Selecting the Right Fan – Modern Fan Company



Selecting the Right Fan

When choosing a fan, we suggest selecting models and finish combinations which are most complimentary to your design intent. From our perspective, any product from our assortment is a great choice! However, for good measure and to help ensure your selections will meet your needs, we offer the following guidance:

Ceiling Height

The more space between the blades and the ceiling, the more effectively your fan will circulate and distribute air. However, building and safety codes require that the blades of a ceiling fan be at least 7-feet above the floor. Therefore, we recommend hanging your fan as far down from the ceiling as is visually appropriate, while maintaining this 7-foot blade clearance above the floor.

While many of our down rod suspended fans are sufficiently compact for low ceilings, we also have an assortment of flush mount fans which can further reduce the overall length of a particular model. Keep in mind that optional light kits may add incrementally to the overall length of a fan.

When planning for higher ceilings, one-third the distance to the floor is a reasonable guideline. For these applications, we offer a range of accessory down rods to achieve your desired drop from the ceiling. If necessary, down rods can be field-cut to achieve an exact hanging distance from the ceiling.

Note: the Halo, Lumina and 62” Torsion are intended for ceilings 9’ or higher.

Sloped Ceilings

All models that hang from a standard down rod use a ball-and-socket mechanism and allow for installation on ceiling slopes up to 33 degrees. When a ceiling pitch exceeds the 33 degree maximum, our #045 slope adapter can be used to accommodate slopes that exceed 33 degrees, up to 45 degrees. The Pensi fan and our Flush Mount models do not adapt to sloped ceilings and therefore, can only be installed on flat ceilings.

Blade Span

All Modern Fans are designed and constructed with attention to proportionality, aesthetic considerations and a commitment to superior performance. Blade span and airflow do not always have a linear relationship given the many variables from model to model, including: motor, blade angle and surface area, operational speeds, distance from the ceiling, rotor and blade weight, etc.

For example, when using the U.S. Department of Energy standardized test method, our 48” Velo DC fan moves more air than most of our 52” and 56” models. Be sure to review the Performance and Efficiency section of these Selection Guidelines. Blade span is only part of the overall performance outcome and should be balanced with the other characteristics you may be considering in choosing a fan.

Where we offer two blade spans for a given model, the choices are intended to provide alternatives for various sized rooms. In the case of our Ball and Altus families, 42” fans are recommended for rooms or areas that are 10’ x 10’ or smaller and for narrow spaces like hallways and corridors. The 62” Torsion, on the other hand, is available for larger areas where the 52” fans may not carry the same visual presence.

Smaller blade spans can sometimes help in working around architectural impediments (cabinet door swing radius, open truss structures, suspended lighting systems, etc.).

AC Motors vs. DC Motors

Modern Fan Co. products have been produced with reliable, quiet, premium-quality, shaded-pole AC motors for nearly three-decades. More recently, we have begun integrating permanent magnet, brushless DC motors into our assortment. In some cases, we have transitioned long-standing designs over to the DC motor platform. The primary benefits of our DC motors are:

•   Six speeds vs. three or four speeds
•   Reversibility from the control (wall or handheld remote) vs. manual reverse switch on the fan
•   Even quieter operation than our AC motors
•   Efficiency gains resulting in even lower energy consumption

Our DC motors require the use of a Modern Fan Co. control system. This includes a radio frequency receiver and micro-controller designed for standard 120V/60Hz AC input and the model specific DC output for proper operation of each DC fan. Selection of a wall control, remote control or combination wall/remote is determined at time of order.


All Modern Fan models utilize high efficiency LED solutions. The lumen output, color temperature and color rendering index for these solutions is detailed on each product page of our website. Most models are available with and without a lighting option, while a few models are designed around an integrated light source.

Our LED fan lights generally function well as a primary light source for a room, but may not be satisfactory as the only light source. This will depend on factors such as room size, wall/ceiling color and intended use of the space. A layered lighting approach is always the most effective strategy to properly light your space.


In order to operate your fan at various speeds and to operate the light (if present) independently of the fan, you will need to select an appropriate control. Modern Fan control selections are incorporated into the item number for a fan configuration at time of order.

Unless stated otherwise, all Modern Fan controls are designed and intended for operation of a single fan (or fan and light). Our #FC-009A and #FC-009B controls are available as accessory items for controlling multiple fans with AC motors; however, separate switches must be used for any lights associated with grouped fans. The #FC-009A and #FC-009B options are NOT compatible with our DC motor products.

We are required by law to include a proper control with all products. Models using our DC motor MUST be controlled with one of the options we provide and are not compatible with third party fan controls. Third party “fan controls” are generally compatible with our AC motor products. However, this does NOT include generic “dimmers” or rheostats intended for operation of light fixtures.

Should you have a questions or need guidance regarding unusual conditions, control compatibility or replacement of existing controls, please contact our customer support team for assistance.

Performance and Efficiency

Ceiling fan manufacturers are required by federal law to publish an EnergyGuide label for all models in a standardized format, including watts used, cubic feet of air moved per minute (CFM), a resulting CFM per watt efficiency value and an estimated annual cost to use the product. These values are “weighted averages” of high and low speed performance and are intended to represent typical use. They are based on results from a standardized test gathered in a controlled environment and are furnished to help consumers and specifiers compare products. Because the standardized test method and the EnergyGuide format has changed recently (with significant impacts on resulting data), be sure to only compare information which has been published based on current test methods and EnergyGuide label format. Many websites continue to provide “high speed” performance data instead of the new “weighted averages”, making for large discrepancies. Please contact our customer support team with questions about performance data.

It is also important to recognize that in a real world installation, there are a number of variables that can affect air movement patterns and volume, including ceiling height, room size/layout, furnishings and airflow direction. It can be challenging to rely on the reported EnergyGuide information alone to determine how the airflow will feel in a given application. Nevertheless, our EnergyGuide data shows that all Modern Fan products perform at the upper range of fans on the market. Following our Fan Selection Guidelines will help to maximize the performance of your fan.

Furthermore, while DC motor fans are reaching new levels of efficiency, it’s important to remember that all ceiling fans (AC or DC motors) are inherently efficient and use very little electricity to begin with, particularly when used to offset or reduce reliance on traditional air conditioning.

Damp Locations

All Modern Fan products are rated and marked as “Suitable for Damp Location.” This is specifically an electrical safety rating and designation. A damp rating does not address finish durability, nor does it ensure against oxidation or corrosion in exposed locations. While you can expect years of trouble-free performance when installed in covered outdoor applications or humid, coastal environments, the degree to which the appearance of a fan may be impacted by the environment will vary widely. The intensity and nature of exposure that a fan will encounter in a given application will directly affect the longevity of its finish and the manner in which it may weather or deteriorate over time. We encourage you to closely consider these factors when selecting fans for use in damp locations.

The best defense against corrosion and oxidation is a diligent maintenance program, initiated immediately after product installation, at a frequency necessary to avoid salt deposits on fan surface(s). In certain climates, owners have applied automotive waxes or other protective coatings as a measure against conditions known to be harsh and/or corrosive. While we cannot authorize or recommend any specific products or treatments, familiarity with local conditions and effective strategies to protect against the elements are worth evaluation.

An additional consideration is blade construction, as plywood may be subject to warping and/or de-lamination over time. While fan blades are easily replaceable when necessary, our injection molded ABS blades supplied with the IC/Air2, IC/Air3, Velo, Velo Flush and Pensi fans will generally outlast the plywood blades supplied with other models in our assortment.

Modern Fan Co. products are not rated, nor intended for use in applications classified as Wet Location.