Google really has fantastic analytics. I have graphs of how many people viewed our blog and how many pages were read. Although Boston is disproportionately represented as you may suspect, it only accounts for 40% of the views. We have somehow been read in Oslo, Scotland and Buttsberg, (Germany). Whatever country, province or area, I would be happy to address any outstanding issues or problems in the home building process as it relates to appliances, lighting and kitchen plumbing.
Our goal is to be an impartial resource to the renovator/remodeller/homeowner not a shill for a particular product or company, even our own.
That being said, lets talk fans. Simple question: Are paddle fans energy efficient or not?
The correct answer is Maybe. There is no question that on a certain level fans are more energy efficient. In the summer, they circulate the air, and when reversed, a paddle fan will distribute the heat from the ceiling. However, fans do not lower temperature. They create a "wind chill" effect, but only if you are in the room. Think of a fan as a light bulb(equivalent to a 40 watt), so turn it off when leaving a room.
So how do you buy a fan. Most of the better fans will have a Emerson motor that allows the fan to operate more efficiently, quietly and wobble less. Although fans are available in sizes up to 80 inches, the most common size is 50-52 inch diameter for average to larger size rooms and 42 for smaller rooms. Again, this is Boston, not Baton Rouge. In warmer climates, there is a propensity to have porch fans(make sure they are weather resistant) and fans in bathrooms, which can be as small as 29 inch.
A couple other important factor when buying paddle fans are controls. Fan controls are available in increasing permutations: remotes, intelli-switches as well as the pull chains. A switch should be able to reverse a fan period. Extra functions are great, but you do not want to climb a ladder to reverse a fan.
A couple other suggestions: The optimum height for a fan is 8-9 feet off the floor with a minimum of 7 feet. In taller ceilings, hang the fan at about 25% of the height of the room. Lastly, have some fun with this and try to buy something other than white. There are some very interesting fans from Minka, Fanimation, Casablanca and Emerson. I will post a few for your inspection.