Ceiling Fans are becoming a necessity in our tropical Singapore island. Air conditioning no longer cut it as the only way to keep us cool, besides, the prices of ceiling fans have come down significantly from a decade ago when there were only a handful of brands in the market.
Moreover, as our newer BTO flats and condominium apartments get smaller, we tend to want to maximise every inch of available space. Unlike a standing fan (which takes up valuable space, requires to be plugged in, cabling hazards and limited coverage area are common considerations), a ceiling fan, when properly deployed, will bring years of uninterrupted use, with much lesser regular maintenance that is associated with that of an air conditioning unit.
Oh, did we mention that ceiling fan are also good companions to your air conditioners? They help to cool the room down faster and also help to prolong the cooling temperature. For example, when we go to bed at night, once the air conditioner cools us down to sleep, we can turn off the air conditioner, and let the fans regulate our body temperature throughout the night.
Ironically, due to rising temperature as a result of climate change, we are encouraged to use less air conditioning to save electricity. By switching to ceiling fan, apart from doing our part to fight climate change, we save on monthly electrical bills.
So if you are renovating your house right now, chances are you are looking for a ceiling fan for at least one of the rooms.
Now the question is, what options are there currently (2021) in the market?
1. 2 types of motors
You may have come cross terms like AC motor and DC motor. In the pre-Facebook and TikTok era, only AC Motor fans exist. Even now, there are some manufacturers still offering them. For starters, AC ones require more power to operate as opposed to the newer DC ones. But the latter offers more features and functions, are lighter in weight and easier to maintain. They are also more updated in design and comes in more varieties.
|DC Motor||AC Motor|
More Energy Efficient
Up o 70% compared to AC
|Requires More Electricity|
-RF Remote Control
|E27 Type Bulbs|
|Reverse Airflow||Yes, for better air circulation||No|
Above: a traditional AC ceiling fan with pull chain to control the speed and the lights.
2. Safety Mark
Do ceiling fans in Singapore require safety mark certification? YES! Ceiling Fans are required to be registered as Controlled Goods in Singapore to protect the consumers.
Some budget conscious and price sensitive customers are tempted to buy them online from unknown sources or visit our neighbouring country but do note that besides the risk of ending up with something that is defective/unusable after installation, the warranty coverage is non existence.
Also, you may have heard of blades falling over during operations, and with each fan weighing at least about 7kg, you might want to reconsider your options. Needless to say, when it comes claiming insurance for property damage or bodily injury, it certainly wouldn't help if the insurance company concludes that you have installed a non conforming appliance.
So please be sure you go for fans with SAFETY MARK, which certifies that the products meet stringent safety standards and are 100% safe for use in your home.
3. Price Range:
Prices of the newer DC motor powered ceiling fans have come down so much that it makes more "cents" to choose them over their AC counterparts. It used to cost at least $400 to $600 for a AC powered one and you need to fork out a further $200 more for a DC one about 3 to 4 years back.
Nowadays, you can find mainstream models starting from around $200 with prices going as high as >$1500 for some "designer" a.k.a imported brands. In recent months, there are also some sub $100 ones being introduced to the market.
So, what's in the $88 fan vs the $1888 fan?
a) Parts & Components Used:
Needless to say, the cost of manufacturing the fans differs largely due to the parts being used. The lesser the number of parts being used or the cheaper the parts being used will determine both the features available and also the reliability of the fan. For example, while most fan blades are currently made of ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) material, there are in fact different grades of ABS.
So if you do not need the features, or your expectation of the fan's longevity is not a primary concern, as in the case of the fan being installed in a rental flat/condo for your tenants, by all means, go for the budget ones.
b) Sound & Performance:
Ceiling fan have mechanical moving parts, bearings are a major component that affects both its performance and reliability. There are different grades of bearings, with the better ones being corrosion resistant, well lubricated and thus able to withstand and manage heat better and also runs smoother and quieter even at higher speeds. If sound is a key concern, check our range of ceiling fans that features NSK (Japan) bearings here.
c) Safety Features:
Besides engaging qualified installers to ensure that the ceiling fans are mounted properly and installed in the right way, some higher end models have safety features for the fan during operations too.
- AUTO-STOP : When any object gets in the way of the spinning fan blades, this function will automatically deploy this feature to prevent further damage or injury.
- BLADE DESIGN : Edges of blades are smoothed and angled to minimise damage/injury
- OPERATION RESUME: Some fans have last operation state memory and will resume its spinning motion when power is returned after a cut off (at the switch / power outage). Some are designed to stay off until you initiate a power on via the remote control/app.
With more brands coming onboard, there is no lack of competition for the older name sakes like KDK and well known international brands with more marketing dollars like Big Ass a.k.a HAIKU fans. The former which many of our older generation swears by mainly because of their association with their Japanese identity (it's worth noting that most if not all of their fans we get in SG are now made/assembled in Malaysia), despite their lack of modern designs, can still be found in many coffee shops and hawker centres.
If are convinced to paying extra for brands and looks, the brand HAIKU probably comes up tops. Known for their extremely top end prices and also aesthetics (though not necessarily functional), the price you have to fork out for 1 unit of HAIKU can probably get you all the fans (from another local brand) for your entire house if you choose to be both penny and pound wise.
