Does ceiling fan downrod length even matter? Every ceiling fan is suspended in the air and generates airflow (measured in CFMs). Some placements, however, are better than others. That’s why we will look at ceiling fan extension rod (downrod) sizes.
To reap the full effect of a ceiling fan, you have to get the ceiling fan downrod length right. If you position it correctly, you will see the full heating/cooling benefits. According to the US Department of Energy, correctly placing and using a ceiling fan can:
- Allow you to raise the AC thermostat setting by 4°F with no reduction in cost (Summer). This can save up to 30% on cooling costs.
- Allow you to save up to 15% on heating costs (Winter)
In order to get the most out of a ceiling fan, the DOE also provides us with simple rules on how to position a ceiling fan. These rules also include ceiling fan downrod length and enable us to make a ceiling fan downrod length chart (given any ceiling height).
Before we check out the ceiling fan downrod length chart, let’s look at these rules. These rules will illustrate why you need a specific length of a downrod and it will also give you an idea at where to best place a ceiling fan altogether:
4 Ceiling Fan Placement Rules
Here are the basic 4 rules for placing a ceiling fan:
- Ceiling fan should be 7 to 9 feet above the ground.
- Ceiling fan should be 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling.
- No fan blade should be closer than 8 inches from the ceiling.
- No fan blade should be closer than 18 inches from the walls.
The 1st rule is the most important one. Every ceiling fan downrod should be long enough to suspend a fan at least 7 feet from the ground and at most 9 feet above the ground. You should shoot for an average of 8 feet above the ground positioning.
The 2nd rule primarily concerns rooms with the standard 8 feet ceiling height. In such a standard height room, you will have to have a ceiling fan downrod length of at least 10 inches. Anywhere between 10 and 12 inches is perfect; this means that the ceiling fan is about 7 feet above the ground.
Be aware that blades have a bit of height as well; hence the 3rd rule. Make sure that, if you have higher-than-average blades, extend the downrod to 12 inches (not 10 inches). That’s how you ensure that the blades are no closer than 8 inches from the walls.
The 4th rule doesn’t tell you anything about what size ceiling downrod you should use. It does tell you, however, where in the room you should suspend a ceiling fan. The best position is in the center of the room. You just make sure that the blades are at least 18 inches or 1.5 feet from the nearest wall.
Here’s the bottom line:
The 1st and 2nd rules tell you pretty much everything you need to know about how long a ceiling fan extension rod you need.
These two rules are focused on 8 feet ceilings (ceiling fans don’t really work well with below 8 ft ceilings).
Some rooms have higher ceilings; 10 feet, 12 feet, 14 feet, you name it. Some rooms have an inclined wall. Some rooms even have a ceiling height below 8 feet.
To account for the ceiling height, we use the ceiling fan downroad length chart. Let’s have a look at the chart. Below the chart you will also find listed types of downrods (standard mount, extended mount, flush-mount, and sloped mount) you will probably need.
Ceiling Fan Downrod Length Chart
The key to adequate ceiling fan extension rod length determination is to suspend a fan about 8 feet above the ground (or between 7 and 9 feet).
Here are the downrod lengths given certain ceiling height:
|Ceiling Height:||Downrod Length:|
|8 Feet Ceiling||10 Or 12-Inch Downrod|
|9 Feet Ceiling||12-Inch Downrod|
|10 Feet Ceiling||24-Inch Downrod|
|11 Feet Ceiling||36-Inch Downrod|
|12 Feet Ceiling||48-Inch Downrod|
|13 Feet Ceiling||60-Inch Downrod|
|14 Feet Ceiling||72-Inch Downrod|
|15 Feet Ceiling||84-Inch Downrod|
|16 Feet Ceiling||96-Inch Downrod|
From the chart, you can clearly see the following relationship
Ceiling Height = 8 Feet + Downrod Length
That means that you can quite easily calculate the downrod length you need for a ceiling fan using this formula:
Downrod Length = Ceiling Height – 8 Feet
Example: Let’s say you have a 10 feet and 6-inch ceiling height. Using this downrod equation you get:
Downrod Length (10 Feet 6 Inches) = 10 Feet 6 Inches – 8 Feet = 2 Feet 6 Inches = 30-Inch Downrod
You can pretty much calculate the ceiling fan downrod length for a ceiling fan.
When you know how long should the ceiling fan downrod be, you will have to pick the right size downrod. It’s useful to know that there are (length-wise) 4 types of downrods you should know about:
4 Types Of Downrods (Length-Wise)
In their segment about the optimal ceiling fan airflow, Energy Star lists 4 different types of downrods used for ceiling fans. These are:
- Standard mount ceiling fans. These are small 3 to 5 inch downrods (metal pipes). In most cases, you will need to use an additional downrod to bring the ceiling fan down to about 8 feet above the ground.
- Extended mount ceiling fans. These are used to hang ceiling fans in higher-than-standard ceiling height rooms (10 ft, 12 ft, 14 ft, etc.). They can be as short as 6 inches or as long as 120 inches. You can use the ceiling fan downrod length chart or equation to figure out how long an extension rod you need.
- Flush mount ceiling fans. These are meant for below 8 feet ceilings. We also refer to them as “hugger fans” or “low profile fans”. A bit of a warning about these low-profile fans: They do not move as much air as standard ceiling fans, are not as efficient, and usually don’t follow the 3rd rule above.
- Sloped mount ceiling fans. If you have an inclined ceiling (at an angle), you use a sloped downrod. This type of downrod is specially designed to be attached to sloped ceilings.
To reap the most heating/cooling savings, it’s vital you check in which direction the ceiling fan blades should rotate. You can read about it in ceiling fan direction: summer vs winter here.
The even more important thing than choosing the right length downrod is choosing the right size of the ceiling fan altogether. You can learn how to measure the size of the ceiling fan and pick the right ceiling fan size here.
Hopefully, now you have a full understanding of how to go about choosing the right size of downrod for a ceiling fan.