How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

How does a home inspector check the ceiling fans?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Yes, ceiling fans get a look-over and brief test as we work our way through the house. Here’s a few of the defects that we look for: 

•• A non-functional fan--when none of the wall switches or the pull-chains on the fan will activate it. Sometimes, the problem is just that the fan has a remote-control that is no longer around.

•• Fan blades are too low. The accepted standard is that the blades should not be lower than 7 feet above the floor to prevent inadvertent contact while they are spinning. Most ceiling fans sold today can be mounted with a downrod (like in the picture above), or surface-mounted in rooms with 8-foot ceilings. A ceiling fan with a downrod in an 8-foot ceiling is a problem.

•• Wobbling fan, usually caused by a blade that is not securely screwed to the motor disc, or an imbalance of the blade material. While annoying, it is not really dangerous unless the wobbling is severe--caused by a missing blade, for example.

•• Exposed electrical wire splices sticking out of the ceiling junction box. Also, a ceiling fan should be mounted to a properly braced box rated for ceiling fan installation. This can be difficult to determine in a visual, non-invasive home inspection, however. 

•• An interior-rated fan at an exterior location. This is a common defect in the Gainesville area, and easily observed because the blades of an interior-rated fan droop from the humidity in the outdoors. Interior fans also rust prematurely and the motors fail within a year or so when put outside. The fan should be rated for a “damp” location when installed on a porch.

•• Missing light globes or damaged light kit below the fan. Globes, especially, tend to get whacked off by accident.

   By the way, unlike air conditioners, ceiling fans do not actually cool the air, so they are a waste of energy in an unoccupied room. But the breeze under a ceiling fan on a warm evening sweeps the body heat off everyone in the room in a pleasant, nostalgic way.

    Here’s a challenge for you: see if you can follow the route of the current in this hilarious ceiling fan installation in a laundry room, from a 3-prong plug with the ground prong removed, inserted into the side of a light socket extension ungrounded 2-slot receptacle, to a power bar with a cut-off extension cord plugged into it, going (after a couple of loops) to open splices above the ceiling fan with a dropped canopy.

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Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about APPLIANCES: 

What are the building code requirements for installing an appliance (furnace, air handler, water heater) in the attic?

Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit? 

Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?

When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

Why does venting a clothes dryer into a garage, attic, or crawl space cause problems?

Does a refrigerator water supply line require a shutoff valve behind it? 

My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?

What is the maximum recommended height above the floor for an above-the-range microwave?

Why would a home have natural gas appliaces but no gas meter? 

Is a hot water faucet required at a washing machine?

Can I remove a 240-volt range receptacle and hard-wire the range? 

 Can a dishwasher be wired to a kitchen counter small appliance receptacle circuit?

Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)? 

Do home inspectors test the appliances?

What are the most common defects with over-the-range microwaves?

Are a range and refrigerator required kitchen appliances for a house to pass FHA inspection? 

What are the code requirements for an outdoor dryer vent cover?

What is the maximum length for a clothes dryer vent? 

Why are my ceiling fan blades drooping?

How do you inspect a dryer vent? 

• Why is there a water hose connected to the back of the clothes dryer? 

    Visit our ELECTRICAL and APPLIANCES pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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