Which Length Downrod Do You Need For Your Ceiling?

Most ceiling fans are packed with a downrod but they are changeable. What is the reason for this and which downrod length is suitable for your situation? Let’s get started to know about it.

The down rod of a ceiling fan must be of the correct length so it allows the blades of the fan to hang at minimum of 7’ but ideally 8’-9’ from the floor while maintaining 8”-12” clearance above the blades. It makes sure maximum safety as well as efficiency.

To get an ideal explanation of why the correct length of the downrod is essential and how to find the correct length for your situation, go through this guide.

Which Length Downrod Do You Need?

In case you are not familiar with a down rod, it is a metal tube that comes down from the ceiling mounting point to blade assembly. They are available in different lengths and you can also change them so it means they are adjustable on the length at which they can be at ideal height.

Which length you will need will be finalized after checking your ceiling height. The bottom of the fan blades must be at least 7’ from the floor to abide by the safety but ideal is 8’ to 9’. It takes you to the measurements that how high your ceilings are. If you already own a ceiling fan and mounted it, you can also determine the height to the blades to ensure you actually have to replace it.

To find out which length rod you actually need, check this simple formula: Ceiling height -9’ = down rod length. 

The blade assembly and the mounting hardware will introduce extra length to the down rod which can be seen in the above formula, the blades will be between 8’ and 9’ this entirely depends on that particular model. This is the ideal place where you want them to be. If you want the fan to be at 9’, you need to remove 4” off the down rod length. 

Ceiling HeightDown rod lengthNotes
7 FeetDo not install a ceiling fan
8 Feet0”Use low profile/hugger fans without down rod
9 Feet8”-12”Fan blades about 8 ft from floor.
10 Feet8”-12”Fan blades about 9 ft from floor
11 Feet20”-24”
12 Feet32”-36”

You can see the suggestions in the above chart. If your ceilings are higher, I am confident that it will be easier to begin work from there. There is no doubt that ceiling fan models are slightly different so at what height the lowest point of the fan hangs can be different between units having the same length of downrod. If you have the bottom of the blades around 8’-9’, you are good. Definitely, you can select a different height due to aesthetic cause but you need to keep in mind that it will impact the safety and efficiency when you will do that.

TIP: All down rods do not fit on every model of a ceiling fan. It will be wise to get a replacement from the same brand you are using. At times, the brands contain different types of down rod too, so you have to ensure to get the right one. If you are familiar with the model and brand of the ceiling fan, things will be easier for you. Otherwise, you will have to disassemble the unit to find out what your current down rod is.

Why Does Down Rod Length Matter For Ceiling Fans? 

So the question arises why the down rod length is so important for fans? Why not install it with a rod that came with the package and that is it.

In most cases, this may work since the aim of ceiling fans is to facilitate the ‘average’ situation. So if you are in normal conditions, this will be suitable. However, there are some important factors that are affected by the length of down rod since it does not take enough time to find out the length you require.

There are a few factors that are affected by down rod length;

  • Safety
  • Efficiency
  • Projection
  • Clearance

1. Safety

The main concern of down rod length is safety. A ceiling fan contains sharp blades moving rapidly above your head. There is no doubt in saying that you will never wish to get your head or body parts or other things caught in the quickly moving blades. It can result in quite a bit of damage. Even if you will think about it, you will be careful, you might be able to avoid it but guests might not have any idea of the danger at all.

Recommended: Should ceiling fans be far from the ceiling?

That is the reason the building codes surrounding the USA, you will see that the bottom of the ceiling fan blades must be at a minimum of 7’ (213.4 cm) above the floor. This height is the bare minimum. The better height would be 8’-9. You can reach 7’ easily even if you lift your hands, for most people. If you do stretch while getting out of bed, the chances are there, it means 7’ is too low.

At 9, there is hardly any chance you will get anything caught in the moving blades so you will be tension free. Definitely, you will have to be careful with mop handles, brooms and other long things when using them.

If you are going to install the ceiling fan yourself, who will inspect it? Probably no one (unless you are selling your house) but you will prevent the chance of potential material or bodily harm done by a ceiling fan so it is an ideal way to follow the heights recommendations.

2. Efficiency

So it will be good to put the blades as close as possible to the ceiling. It will be the safest option right? Yes, it will be safest but it affects the efficiency negatively.

A fan when rotates generates air from above the blades and pushes it down. This results in a low pressure area above the blades. It has to be refilled from the sides. The closer the fan blades are to the ceiling, the smaller the gap and it will be more difficult to replenish the low pressure space. It indicates that the fan is left with less air to ‘grab’ and push down. To generate the same airflow from the fan as with a lower installed fan, you will have to increase the speed level to put more pressure and result in low efficiency.

The minimum amount of clearance between the ceiling and the top of the blades is 8 inches while over 12 inches does not provide good effect for average sized unit. this is the reason you get 8”-12” down rod recommendation are visible even for a lower ceiling. Over 72” (very large units) can get advantage from a little more clearance.

3. Airflow

The airflow depends on the height you install the fan and it will be a bit different due to the height. The closer the fan is to you, you will get more direct flow of air. If it is away from you, you will feel it but it will spread the airflow on a larger space. the height of 8’-9’ is a good compromise for most users. You can go for a bit higher, if you do not want to get direct cooling experience and expect more air circulation.

However, if you are getting it at a 12” clearance between the ceiling and the blades, it will restrict the circulation so you are in a better position by using the normal mounting height.

Recommended: How much CFM does your fan need?

4. Clearance

the down rod is used as a tool to ensure the fan clears everything in your space. If your roof is vaulted, a long down rod is essential to ensure the fitting of the fan. however, it can also be used to allow the fan to clear other furniture or large wardrobe. If you have to choose between the clearance from the ceiling or from the floor to get the correct clearance, choose the clearance from blades to ceiling. You should give priority to safety. A visit to a hospital will be more expensive than a bit of power from lost efficiency.

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