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Choosing the Right Ceiling Fan with Lights: 10 Factors to Consider for Singaporean Homes (2023)
Ceiling fans are a great alternative to air conditioners when it comes to cooling our homes. It brings much-needed respite from the hot and humid weather in Singapore, while also being more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
In this article, we will explore ten essential factors that will help you choose the perfect ceiling fan with lights for your needs.
Why Should You Get a Ceiling Fan?
Better Circulation of Air
Firstly, compared to standing fans, ceiling fans provide better air circulation and cover a wider area of your home space.
By having a ceiling fan above and positioned at the centre of the ceiling, everyone in the room can feel the constant cool gust of air. With standing fans, the airflow will be inconsistent unless it is constantly blowing in one direction.
However, unlike air conditioners, ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature of a room. What it does is it creates a wind-chill effect by circulating the air in the room and dispersing pockets of stagnant hot air.
This air circulation creates breezes of air that help the moisture on our skin to evaporate faster, thereby removing some heat from our bodies and making us feel cooler.
Child and Pet-Friendly
Ceiling fans are safer than standing fans, especially in homes with children or pets as ceiling fans are out of their reach.
The curious nature of young children may lead them to play around with furniture like standing fans. For instance, they could stick their fingers into the rotating blades of standing fans while in operation.
They may also trip over the standing fan’s power cords that snake around the floor.
Pets, on the other hand, may jump on the standing fan or play with the cords, possibly damaging the fan in the process.
With ceiling fans, households have more space to place other types of furniture or have a more clutter-free home environment to relax in.
This is especially important in HDB flats where space constraints are a concern. Ceiling fans help to maximise space.
1. How Many Blades on a Ceiling Fan Make the Best Airflow?
There is a common misconception that more blades on a ceiling fan generally translate to better air circulation and airflow generated.
While the number of blades is a potential factor for air circulation, there are no major differences between 3, 4 or 5-bladed fans. The airflow generated by a fan is influenced by many factors like blade pitch (i.e. angle of the blade parallel to the horizontal ground), motor power, and overall fan design.
That said, more blades equate to larger surface area coverage and this can potentially enhance airflow.
However, according to physics, more blades also lead to more drag which is the resistance encountered when the blades move through the air.
This is a result of the increased surface area coverage encountering resistance.
The increased drag reduces the energy efficiency of the ceiling fan which limits its ability to effectively circulate air in the room.
Thus, more drag leads to higher energy consumption as the motor requires more energy to overcome the air resistance and continue rotating at high speeds. This leads to increased electricity costs.
Overall, the airflow generation and energy efficiency of a ceiling fan are affected by a combination of factors and the number of blades is just one of them.
2. Why Does Blade Material Matter?
The blade material affects the lifespan and maintenance requirements of ceiling fans.
Some of the most common materials for fan blades are plastic (ABS), timber, and metal.
ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and it is essentially a type of thermoplastic that is highly malleable. This allows for the ABS plastic to be shaped into different shapes to achieve optimal airflow, and new, innovative designs.
ABS is also much lighter than timber and metal fan blades, resulting in improved energy efficiency.
PRISM+ Oasis ceiling fan blades are made of premium ABS
Timber blades are typically designed for indoor use and are valued for their aesthetic appeal. However, timber does not bode well in hot and humid climates as the high levels of moisture in the air can be absorbed by the timber fan blades, causing it to swell and distort its shape.
Furthermore, high levels of moisture in the air create an ideal environment for mould growth. Hence, timber fan blades require proper and regular maintenance to preserve their lifespan.
Metal blades are more common in older fan models and continue to be a popular option. Metal blades have been proven to be durable and require minimal maintenance compared to timber blades.
The table below provides a summary of the difference between ABS, timber, and metal blades:
|Durability||Durable and resistant||Can be prone to swelling||Generally durable and resistant|
|Maintenance||Easy to clean and low maintenance||Requires periodic maintenance and sealing||Easy to clean and low maintenance|
|Weight||Lightweight||Moderate||Moderate to heavy weight|
|Moisture Resistance||Good||Poor to moderate||Generally good|
|Costs||Typically more affordable compared to timber or metal blades||Vary according to the type of wood used||Vary according to the type of metal used|
3. What Ceiling Fan Size Should I Get?
Fan sizes are measured by the distance between the edges of the fan blades or the diameter of the circle of rotation.
