The Ideal Fan to Cool Down Any Space
"Ceiling fans are a good deal and very efficient," says Kate Lewis, marketing manager for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program. Since heat rises, they help you feel cool by creating a downdraft that stirs the cooler air along the floor. (In winter you can make a room more comfortable by keeping your fan on low with the blades running in the reverse direction to force warmer air near the ceiling down into the room.)
Best for: Large rooms, thanks to blades that measure from 24 to 60 inches (the longer they are, the more air they can push around). They're also helpful where you don't want to sacrifice table or counter space to a desk fan. You'll cool a 12-by-12-foot room most efficiently with 42-inch blades; for a 20-by-20 room, you'll need 52-inch ones (go to energystar.gov for more size guidelines).
Placement: Mount the fan in the center of the room (ideally, at least 18 inches from any wall), with the blades 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling (but no less than seven feet from the floor).
Features to look for: Proper blade length, remote control (especially helpful for users who have difficulty reaching a short chain), Energy Star label (guarantees efficiency).