Ceiling fans contribute to greater cooling and heating efficiency, reducing energy consumption and helping homeowners regulate their body temperature in the process. The integration of HVAC systems and smart technology with ceiling fans has encouraged more intentional use, saving money and energy. In the wake of the pandemic, companies also began developing ventilator technology to help combat COVID-19, as well as additional ventilator-based methods to improve health at home.
Technology & Efficiency
In 2022, ceiling fan technology has evolved beyond the classic AC motor-powered option in the category – electric motors driven by AC current. New DC motors are now commonplace in industry, which convert DC electrical energy into mechanical energy. According to Alex Ostrovsky, sales and product manager at Modern Forms, DC motors are very efficient for this reason, consuming only a third of the energy that an AC motor would consume. Fanimation VP of Sales and Marketing Kristina Christopher backs this up – she says AC motor fans typically draw around 60 watts of power, while DC uses half that, between 30 and 32 watts.
With improved motor efficiency propelling the industry towards more “green” product offerings, the use of HVAC in conjunction with ceiling fans has also become a popular choice, especially with the rise of smart thermostats such as Nest and Ecobee. “Smart” ceiling fans can now integrate with these systems via Wifi, allowing users to consume less energy than they normally would.
“With the introduction of smart technology, you can essentially have your fan communicate with your smart thermostat,” says Christopher. “If you set your home to a specific temperature, for example, you can program the fan to start after a certain point rather than relying solely on the HVAC system.”
Users simply connect their fan to their smart thermostat system via phone or tablet. Once connected, the fans can be controlled remotely at the touch of a button. A downloadable app allows them to program various fan settings, on and off patterns, speeds and more.
“That’s really where you’re going to take advantage of its ‘smart’ aspect,” says Christopher. “If you’re a power hog…or you’re on vacation and accidentally left everything on, you can turn it off from anywhere in the world.” We also offer the same control capabilities with the fan light kit. There are a lot of goals with the product and a lot of features that can come from it.
Additionally, Fanimation’s lighting kits feature temperature selection capabilities. This gives customers the option to light up a room during working hours or relax with a cooler hue at sunset.
“You can easily switch from warm to cooler light on each fan’s handheld remote control,” says Christopher. “We have had so many requests from customers asking for a 4000K light kit when our previous models were 3000K. We listened and started making 3-5000K lighting kits. Now we find that people use different colors throughout the day. »
Modern Forms smart fans additionally feature an adaptive learning feature, allowing the product to automatically learn and adapt to a household’s particular usage pattern. After solidifying a model, users receive prompts or suggested usage tips via a push notification.
“It’s another tool for those who really want to get into the nitty-gritty of energy conservation,” says Ostrovsky. “Technology will say ‘we notice that every day at 6 p.m. you turn off your fan’ because a lot of people just leave them on. It’s a way for people to waste energy, just by leaving them on. without purpose. With adaptive learning, it will guide someone to use it intentionally.
Health & COVID-19
During the peak of COVID-19 in 2020, Modern Forms also developed the Ultra Smart Fan, a ceiling fan with a UV-C (ultraviolet germicidal) light attached to the top. The product is now considered an air purifier based on testing by an independent CAP and CLIA accredited laboratory, Innovative Bioanalysis.
“Viruses transfer through the air in the upper part of a room,” says Ostrovsky. “When the fans are running, they circulate the air, naturally making it rise. This system helps to make the air rise faster in the disinfection area. The UV light above the fan is what kills the virus.
According to Ostrovsky, placing sanitizing LEDs at floor level can be harmful to the eyes, which is why the Ultra’s design makes it suitable for both living and working spaces.
“With this system, the light is on top, which makes it safe,” he says. “It sanitizes the air through the UV-C system, then circulates clean air to the occupants of the room.”
To test the Ultra, the company needed to release SARS-CoV-2 into a room as an aerosol. According to the company, tests have shown a 99.99% reduction in active SARS in the breathing air space after 30 minutes of system operation in an 8’x 8’x 10′ closed room.
“The testing method is just plain dangerous,” says Ostrovsky. “There are only a limited number of places that are willing to do this. But we tested it and got very good results.
The Ultra will also be tested against the flu in the near future.
“The CDC always recommends using ceiling fans in conjunction with UV germicidal irradiation lamps that are wall-mounted in the upper half of a room,” Ostrovsky says. “They know that circulating air and pushing air through these lamps is effective. This product incorporates the two things they recommend to do, all in one.
General air circulation can also improve the “feel” of a room, especially at night. On average, a ceiling fan can make a room nearly seven degrees cooler without changing the temperature.
“Typically, you can set your air conditioner thermostat to a higher temperature because the fan moves cool air over your skin,” says Steve Register, senior product manager for ceiling fans at Progress Lighting.
“Fans cool people, not the air. In the same way, you can set your radiator to a lower temperature and reverse the direction of rotation of the fan. This will move warm air that is near the ceiling down into the room.
Running a fan in a bedroom can also improve sleep quality and, therefore, health, whether through air movement or the “white noise” effect that neutralizes sound.
“With smart fan technology, if you want to fall asleep in front of the fan and it turns off in the middle of the night, you can do that too,” says Christopher. Smart air purifiers can also be paired with ceiling fans, cleaning the air and minimizing allergens, pollutants and toxins.
“With the availability of Wifi in ceiling fans and air purifiers, there are apps that can pair the two units to work at the same time,”
Register says. “This will circulate more air in the room and help the purifier to be more efficient. You can also buy a ceiling fan with an air purifier included.
As the industry continues to advance in design and technology, Christopher hopes to see these high-tech ceiling fans gain traction.
“Once it’s revealed in a massive way that all of these things can communicate with each other, people will want it,” she says. “It makes the product more agile — looks are one thing, but it’s also functional. At this time we want to continue offering new trends, new finishes and adapting to technology. It’s just a matter of time.”