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  1. #1
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    I have a 25' cathedral ceiling and am trying to figure out the best strategy for adding ceiling fans to aid in winter heating. This isn't a question about mounts - I have a rough idea of the different mount options to put the fans either directly at the apex or on the angled ceiling.

    Rather, here's what I'm struggling with: at 25', the longest fan extension I've come across doesn't get the fan to the "ideal" of 8-9' above the floor. Plus, having a super-long extension sounds as if it might look ugly.

    I can also consider the option of adding fans to both sides of the angled ceiling. If I did that I could easily get the fan to the desired height. For symmetry, I'd probably want to put in two fans: one on either side.

    My question has to do with the efficiency of one approach versus the other. My understanding is that for winter purposes, you draw the air up and push towards the ceiling in order to promote circulation. If I have two fans at equal spots on either side of the apex, will I somehow impact the circulation? Will the air going up from each cancel out the effect of recirculating the air back down?

    Alternatively, if I go with the single apex-based mount, how much efficiency do I lose by having the fan be more like 15' off the ground rather than the recommended 8-9'?

    Are there alternate ways to think about the problem?

    Thanks for any advice,
    jtf

  2. #2
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    Jan 2009
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    Needham, MA
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    this is only an opinion based on past experiences, not fact. i've done many many cieling fan installations on cathederal ceilings inside houses and on exterior covered porches. what i've determined is that the temperature is significantly greater up high, hot air really does rise alot. by installing a ceiling fan at the highest point and having the fan spin either way it greatly affects the amount of heat pushed down via circulating the air. my guess, and i might be wrong, would be to install the fan at the top and push the warm air down to the living space. i highly doubt that installing two fans would impede air cuirculation, anything would help. perhaps installing two fans on either side of the slope with one pushing the air up and the other pushing down might work well. sorry i don't have a definitive answer for you but i do know that anything will help in warming the room up.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    I agree with MLBSF, keep the fans in the high area and blow the hot air off the ceiling. In my experience, it matters not which way the fan turns, the hot air will be evacuated down to the living space. The major difference is going to be whether or not you feel a draft, which is why you go up in the winter and down in the summer.

    I would make sure to install the fans either on dimmers to control fan speed, or get the fancy ones with the multi-switch to control speed, direction, and lighting. Some fans have a remote control, for what it's worth, can't tell you how long the remote will last, mine made it about a year before it gave out.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    I agree with MLBSF, keep the fans in the high area and blow the hot air off the ceiling. In my experience, it matters not which way the fan turns, the hot air will be evacuated down to the living space. The major difference is going to be whether or not you feel a draft, which is why you go up in the winter and down in the summer.

    I would make sure to install the fans either on dimmers to control fan speed, or get the fancy ones with the multi-switch to control speed, direction, and lighting. Some fans have a remote control, for what it's worth, can't tell you how long the remote will last, mine made it about a year before it gave out.
    Sprucey must've suffered a brain fart. I'd expect him to know that dimmers and speed controls are not the same! Never connect a motor to a dimmer intended for lighting. Although I've heard the term fan dimmer referring to a speed control, such a device should not be confused with a lighting dimmer.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    Sprucey must've suffered a brain fart. I'd expect him to know that dimmers and speed controls are not the same! Never connect a motor to a dimmer intended for lighting. Although I've heard the term fan dimmer referring to a speed control, such a device should not be confused with a lighting dimmer.
    You're right, brain fart ...I'm feeling MUCH better now ...
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    Thanks for the replies - they are very helpful.

    If you'll indulge a second question: going across the length of the room, on both sides of the room, I have a large exposed beam (probably 4" wide by 12" tall). As I contemplated the space last night with your suggestions in mind, it occurred to me that it might be vastly less expensive to mount the fans to those beams rather than having to get behind the vaulted ceiling (tricky at best).

    I think it would be easy enough to install electrical conduit to get ***** there. If possible, I think it would make more sense to install the fans against the long side of the beam (the 12" side).

    However, that means that the mount would be at a right-angle to the floor... I've seen angled ceiling fan mounts, but I haven't come across a 90-degree mount for mounting against a flat surface that is perpendicular to the ground.

    Any ideas on whether this is easily accomplished?

    Thanks again,
    jtf
    I've never seen a ceiling

  7. #7
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    Jun 2010
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    93

    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    The use of a ceiling fan is really a myth to energy savings or saving fuel dollars.

    Laws of physics. Hot Air rises cold air falls. Your just increasing the rate of convection which increases infiltration. This increases the rooms heat loss and or any adjoining rooms.

    I'm going to assume you have forced hot air and a stacked ceiling with about 80-90 degree temp and want to move it to the floor where you and your family spend all your time.

    Where is the thermostat in relation to this room? Will you starve or overheat any other rooms due to either satisfying or not satisfying this thermostat?
    Last edited by hvhehcca; 01-05-2011 at 07:35 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    The thermostat is on the first floor, so 25' from the hot air that rises up to the top of the ceiling. There is no myth. If I can bring some of that hot air back down to the first floor, the thermostat will register a higher temperature and therefore won't turn on as often, thereby using less heat.

    We are talking about a single great-room with 25' ceilings. The other rooms in the house are typically hotter than the thermostat is set to, because the thermostat keeps trying to keep the heat at the level we want it in the great room (where all the hot air rises). By bringing some of that heat back down, the space where we spend time in the great room will be warmer, and yes, with the thermostat not turning on forced air as often, those other rooms that get overly hot will also reduce in temperature, to the temperature that we want in there.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    The myth is energy savings. Yes moving the air will make you more comfortable but will also cause your heating plant to short cycling which reduces its efficiency. Your also moving cooler air to the floor not hotter air. Your also increasing the infiltration which increases heatloss.

    I agree with you that it will increase your comfort in the room just don't expect considerable or any fuel savings.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ceiling fan(s) in cathedral ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by hvhehcca View Post
    The myth is energy savings. Yes moving the air will make you more comfortable but will also cause your heating plant to short cycling which reduces its efficiency. Your also moving cooler air to the floor not hotter air. Your also increasing the infiltration which increases heatloss.

    I agree with you that it will increase your comfort in the room just don't expect considerable or any fuel savings.
    And you have some sort of recognized energy study proving this? I'm not saying that you're wrong, but it doesn't make sense when the less time the furnace runs to heat a given space, the less energy it is going to use to do it.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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