We have no short of choices when it comes to locally designed and assembled fans. Some things to look out for from a design perspective:
- Blades Type: Usually the lighter(weight) the blades, the more impactful the wind delivery. Some minor details to the shape and curves of the blades also affect the airflow. There are blades which are made of real wood, they are lighter in weight compared to the ABS ones, but do note they require a bit of care and maintenance. So if you are really into the natural wood grain look (ABS prints look more repetitive) or require that WOOD element in your house, you might spend just a little more for them. Though airflow may not be of much a difference considering our Singapore ceiling height and space.
- Base/Motor Type: More modern fans now features a hugger/cylinder base which are shorter compared to traditional rod/stem type. This means more headroom especially for low ceilings. But of course, having a shorter base may not necessarily but a good thing as it affects the airfoil, so there has to be a balance. (Usually ceiling fans are not recommended for ceiling height less than 2.35 meters from the ground up)
- Number of Blades: More blades translate to more volume but slower speed due to its weight. The trend now is leaning towards the 3 blades for its minimalist and cleaner outlook.
- Length of Blade : Measured in inches (side to side/diameter) The longer the blades, the wider the coverage area. Again, longer blades also mean more weight and drag, assuming the same motor type. Typically for our apartment size and ceiling height (less than 3.2 meters) in Singapore, for optimal circulation, a minimum 52 inches is needed for living room or larger bedrooms. A 36 to 46 inches is recommended for bedrooms, depending on whether there are floor to ceiling built-in wardrobe where you will need to factor in the cabinet swing doors opening outwards, or you have track lights running alongside the fan.
Above: Track Lights alongside a ceiling fan in the centre with proper clearance
If you are looking for a safe, well designed, modern and reliable ceiling fan without the hefty cost of an overpriced "imported" brand, visit our Ceiling Fans Page here.
d) Warranty Coverage
Coverage of the motor is usually 10 years or what some manufacturers term "Limited Lifetime". The rest of the fan usually is between 1 to 3 years, with the 1st year inclusive of parts+labour (onsite). Some light kits have warranty coverage up to 5 years on parts, which is good as the light module cannot be easily replaced with third party parts.
These warranties shall apply to brands designed/assembled and sold locally and they will cease to be valid should the product be found to be incorrectly installed. Just make sure the manufacturer of the fan is based here in Singapore and have a decent post sales support set up to service their customers.
- Light Kit: Available mostly as an optional upgrade, light kits nowadays are all integrated LED. Most comes in 3 tones (Warm white/Cool white/Daylight) changeable via the remote control, and with dimming capabilities. A 20w watts rated around 1800 to 2000 lumens is sufficient to light up a small living room and most bedrooms. Better kits even features high colour indexing for enhanced colour reproduction and also blue light filter for promoting eye comfort, which is good especially now that we spend more time at home for work and studies.
- Reverse Airflow: A good feature for helping with air circulation without the wind blowing down direct especially if the fan is positioned directly above the couch/bed or dinner table.
- YURAGI/Natural Wind Mode: Having the fan constantly blowing down at you can sometimes cause discomfort after a while, with this function turned on, you can now cool down in a fashion where the fan regulates the rotation of the blades, simulating that of a natural breeze.
- Last Memory: Some fans are able to recall the last operating state (fan speed, light colour and brightness) even after being switched off from the main switch. This way, you need not to reach for the remote control again to reset to your preferred setting each time someone toggles the switch.
- [LATEST] WIFI App/Voice Control: Not widely available to all brands at point of writing, this feature will get the smart home geeks and younger tech savvy users pretty excited. With just a 2.4 Ghz WIFI coverage, you get to remotely turn on/off, schedule, voice control your ceiling fan without any external devices other than your mobile phone. You can easily integrate with the rest of your "Smart" home devices to work with Google Home/Amazon Echo/Tmall voice assistants.
Check out the range of Smart WIFI Ceiling Fans here in Singapore:
4. Preventing Shadow/Strobing:
Being in the lighting business, we are very particular about unnecessary lights and shadows, especially when it comes to shadows created by the rotation of the fan blades as a result of poor positioning.
Certain wall surfaces and colour scheme may further accentuate this problem.
The effect can be disastrous as it will affect our vision and possibly cause flicker vertigo.
Shadows are inevitable as long as there is a strobe zone, hence knowing the types of lightings and their diffuser dispersion/ beam angle, would certainly help with determining where to position both the lights and the fan to minimise the effect.
Above: Illustration of how placement of the surrounding light and fan can create undesirable shadows and strobing effect. Source: https://emrenoblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/preventing-strobing-effect-from-ceiling-fans/
The most undesirable shadows are those at eye level and below. If you like to know how to stay clear of them, come talk to us!
5. Fan Placement:
It is important to install the ceiling fan properly so that you achieve the optimum airflow besides looking good.
Ceiling Fans can be installed on both concrete and false ceilings, with the latter costing more as some form of reinforcement is required.
Rods (optional) are required for high ceilings (above 3.3m) and also slanted ceilings/roofs.
Consider at least a 60cm to 80cm away from the nearest wall. If you have built in cabinets/wardrobe and have serious space constraints, at least 60 cm away and also consider the space you need to cater to opening the cabinet doors or accessing the contents.
Always consider and place them away from any light sources that may cause moving shadows(strobing) when the fan is in operation.
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- Tags: Ceiling Fan, flickering, haiku, headaches, how to choose, shadow, smart lighting, strobing, vertigo, Where to buy