How to Choose a Modern Fan

Architecture & Interiors

How to select the right ceiling fan…


In addition to style and design, there are several other considerations to make when selecting a modern fan.

Ceiling Height:

The more space between the blades and the ceiling, the more effectively your fan will circulate and distribute air. However, building codes require that the blades of a ceiling fan be at least 7 feet above the floor. Generally, we recommend hanging the fan as far down from the ceiling as is visually appropriate, while maintaining the 7-foot blade clearance above the floor. When dealing with higher ceilings, one-third the distance to the floor is a good guideline. We generally recommend one of our hugger models for 8-foot ceilings. Keep in mind that optional light kits may add several inches to the overall length of the fan.

For example, some of the blades on Modern Fan models (Nimbus, Pharos, Halo and Cloud) are positioned at the top of the fan body. When hung with the shortest down rods, the blades on these models are very close to the ceiling, reducing the volume of air movement. Consequently, these models are best suited for ceiling heights that can accommodate use of a slightly longer down rod.

Blade Diameter:

In nearly all cases, a 52-inch blade span is the most appropriate selection. A 42-inch blade span should be reserved for smaller rooms or narrow spaces (10 foot by 10 foot and smaller), or when airflow to the area above the blades is
blocked or restricted by architectural elements (beams, walls, cabinetry, etc.). Occasionally two 42-inch fans may be a desirable alternative to one 52-inch fan. Smaller fans are available with a 36-inch blade span for exceptionally small or narrow spaces. See: Altus and Cirrus models for an example.


Most Modern Fans are available with a choice of standard incandescent or energy-saving compact fluorescent lamping. Our CFLs provide 75% energy savings and lamp life up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. While
dependable for well-balanced, warm light, keep in mind that most CFLs are not dimmable.

Fan lights generally function well as a primary light source for a space, but may not be satisfactory as the only light source in a room. This will depend on factors such as room size, wall/ceiling color and intended use of the space. Be
sure to evaluate the wattage listed for each fan light and the amount of light your space requires.



Many Modern Fans do not use pull chains. Therefore, in order to operate your fan at different speeds and switch the light independently of the fan, you need to select the appropriate control. Please refer to the controls section of the fan catalog or manufacturer web site for more information.

Typically, any control ordered with a fan that has been configured with an energy-saving CFL will be supplied in a
non-dimming version. Unless stated otherwise, controls are designed and intended for operation of a single fan or fan and light. Some fans are available for controlling multiple fans, however separate switching must be planned for any lights associated with grouped fans.

Whatever controls are used, it is critical that the products are operated with fan speed controls and not generic dimmers or rheostats. Dimmers and rheostats intended for operation of light fixtures will cause motor noise and may shorten the life of the fan motor, voiding the warranty from most manufacturers.

Damp Locations:

Not all fans are suitable for damp locations and most are not suitable for wet locations. Make sure to determine your climate and check with the catalog or web site prior to ordering the fan fitting these descriptions. While you can expect years of trouble-free performance from fans suitable for damp locations, when installed in humid or coastal environments, the degree to which the appearance of a fan may be impacted by the environment will vary widely. A fan’s specific finishing process, as well as the intensity and nature of exposure that it will encounter in a given application will directly affect longevity of its finish and appearance.

You should closely consider these factors when selecting fans for use in damp locations:

Brushed Aluminum and Galvanized finishes will typically outlast all other fans. These surfaces will not rust or peel, however, they will weather as a result of oxidization and exposure to salt or other corrosive conditions.

Bright Nickel and Matte Nickel finishes are also well-suited for exposure to reasonable conditions, but may show signs of weathering more quickly and visibly.

Coated Finishes (Gloss White, Titanium, Textured Nickel, Gloss Nickel) may be subject to peeling over time when exposed to sun, salt, and/or other corrosive conditions.

An additional consideration is blade construction….

Over time, plywood is subject to warping and/or de-lamination. While fan blades are easily replaceable when necessary, injection-molded, plastic blades supplied with fans will generally outlast plywood blades. See the Velo, Velo Hugger and Pensi as examples. 

Using this example of "Modern Fan", all but three Modern Fan models (Aurora, Aurora Hugger and Lapa) are rated and marked as “Suitable for Damp Locations”. Note: Modern Fans are not rated, nor intended for use in applications classified as Wet Location.


Sloped Ceilings:

Not all ceilings are flat of course, so you have to make sure that you select a fan that can accommodate your ceiling slope. Make sure you check with the manufacturer or sales person regarding fans and adapters that will accomplish your goal. Otherwise, you will be installing and uninstalling soon enough.

As an example, the Eclipse and Stratos fans from Modern Fan, require use of an optional adapter (#SAE or #SAS) for sloped ceilings and will accommodate slopes up to 31 degrees. While the Pensi fan and all Hugger models do not adapt to slope ceilings. The #LHK Hugger Kit (for the Lapa) is intended for flat ceilings only.

All other Modern Fan models hang from a ball and socket mechanism that allows for installation on ceiling slopes up to 33 degrees. The #045 slope adapter can be used for ceiling slopes that exceed 33 degrees and up to 45 degrees.

Best of Luck!

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