How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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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.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

• What are the code requirements for ceiling fan installation?

What is the minimum height of a ceiling fan above the floor? 

• What is the average life expectancy of a ceiling fan?

Why are my ceiling fan blades drooping? 

How does a home inspector check the ceiling fans? 

• What is the code requirement for ceiling (paddle) fans near or above a swimming pool? 

How close can a smoke detector be to a ceiling fan?

• Does code require a ceiling fan to be grounded?

    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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