Front and back covered porch areas are designed as a sanctuary to escape the sun’s hot rays. Instead of utilizing this area, most people prefer to be indoors on hot days. This is mostly because the stagnant air makes the air hot whether standing in the sun, or under the shade of the porch. But adding ceiling fans to the porches will create spaces that people will use on hot summer days.
The ceiling fan locations should be every 16 feet and should be a minimum of 4 feet in blade width. This will ensure the maximum amount of air movement. Because of the open structure of a porch, the amount of air movement is going to be generally straight down from the fan. But if the center of the fans are only 16 feet apart, this makes the fans really only 8 feet apart from the tips of the blades. The amount of dead air is thus minimal.
If the porch is a square structure, one large fan may be adequate to move enough air for comfortable temperatures.
Fans do not draw much electricity and can be wired on one circuit with one switch for the entire porch. The fans are typically 15 amps and require a 15 amp breaker at the circuit panel. If the fans have lighting attached to them, a separate switch and 15 amp breaker should be dedicated to this circuit. 15 amp circuits require 14 AWG 2 wire romex cable. This wiring always includes a ground and is grounded at each fan and at the panel.
Ceiling fans can dramatically lower the outdoor temperature of a small area such as a porch. With the strategic placement of fans along a long front porch, or even a small covered patio, your guests can enjoy the great outdoors in the summer heat, without feeling it. This concept is not a new one. The southern plantation house have used ceiling fans to cool their porches and homes since the early 1900’s. Becoming part of this tradition is something that is not only historical, but also very green, which just happens to be trendy.