Brief overview of IP codes for fans
A ceiling fan that shall be used in damp rooms or in the garden needs to fulfil certain requirements that are not relevant for fans in living rooms and bedrooms.
Outdoors, the device is exposed to rain, hail, differences in temperature, insects and air pollution. In industrial factories or storage facilities it must withstand water jets during cleaning work as well as exhalation of foodstuffs or production work. Common household damp rooms like the bathroom, guest WC, utility room, basement and kitchen experience high humidity and splashes of water. The most important criterion for a suitable ceiling fan is an appropriate IP code. A water-proof construction protects sensitive electrics on the inside of the fan from dust and water ingress.
The abbreviation IP stands for International Protection Code. The first digit shows if the device is protected against fine dust, coarse particles or contact with body parts. The protection against contact is particularly interesting for environments with chipped woods and increased occurrence of dust. The second digit indicates protection against water ingress. The motor of these special fans features a special casing that prevents moisture from infiltrating and ensures a long service life.
A protection against liquid ingress is imperative for rooms with higher-than-average humidity (bathroom, laundry room, kitchen) as well as outdoors to withstand weather. Some devices can handle humid air but not water jets, meaning they are suitable for damp indoor rooms but not for outdoors. On the other hand, some units can even be completely submerged in water for a short period without suffering any damage. Tip: When cleaning your IP-certified fan with liquid cleaning agents you must adhere to its specifications. There is a difference between steam and a dripping wet cloth directly next to the motor. Make sure to study the manual, otherwise you might risk losing any claim for warranty later on.
Occasionally, the product description will state that the fans are suitable for “covered outdoor areas”. These devices endure humid exterior air (such as fog) but must not be exposed to rain dripping down. In that case, the ceiling fan should be mounted in a place that is completely or at least partially covered by a roof and shielded from wind. This includes a carport or porch with an elongated roof, to name a few examples.
The following are the most common IP codes used for ceiling fans
. A more detailed overview of all protection classes is available here
|Level ||Solid particle protection ||Liquid ingress protection |
|0 ||No protection ||No protection |
|1 ||Accidental touch of body, e.g. back of hand ||Dripping water |
|2 ||Finger, similar ||Dripping water if body is tilted at 15° angle |
|3 ||Tools ||Spraying water at up to 60° vertical angle |
|4 ||Wires ||Splashing water from any direction |
|5 ||Dust in smaller quantities ||Water jets (nozzle) from any direction |
|6 ||Dust tight, complete protection against contact ||Powerful water jets from any direction |
An X or 0 means there is no protection for this category.
No protection against contact, however the unit can handle spraying water. That means it can be used under covered roofs outdoors and in humid areas.
Example: IP 54
Complete protection against contact, protected against dust ingress on the inside, protected against splashing water.
Now let us define the kinds of liquid ingress.
Dripping water: gentle drizzling rain, humid air
Spraying water: water falling from irrigation system, low pressure
Splashing water: from all directions, medium to increased pressure
Water jets: direct contact with water nozzle
Mould in bathrooms and WC
In a bathroom the humidity levels are usually far above the average 40-60%. On one hand the rooms are small, on the other hand a lot of moisture is released there. Almost every time the bathroom is used, water will flow. Whether one is washing their hands, using the toilet, taking a shower or bath; in some small homes the laundry rack is often put up inside the bathtub to dry wet clothes. Without a sufficient amount of ventilation, mould is bound to grow.
In bathrooms without any windows, you will usually find an exhaust shaft. It extracts the damp and hot air and transports it away from the building. A hygrometer will tell you how quickly humidity decreases in your bathroom. These handy devices are available at a low price online or from electrical retailers. If it takes a long time until moisture has reduced to a normal level, it is recommended to opt for a special fan that is suitable for humidity or outdoor use. In the long term, humidity can lead to damage of devices if they are not constructed to deal with this.
Even if there is a window a ceiling fan comes in quite handy. In order to move the humid air to the outside there must be draught. Without a fan you can achieve this by opening the window in the room as well as in other rooms and keep the doors open. After a few minutes the moisture content should have already decreased in the bathroom so there is no acute threat of mould growth. In some situations it is not feasible to open all doors and windows: If there are visitors or occupants need to leave the house to go shopping, etc. In that case a ceiling fan is helpful as it circulates air and moves it faster to the outside. A ceiling fan with lights can perform two tasks at once, namely provide lighting and ventilation.
Special case: kitchenNot only steam is a common occurrence in kitchens though, but also grease and odour. Often ventilation is regulated by exhaust fume hoods on top of the stove or simply by opening windows. Ceiling fans are often used to support existing ventilation. However, the ceiling appliance must be mounted at a generous distance from the stove/kettle/sink or have a special certification for use in kitchens. Otherwise you will face risks due to grease deposit and fire, motor damage as well as short circuits. Sometimes ceiling fans are suitable for use in damp areas but not for use in the kitchen. Always check the product description or manufacturer’s manual for this information.
