Ceiling Fan Maintenance

Ceiling fans are a great way to cool the air and ensure a comfortable environment. Here are tips for their maintenance.

If your electric bill is so high that you decide to forego using the air conditioner, you may decide to use ceiling fans instead. Installed properly, a ceiling fan can move stale, warm air to create a cool, comfortable environment in any room of your home. Here are a few tips for their use and care:

1. Get the right size of ceiling fan for each room. One that is too small will not do the job it should. And an overly large ceiling fan will blow dust everywhere. Ask your home supply store attendant about the best fit for a given room space. Then be sure it is installed properly to avoid the risk of uneven blades or dislodged screws that can let the entire assembly fall or break.

2. Turn off the fan when the room is not in use. There is no reason to keep it running when no one is around to enjoy the cool air. Using a fan continuously will wear out the motor sooner, thus requiring replacement parts or an entire assembly, not to mention installation costs. Use the fan only when it is truly needed, and only when someone is there to benefit from it.

3. Inspect the fan each year. Turn it off first, then gently lift up and down on each blade to ensure they are firmly attached. If the assembly includes a light fixture, check the glass bulbs for cracks or chips. Then look at the light bulbs and pull easily on the light or fan's dangling strings, if any. Firmly secure any loose parts or replace those that are broken or not working as they should. If you notice any shorts in the electrical system, or a blinking light in the assembly, call an electrician to check it out.

4. Clean the fans every month or two. Turn off the fan and its light. Climb on a steady ladder or chair and use a clean, dry cloth to wipe both top and bottom of each blade. Next, wipe the base of the fan, turning the cloth over as dust accumulates. Gently wipe dust from the glass light covers, or remove these for washing if this is feasible. Replace burned out light bulbs and loose pull strings if necessary.

5. Dust the areas surrounding the ceiling fan. Fans attract and blow a lot of dust that will settle on nearby walls, appliances, and even the ceiling. Be prepared to use a damp cloth, depending on the surface that needs to be wiped, and remove all collected debris. In the kitchen, a ceiling fan's dust may mix with grease to create dark fuzz that clings to wall areas. A damp cloth may not be enough to remove this combination. Check cleaning solutions to find one that will work best for painted or wallpapered walls or appliance surfaces.

Ceiling fans are both attractive and functional. Visit your local home supply or lighting store to check out the latest models for possible installation in your home. Then remember to do the maintenance that will be required to keep them working well.

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