed and thus flow. The flow will disperse over a larger area so it’s not completely lost. You’ll still get some air circulation benefits but less direct cooling effects.
A ceiling fan cools you down by moving cooler air over your skin through the wind-chill effect. By losing air speed at ‘people’ height, you lose some of the cooling effects. To compensate for this you could run the fan at a higher speed but that takes more electricity and creates more noise.
If your ceilings are much taller than 9’, that’s not a problem. Most ceiling fans have downrods. This is the little rod that goes from the mounting point to the blade assembly. These rods come in different lengths. Most ceiling fans come with one downrod. However, for many (but not all) ceiling fans, manufacturers make different length downrods. Some up to four feet long. That means you can have the blades at 8’ height even if you’ve got 12’ high ceilings.
Of course if you mainly care about the air circulation in a room and less about the direct cooling effect, mounting the fans higher is fine.
Recommended Ceiling Fans For Low Ceilings
Let’s say you’ve got a 8’ high ceilings. What are your best options? Obviously there isn’t much space to keep the blades above 7’ from the floor. So can we find any ceiling fans that only measure 12” from the ceiling to the bottom of the blades? There aren’t many but you’ve got a few options.
Remember the ceiling fan downrods I mentioned above? Actually not all ceiling fans have those. There are fans that are built without them. This obviously saves a lot of height. These fans are called hugger, flush mount or low profile fans. You can use those search terms to find the correct type of fan. Most of those fans will be low profile enough to use on 8’ high ceilings.
Here are some good examples.
This fan is affordable and complete with light kit. The bottom of the light kit is 13.5” from the ceiling so that’s actually a little too low. However, the fan blades are a good few inches above the bottom of the light kit so they’re high enough. The light kit doesn’t have to be used and the fan comes with a cover to cover up the hole that’s meant for the light.
It looks like a classic ceiling fan which might not be everyones taste but it’s also not offensive. It’s 52” in diameter which is a good size for most rooms. It’ll produce enough airflow for a good size bedroom or smaller living room.
Hunter Low Profile IV
An even more affordable option is this Hunter model. The bottom of the fan blades is only 7.53” from the ceiling which is one of the most low profile fans you are going to find. This leaves more than 7’ of headroom on a 8’ ceiling.
It doesn’t come with a light kit but this does save a bit extra space. It’s only 42” in diameter and produces about 2300 CFM on the highest setting. This is enough for smaller rooms that are 200 sq. ft. Or less.
Casa Vieja Spyder
Need something a little bigger? This 60” fan is plenty big for most living rooms. The bottom of the fan comes down 11.5” from the ceiling which is just within the limits of a 8’ ceiling. It has a simple and inoffensive design which works in most interiors.
It produces up to 4300 CFM which is enough for up to about 450 sq. ft. spaces.