Why do I need a ceiling fan?
Ceiling fans help maintain a constant temperature in the room to prevent the AC (or heater) from working too hard, thereby saving energy. With windows open, fans circulate the fresh air so "canned" air doesn't even have to be used. Operating a ceiling fan requires no more electricity than a 100 watt bulb but can shave up to 40% off your energy bill when used consistently. That's green for the planet and for your wallet!
What sized fan do I need?
For rooms that are smaller (11 x11 or so), a 42" or 36" fan is appropriate. For larger rooms, fans can be closer to 52" in diameter. There are even tiny ceiling fans that are about 30" wide for small spaces like pantries, bathrooms, offices or apartment size kitchens. Basically, choose the fan that fits the scale of the room. Any size fan can move around air, but if you are concerned just check the CFM (cubic feet of air per minute) rating.
Which direction is my fan supposed to turn?
In the summer, rotate the blades counter-clockwise to cool a room. In the winter, flip the switch on the fan's motor to rotate the blades clock-wise to push the warm air down into the room.
Why is my fan noisy?
Start with a fan from a reputable company and be willing to pay a little more. A quality fan will be worth a few more bucks and should not be noisy due to finer machined parts. However, any fan can get out of balance or have a loose light kit. Tighten the screws or use a balance kit to take the wobble out of your fan before giving up on it.
Now that you've had a little fan-ucation, go out and buy one before the summer sets in. You can sip your iced tea and feel smug about doing your part to save energy while keeping your cool.