Now that you know how fan sizes are measured, what size is good for your room?
This depends on the size of your room. If you’re planning to install a ceiling fan in the living room, you should opt for a larger ceiling fan. If you’re looking for one to install for the bedroom, a smaller ceiling fan may be ideal to ensure that the blades are not too close to the walls of the room.
Brands and manufacturers will usually inform you of the minimum distance from the walls and ceiling for ceiling fans to create the best air circulation possible.
For instance, for the 46-inch PRISM+ Oasis ceiling fan, there is a minimum requirement of 21cm from the ceiling and a minimum of 60cm clearance from the side walls or furniture.
[Note: Larger ceiling fans would require a higher minimum clearance from the walls to the fan blades.]
4. Where to Position the Ceiling Fan?
In addition to the minimum clearance from the walls and ceilings, you should consider the size of the room. As mentioned earlier, bigger rooms usually need larger ceiling fans, and vice versa.
For living rooms, consider where the sofa is located and where people spend most of their time. Having the ceiling fan directly above the sofa area would be a good place to position the fan as those on the sofa would experience the best airflow and air circulation.
For bedrooms, consider if you would prefer to have the fan directly above the bed so that you have the best airflow while sleeping. However, as the airflow directly blows into your face, this may also lead to drier mouths when waking up in the morning!
For a rough guide on room sizes and fan sizes, refer to the table below:
|Room Size (square metres)||Recommended Ceiling Fan Size (inches)||Recommended Airflow (Cubic Feet per Minute)|
|Small (up to 9 m2)||36 - 42”||1000 - 3000 CFM|
|Medium (9 - 20 m2)||42 - 52”||2000 - 5000 CFM|
|Large (20 - 35 m2)||52 - 60”||4000 - 7000 CFM|
[Note: The recommendations in the table above are approximations and vary depending on factors like ceiling height, room layout and personal preferences.]
Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM) is a unit of measurement indicating the volume of air moved by the fan per minute.
5. Minimum Height Clearance for Ceiling Fan
For ceiling fans to work effectively, the distance between the fan and the floor should be somewhere between 2.4 to 3 metres but this is also highly dependent on the size of the room, ceiling fan size, and the overall design of the ceiling fan.
On the other hand, the clearance height of the ceiling fan (i.e. the distance between the fan blade and the floor) for HDB flats needs to be at least 2.4m from the floor level for safety reasons.
[Note: According to HDB, the maximum weight limit for any ceiling fan is 35kg regardless of the size.]
6. Should I Get a Ceiling Fan with Lights?
The standard version of the PRISM+ Oasis Ceiling Fan
Whether or not you should get a ceiling fan with lights is down to personal preference.
Ceiling fans with lights can be a convenient option for HDB homes where the rooms are small. With the fan and lights combined into one unit, you no longer have to worry about insufficient ceiling space to install both ceiling lights and fans separately.
If you’re planning to purchase ceiling fans with lights, we recommend getting those with LED lights for the reasons below:
- Energy-efficiency: LED lights are more energy efficient compared to traditional fluorescent lighting options and this translates into reduced electricity consumption.
- Longevity: LED light bulbs have a significantly longer lifespan compared to traditional lighting options. This equates to fewer bulb changes, effort, time, and money spent on maintenance.
- Cost Savings: The high energy efficiency and longevity of LED light bulbs lead to cost savings in the long run. While LED lights may incur a higher cost at the beginning, long-term savings make them a cost-effective choice.
7. AC vs DC Motors: What is the Difference?
When it comes to ceiling fans, you’ll be forced to choose between AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) motors.
In AC, the flow of electrical charge periodically changes direction while in DC, the flow of electrical charge is unidirectional (i.e. flows in one direction).
