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Are Outdoor Ceiling Fans Safe?

We all know how hot Rochester summers can be, and installing outdoor ceiling fans are a wonderful way to keep cool. Is there a better way to enjoy a beautiful spring or summer afternoon than by sitting outside on the porch with a glass of iced tea in hand and a cool breeze circulating through the air? We think not.

Many homeowners ask us if outdoor ceiling fans are safe. Like any electrical installation, hiring a trained professional electrician is your first step in installing outdoor fans safely. Here are a few other safety considerations:

Indoor Fans vs. Outdoor Fans

You may be wondering, “what are the differences between a fan that I might find in my living room compared to the fan I saw on my neighbors porch?” Well, there are in fact, plenty of differences as you might imagine.

For starters, fans fall into three main categories: UL Dry, UL Damp and UL Wet.

  • UL Dry Rating: these types of fans are intended for indoor use only. They shouldn’t be exposed to any sort of moisture and therefore, should definitely not be used outdoors. These are the types of fans commonly found in living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and basements.

  • UL Damp Rating: if you’re looking to put a fan outside, but in a covered area, this is the type of fan for you. They should not be directly exposed to water, rain or snow, but they will be able to handle moisture and the dampness that comes along with being outside. Think the carport, a covered patio or a screened-in porch.

  • UL Wet Rating: these fans can handle just about anything – ice, snow and intense rain are no match. Wet rating fans are perfect for exposed decks, verandas, gazebos and pergolas and can even handle harsh, salty breezes from the ocean.

So, are outdoor fans safe? Yes, they are safe, but it all depends on the rating and the intended use. Be sure to follow the guide above if you’re thinking about having a fan installed outside this season.