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What Type of Outdoor Ceiling Fan Will You Need?

By 1 years ago 4619 Views No comments

TroposAir 72" Titan Ceiling Fan Oil Rubbed Bronze

What Kind of Outdoor Ceiling Fan Will You Need?

Nearly every day our company receives many calls from customers that are shopping for outdoor ceiling fans. Many customers are looking for ceiling fans that have the outdoor wet rating, but are having trouble finding the styling that is right for their area. We proceed to ask questions about the area, and many times we find that there is no reason they should be stuck on buying an outdoor fan with the UL wet rating, and that a damp rated ceiling fan is all they actually need.

In this article, I hope the shed light on the difference between the UL ratings of wet vs. damp. I hope that after reading, if you are shopping for a ceiling fan, you'll understand the difference between the two. Afterwards you will know to only shop for the perfect model that will work well in your area. I hope to be able help broaden your selections, if you only need a damp rated ceiling fan, but you have only been looking at wet rated designs.

You may have been advised by someone to only buy a wet rated ceiling fan, because the person that gave you the advice feels they are made better and will last longer. But that isn’t necessarily true. If you are installing the ceiling fan in an area that absolutely requires a wet rated model, then yes, it is good advice, but most exterior applications do not require wet rated outdoor fans, and when they do not a damp rated model will last just as long as any wet rated one will in the area.

Here are the differences…

Wet Rated

Wet rated ceiling fans have components that are sealed better than damp rated ones for use outdoors, but this is only because a wet rated model is designed to be installed where rainfall will be beating down directly onto the fan from above. They are only needed in applications such as below a pergola, or other structures where there is no roof preventing water from coming in.

The main thing that makes a fan wet rated is the way its components are sealed not to allow water into the areas with important electrical components. For example: If the fan is not remote control operated, and instead uses a traditional 3-speed pull chain switch and a manual electronic reverse switch, these switches will be sealed, usually by a rubber shield, to prevent water from running in onto the electrical components.

Most wet location approved ceiling fans have silicone inside the area just above the motor, where the wiring leads up from the motor to the overhead structure’s electrical connection. The overhead electrical connection will be whatever is used by your electrician to get the wiring from the power source to the ceiling fan. That area itself should be sealed to prevent water from funneling down into the fan, but the silicone helps protect the motor in cases where an installer doesn’t do a good job on his end of sealing the connection area.

Most waterproof ceiling fans will use ABS type plastic blades, versus wooden blades. ABS plastic is a very durable plastic that withstands anything from water contact, to extreme heat without changing its shape.

Damp Rated

A damp rated outdoor ceiling fan may be used in any outdoor area where there is a roof protecting the fan from direct rainfall. Damp rated means the ceiling fan can withstand heat and humidity, and even mist from a heavy storm that may blow some dampness onto the fan. The main difference between it and a wet approved model is that the damp model isn’t designed to take heavy downpours coming in from directly above the ceiling fan, but other than that, damp rated fans can handle everything else a wet rated ceiling fan can. Therefore, don’t assume if you buy a wet rated unit it will be better and last longer on a covered area than a damp rated one. That simply isn’t the case. As long as your area is covered, a ceiling fan with the UL damp approval is all you will ever need, and it will last just as long.

You will find there is a large selections of styles in damp rated fans that wet rated models as well. Sometimes the blades may look higher-end than wet rated fan blades will. The reason for this is because some damp rated fans will use high quality hand-carved wooden blades, that have been sealed with a sealant to protect from humidity and color fading. These blades work and last perfectly in covered porch applications, and for sure look richer than plastic, but that cannot handle contact with direct rainfall 24/7, and for that reason you will not find them available with outdoor ceiling fans that are wet rated.

Some damp rated fans may still use the plastic material used for most wet rated ceiling fan blades, but if you’re looking for the high-end look of furniture grade woods, it is impossible for even the highest quality ABS blades to duplicate the rich look a real wood will offer.

Can Either be Used Indoors?

Yes, both damp rated and wet rated outdoor ceiling fans can be used inside of your home. While you should never use an indoor ceiling fan outside, an outdoor ceiling fan can always be used indoors. Outdoor models almost always offer all of the same control features as an indoor fan, including the reverse setting for winter usage, and they are more durable and easier to keep clean that many indoor models. The reason they are easier to clean is that you do not have to be as careful as to what type of products you may use to clean your ceiling fan.

In some cases, such as when installing a ceiling fan in a kitchen or bathroom, you will benefit by using an exterior rated ceiling fan in your home interior spaces. Since they are moisture resistant, you will not have to worry about warped blades or pitted finishes that the dampness in those areas may cause to traditional indoor models.

To Summarize

Outdoor ceiling fans are overhead fans designed to withstand the elements when being used outside of the home.

Damp rated is usually all most will need, because they are fine to go in any area with a roof overhead.

A wet rated ceiling fan is only necessary if the fan will be installed in an area with no roof covering the fan, because in such cases the fan will be exposed to direct rainfall coming down onto the motor from above. Areas such as a pergola require the UL wet rating.

You can always use an outdoor fan indoors, and sometimes this is a good idea, but you should never attempt to install an indoor ceiling fan outdoors.

If you have any further questions, please give us a call at 1-888-841-1993. Or, email us at and we will be glad to offer further assistance to you.

Quality Makes of Damp and Wet Rated Ceiling Fans

  • Minka Aire
  • TroposAir
  • Fanimation
  • Casblanca Fan Co.
  • Hunter
  • Gulf-Coast Fans
  • Craftmade

  • Choose A Category to View Different Ceiling Fan Design Choices