The main benefit of ceiling fans with a DC motor is that DC motors consume up to 70 per cent less energy than AC motors. Thus, although DC motors are more expensive upfront, the long-term energy savings would even out with daily use.
For a quick summary of the differences between AC and DC motors:
|Motor Type||AC (Alternating Current)||DC (Direct Current)|
|Energy Efficiency||Inferior to DC||Better|
|Speed Control||Generally limited options||Generally wider range of options|
|Reverse Mode Function||Some models may not have a reverse function||Usually has reverse function|
|Noise Level||Can produce more noise||Typically quieter operation|
|Size||Tends to be slightly bigger||Tends to be sleek and compact|
[Note: The PRISM+ Oasis ceiling fan runs on a DC brushless motor.]
8. Smart Fan vs Standard Fan
Smart fans typically cost more than standard fans. While this may drive people away, there are numerous reasons why a smart ceiling fan is better.
Smart ceiling fans differentiate themselves from standard ceiling fans with their array of features and convenience.
Take the PRISM+ Oasis Smart ceiling fan as an example:
PRISM+ Connect - Smart Home App:
You can easily control the brightness, and fan speed, or select the mode of air circulation all within the app on your smartphone.
Next, smart ceiling fans with lights also usually have different modes available.
For the PRISM+ Oasis smart ceiling fan, these modes are reverse, natural, and sleep mode.
[Note: The reverse mode is available on both the Smart and Standard models of the PRISM+ Oasis ceiling fan with lights]
Pairing with Google Assistant:
Depending on the manufacturer, smart ceiling fans can also be integrated into your Smart home interfaces like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. This allows you to control the ceiling fan with just your voice commands.
The PRISM+ Oasis Smart model is compatible with Google Assistant.
Example of how ceiling fans are controlled with voice commands:
9. Installation Costs
The installation costs defer based on the complexity of the installation and where you intend to have the ceiling fan installed.
Different manufacturers and brands charge different prices for installation.
The table below shows the different prices charged by PRISM+ for the various installation types:
|Installation Type||Details (summarised)||Price per fan (SGD)|
|Standard installation||Installing on the normal concrete ceiling below 3m||$50|
|False ceiling with wood||Installers are required to open hole in false ceiling and secure the fan to firm the wooden structure||$110|
|False ceiling with metal rod||Installers are required to open hole in false ceiling and secure the fan to a metal rod||$130|
|Installation above 3m, below 4m||Requires installation at heights above 3 metres and below 4 metres||$70|
For more details on the full list of installation prices, click here.
10. CPSO Safety Guidelines for Ceiling Fans
What is the CPSO?
When buying a ceiling fan, look for the SAFETY mark. The SAFETY mark is an indication that the product has been tested and certified that it complies with safety standards.
[Note: The PRISM+ Oasis ceiling fan is certified with the SAFETY mark by CPSO.]
Image from CPSO Ceiling Fan Guidelines
Image from CPSO Ceiling Fan Guidelines
In conclusion, ceiling fans are a great choice for keeping cool and creating a comfortable environment in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.
They provide excellent air circulation, are cost-effective and serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to air conditioners.
Nonetheless, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing a ceiling fan with lights for your home.
Can a ceiling fan replace an air conditioner in Singapore?
While a ceiling fan can provide cooling and comfort, it may not be sufficient to replace an air conditioner entirely, especially during the hottest months in Singapore.
Are ceiling fans with lights more expensive than regular ceiling fans?
Ceiling fans with lights may have a slightly higher price tag due to the added lighting feature. However, the price difference is often reasonable and worth the convenience.
Can I install a ceiling fan with lights myself, or should I hire a professional?
If you have experience with electrical installations and feel confident, you can install a ceiling fan with lights yourself. However, it's always recommended to hire a professional electrician for safety and proper installation.
How can I control the speed of my ceiling fan?
Most ceiling fans come with a remote control or wall-mounted control panel that allows you to adjust the fan speed and other settings conveniently.
Do ceiling fans with lights have dimming options?
Yes, many ceiling fans with lights offer dimming options. Check the product specifications or consult with the retailer to ensure the fan you choose has the desired lighting control features.