Can An Indoor Ceiling Fan Be Used Outdoors? Why (Not)?

Does your home contain a patio, porch, sunroom, garage, or deck with partial or complete exposure to the elements? These places can become hot and a ceiling fan is a perfect solution to get a little breeze but do you need an outdoor or indoor model for this place? Here is what you should know.

You should not install ceiling fans made for indoor use, outdoors. However, some ceiling fans are manufactured moisture-proof to use in outdoors. If you want a ceiling fan to use outdoors, you need to ensure that it is damp or wet-rated. These fans are made to hold against the elements, like water and heat.

You should consider the installation of a dry-rate ceiling fan in spaces that are not exposed to moisture including bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms to ventilate them properly. This guide will focus on these three ratings, what they mean and how to use them when getting an outdoor-use ceiling fan

Why Can’t an Indoor Fan Be Used Outdoors?

It is highly not recommended to use a dry-rated fan in exposed or outdoor areas and could even be dangerous. A dry-rated fan is at a high risk of heat and water damage, rust, and wear—and more importantly, will not last too long. In the worst case, exposed electrical components not best for outdoor use could increase risk of a severe fire hazard. 

Safety organization Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, introduced a three-level rating system for ceiling fans that determines their level of exposure resistance: Dry, Damp and Wet ratings. All three types of fans can be used indoors, dry-rated fans should be installed in an indoor area where there is hardly any exposure to moisture.

Dry-rated fans are designed from furniture-quality wood and gives preference to style, design, and convenience over durability and strength. The lighting fixtures are also added and also often features advanced electronic options such as wireless remote and smart features.

These units will be perfect for enclosed spaces like foyers, dens, bedrooms, and living rooms. You can also use these fans in kitchens and basements, ensuring that they are finished and sealed. You will have to check damp and wet-rated fans for areas that come across occasional or prolonged exposure to the elements, especially water.

What Kind of Ceiling Fans Should Be Used Outdoors?

Wet or damp-rated ceiling fans should be used outdoors for spaces that are partially or fully exposed to the elements. Damp and wet-rated fans can also be used indoors including kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements and it all depends on their ventilation.

Damp-Rated Fans

The middle ground between wet and dry-rate fans are damp-rated fans. they are ideal for enclosed areas that can get light moisture. These areas are bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages and unfinished basements, but they can be installed in partially outdoor spaces such as patio and screened porches.

Damp-rated fans do not give much preference to design and convenience, but you may see a few styles and features from which to choose. The material used in them will not be as high-quality as a dry-rated fan, but the durability, efficiency and cooling power will cover this.

Recommended: Do I need an outdoor rated ceiling fan for a covered patio?

Wet-Rated Fans

Wet-rated fans are heavy-duty units that are made to get full exposure to heat, cold, rain, snow etc. They can stand against direct contact with the elements preventing the risk of fire or damage, as they are designed with waterproof material to protect the internal parts. 

You can install these fans indoors too, but there is a very low chance that you find any that match your interior décor! The built of these units is from heavy industrial materials such as plastic and metal. They will also give any fancy bells or whistles.

However, you will see that wet-rated fans are the sturdiest and most durable unit to consider for outdoor locations like gazebos, patios, open decks and porches. The cleaning of them is also very easy and can be sprayed down with a water hose. Their internal components are also the strongest and will provide you cool breeze in the summer season. Wet-rated fans are perfect for outdoor use.

Recommended: Can outdoor ceiling fans be exposed to rain?

Tips for Installing a Fan Outdoors

Have you selected your fan? Do you want to install it and ready for it? Before you get started, I recommend go through the instruction manual came with your fan for specific and detailed instructions, you need to go through the preparatory steps first to get started with it.

Sort Out the Electrical Wiring

The ceiling fan mounting to the ceiling and switch it on is not very easy. You have to go through the wiring, connect your fan to electrical wiring of the house to start the fan. Before you begin the electrical work, ensure that you have switched off the power to house. If you are not familiar with it, be sure to contact an electrician.

Recommended: Does a ceiling fan with remote need a wall switch?

Consider a Downrod

You can attach a down rod of a ceiling fan from the motor to the fan housing, to extend its length between the fan blades and the ceiling. It has a lot of benefits such as increased stability, less wobble, and more efficient airflow etc.

The length of the downrod will depend on your unit and the height of your ceiling. However, just remember that ideally it should be 10 inches between the ceiling and the fan blades.

Ensure the Fan Spins Counterclockwise

Make sure that the installation of the fan and blades is in the right direction: when the fan spins counterclockwise, it will push down the air towards you, to provide maximum cool air. A fan that turns clockwise will give rise to the airflow and ensure the cooling power but not in an efficient manner.

In addition, you should use the instruction manual of the fan to find out that you are attaching the blades in the right direction. This consultation will also make sure that the air is pushed towards you instead of pulled away.

Final Words

It is not easy to finding a fan ideal for outdoor use as picking the first one you see, or even the fan that is compatible with the color and style of your space. You have toensure that you select a fan rated for damp or wet environments. I hope that this guide has given you the necessary knowledge in order to make a decision on what ceiling fan to install on your outdoor porch or patio.

Leave a Comment