Benefits of outdoor ceiling fans compared to portable fans:
? Ceiling fans circulate air in rooms with up to 30m2 size. A small portable will only provide cooling directly next to you, meaning most models cannot circulate air in spacious areas.
? An energy-saving motor (DC motor) consumes a maximum of about 30W on high speed, a conventional portable fan cannot keep up with this.
? A portable fan requires a power cable and wall socket, unlike a ceiling fan. The pedestal fan’s cable might be in the way when laying on the ground, whereas a ceiling hangs on the roof and does not take up space on the floor.
? The airflow is coming from above which is a very pleasant feeling in the summer. Few pedestal fans reach this height. The head, however, is the body part that is the most sensitive to heat and welcomes a refreshing breeze. The ceiling fan is mounted at a height where children cannot accidentally touch them or knock them over. Seeing that the electrical connection is going through the ceiling and along the walls, nobody can trip over any wires. Furthermore, the possibility of a guest accidentally spilling a drink on the fan is rather low. In most cases, a ceiling-mounted device is the safer option.
? Modern ceiling fans are very quiet and usually make much less noise than a portable appliance. There are even low energy fans with a direct current motor.
? Another benefit is that once the ceiling units have been fitted, they stay there. A portable fan needs to be brought outside then inside again, and needs to be stored somewhere during the winter. Well-protected, the ceiling fan can stay outside even in the winter. You should find a way to cover it in case of snowfall, though. The Hunter Outdoor Elements is delivered along with a large tripod for mounting and a weather shield.
? In any case the materials of outdoor fans are weatherproof and rust-free which is generally not a trait of basic portable fans. Those are designed for use indoors. The housing of damp-rated fans is made from scratch-proof die-cast aluminium or stainless steel, to name a few examples. Non-yellowing ABS plastic with a robust surface and impact resistance is another popular choice. The Hunter Maribel fan can be used on yachts and sailing ships thanks to a saltwater-proof and rust-free housing. A portable ground fan could slip away due to the movement of the sea, a tower fan might fall over. The same goes for another “force of nature“: Playing children and animals. Ideally, the appliances should withstand weathering, they should be easy to clean and access and resist all impact caused by thrust, all while still looking appealing.
? Outdoor ceiling fans can be used in cattle breeding and the agricultural sector. Sheds with high ceilings and other facilities are easily equipped with ceiling fans and extension drop rods. The NORDIK HEAVY DUTY range are compatible with TDA controller systems. This system features sensors that detect differences in temperature on the floor and on the ceiling. If the difference becomes too big, it will automatically turn on the fans so they can balance out the temperatures. Seeing that the fans are mounted far above the cattle, they will not disturb the animals with any sounds or movements. On low speed the fans support pollination without providing any cooling effect.
? There is virtually no limit when it comes to different designs of outdoor fans. There are models in plain white, natural bamboo blades, wooden blades with cane inlay, fans with dark colours, etc. They are easy to clean and make for an interesting eyecatcher in the garde.
? Another benefit compared to floor and pedestal fans: Ceiling fans are available with integrated lighting. Ceiling fan light kits will completely replace previous ceiling lights or add lighting if you do not have any lights on-site.
Our recommendation: Energy-saving (DC) fans are usually equipped with low energy LED lights. Other models are suitable for retrofitting of add-on light kits.
Choosing the right model
The selection of ceiling fans for damp rooms and outdoors is quite large nowadays so that everyone is guaranteed to find a good match. Consider the following factors when choosing a model:
- Is the ceiling fan rated with an IP code? This is important to ensure the model can handle moisture and humidity in the bathroom.
- Do you need any extras? Will a simple pull cord be enough or would you like to control the fan with a remote or wall speed controller?
- Which room size has the fan been designed for, how much air can it circulate?
Every time a fan should do more than just enhance the interior decoration, you need to make sure it is actually powerful enough for your desired application. If the fan diameter is too small it cannot provide sufficient air change. However, adequate air change is necessary to reduce humidity. In order to find the right fan, multiply the room height with the square metre size of the room. The result is the room’s volume in cubic metres (m3. An air change rate of five to eight times per hour is recommended for bathrooms. Ideally, the room volume is multiplied with a high air change rate, the result will be the required airflow in m3/h.
Example: A bathroom measures ten square metres and has a room height of 2.50m. That means the volume is 25m3. Multiplying this result with an air change rate of 7, you get 175. A ceiling fan for this bathroom or damp room should therefore be able to move at least 175m3/h. Technical specifications are available in our product descriptions.