Can Indoor Ceiling Fans Be Used Outdoors?

Ceiling fans for indoors and outdoors

If you’re looking for a new way to decorate your home, a modern or contemporary ceiling fan could provide the perfect look. One of the issues that comes into play with this category is that the looks of an outdoor ceiling fan can be very different from the look of an indoor ceiling fan.

Many outdoor ceiling fans come with an “outdoorsy” theme. You’ll find palm leaves and other nature-driven shapes etched into the blades of the fan. Not everyone likes that type of look, so they look for other modern options.

In the outdoor category, if you don’t like a nature-driven look, then your other option tends to be an industrial look. Sharp, straight lines, gray colors, and high-performance designs combine to create the air movement you may need.

That look isn’t right for everyone either.

Many find themselves asking this question: can indoor ceiling fans be used outdoors? Unfortunately, the answer is usually, “No.”

Why Can’t Indoor Ceiling Fans Be Used Outdoors?

Indoor ceiling fans offer the traditional look with great consistency, but they aren’t rated for outdoor use. Most indoor ceiling fans aren’t even rated to be used in an environment with high humidity levels.

When shopping for the best ceiling fans, you’ll want to look for two rating options: damp and wet. Only wet-rated ceiling fans should be used outdoors, but damp-rated ceiling fans do have some outdoor use possibilities.

Damp locations are defined as being outdoors, but within a covered area. You would also want to install a damp-rated ceiling fan in a bedroom that has a bathroom next to it. Damp-rated ceiling fans can handle the moisture that comes into contact with them from humidity, including salt-tinged humidity, but are not rated to be in direct contact with water, snow, or other forms of precipitation.

When to Choose a Wet-Rated Ceiling Fan?

The #1 reason to purchase a wet-rated ceiling fan over a damp-rated model is that it requires less overall maintenance. All you need to do to clean a wet-rated ceiling fan is to spray it down with a hose. If you do spray it down to clean it, remember to turn the power off to the ceiling fan to prevent a potentially hazardous situation.

A damp-rated model needs regular cleaning like a traditional ceiling fan to prevent corrosion from occurring.

Here’s a pro tip: For wet-rated ceiling fans, car wax can give your metal parts a glossy finish.

A wet-rated ceiling fan should also be installed when there is the potential for rain or snow contact with the ceiling fan. The finish and assembly methods used to achieve this rating work to prevent corrosion from occurring.

Indoor ceiling fans have no protections at all. Any moisture contact could ruin the finish, damage the motor, and void your warranty on the product.

Indoor ceiling fans might have the right look, but they have the wrong rating. Look for damp or wet ratings on your ceiling fan so that you can have the outdoor installation you need.

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