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2016 Ceiling Fan News
DOE Announces Revised Testing Standards for Ceiling Fans

Published: 7/22/2016 - Greg Tillotson (Webmaster for Hansen Wholesale)
DOE Final Ruling: Test-Procedures-for-Ceiling-Fans-Final-2016-17139.pdf

The DOE is moving forward with legislation mandating new testing procedures for ceiling fans. As of 7/25/2016 manufacturers will have 180 days (by Saturday, January 21, 2017) to comply by retesting all of their fans to the new standard.

Definition of a Ceiling Fan:

EPCA redefines a ceiling fan as "A non-portable device that is suspended from a ceiling for circulating air via the rotation of fan blades." Previously, this definition did not include hugger it does. The DOE has also defined various categories of ceiling fans all of which have their own specific testing procedures.


Ceiling fans that are exempt from these new testing rules are: belt-driven ceiling fans, centrifugal ceiling fans (a type of fan with hidden blades), oscillating ceiling fans (fans that cannot remain stationary), and ceiling fans whose blades plane of rotation cannot be within 45 degrees of horizontal.

Ceiling Fan Categories:

Large-Diameter Ceiling Fans: A ceiling fan that is greater than seven feet in diameter.

Small-Diameter Ceiling Fan: A ceiling fan that is less than or equal to seven feet in diameter.

Low-Speed Small-Diameter (LSSD) Ceiling Fans:(Typical Residential Ceiling Fan) A ceiling fan less than or equal to seven feet in diameter that meets UL standards for installation with the blades less than 10 feet from the floor based on safe RPM and blade thickness. These are typical residential ceiling fans.

High-Speed Small-Diameter (HSSD) Ceiling Fans: (Typical Industrial Fan) A ceiling fan less than or equal to seven feet in diameter that does NOT meet UL standards for installation with the blades less than 10 feet from the floor based on safe RPM and blade thickness. Such fans must be installed with the blades 10 feet or higher from the floor. These are often referred to as Industrial fans.

Highly-Decorative Ceiling Fan: A ceiling fan with a maximum rotational speed of 90 RPM and less than 1,840 CFM airflow at high speed.

Very-Small-Diameter Ceiling Fan: A ceiling fan that is not a highly-decorative ceiling fan or belt-driven ceiling fan and has one or more fan heads, each of which has a blade span of 18 inches or less.

Belt-Driven Ceiling Fan (exempt from legislation): A ceiling fan with a series of one or more fan heads, each driven by a belt connected to one or more motors.

Centrifugal Ceiling Fan (exempt from legislation): Commonly referred to as "Bladeless" fans, a ceiling fan for which the primary airflow direction is in the same plane as the rotation of the fan blades (exempt from legislation).

Oscillation Ceiling Fan (exempt from legislation): A ceiling fan containing one or more fan heads for which the axis of rotation of the fan blades cannot remain in a fixed position relative to the ceiling. Such fans have no inherent means by which to disable the oscillating function separate from the fan blade rotation. A fan that has the capability of oscillating but has the ability to operate in a stationary position is not classified as an Oscillating fan and is therefore NOT excempt from this legislation.

Low-Speed Small-Diameter (LSSD) Ceiling Fan Types:

Standard: An LSSD fan where the bottom of the blades is more than 10" from the ceiling

Hugger: An LSSD fan where the bottom of the blades is less than 10" or less from the ceiling

Multi-Mount: An LSSD fan that includes mounting hardware that meets both the Standard and Hugger definition

Multi-Head: An LSSD fan that has more than one fan head.

Noteable Changes to Current Testing Procedures:

  • The testing procedure will no longer use a cylinder.
  • The procedure differs based on classes of ceiling fans.
  • Residential Fans (Low Speed Small Diameter - LSSD) will be mounted directly to a ceiling instead of a false ceiling.
  • Hugger fans will no longer be exempt.
  • Fans that can be flush mounted or mouted with a downrod must now be tested in the flush position only. This may have a significant negative impact on the reported airflow for such fans, so manufacturers may stop including this option in the box
  • Energy use will include off or standby useage.
  • CFM, Watts and CFM/Watt will be reported as a weighted average between high and low speed.
  • Weighted average based on 3.4 hours at high speed, 3.0 hours at low speed, and 17.6 hours in off or standby mode.
  • Reported CFM data will be significantly less than with previous test requirement on High Speed only.
  • Fan manufacturers can potentially increase the RPM of the lowest speed to skew the numbers up resulting in more fans that do not run slow enough for mild conditions.

Specific changes as noted in the document:

  • Eliminating the test cylinder from the test setup
  • Specifying the method of measuring the distance between the ceiling fan blades and the air velocity sensors during testing
  • Specifying the fan configuration during testing for ceiling fans that can be mounted in more than one configuration
  • Specifying the test method for ceiling fans with heaters
  • Specifying that a ceiling fan is not subject to the test procedure if 2 the plane of rotation of the ceiling fan's blades cannot be within 45 degrees of horizontal
  • Specifying that centrifugal ceiling fans are not subject to the test procedure
  • Specifying that all small-diameter ceiling fans must be mounted directly to the real ceiling for testing
  • Revising the allowable measurement tolerance for air velocity sensors
  • Revising the allowable mounting tolerance for air velocity sensors
  • Revising the testing temperature requirement
  • Requiring measurement axes to be perpendicular to walls
  • Specifying the position of air conditioning vents and doors during testing; specifying operation of room conditioning equipment
  • Specifying the power source and how power measurements are to be made
  • Specifying stable measurement criteria and a method for determining stability

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