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How Ceiling Fans Work

Modern Fan Co. Pharos Ceiling Fan

(Compliments of  the Modern Fan Co.)

First, a confession: Fans don’t cool air; they just move it around.

When it’s warm, the blades of a counterclockwise-turning ceiling fan push air downward. Like a breeze on a summer day, this moving air makes you feel cooler by evaporating the moisture on your skin. This wind-chill effect can cause an 80-degree room to feel more like it’s 72 degrees. For this reason, there is no need to run a ceiling fan when no one is in the room.

Something else: Most people don’t think to turn on a ceiling fan when it’s cold inside, but this can actually warm up a room. Modern Fans have reversible motors, which means blades can easily change direction (clockwise) and push air up toward the ceiling. This redistributes the warm air that would otherwise be trapped near the ceiling and evens out the temperature in the room. Circulating the warm air also reduces condensation on windows.

Bottom line: Our fans use very little electricity to increase the efficiency of heating and cooling systems.


Now that you know what a ceiling fan can do for you, it’s time to narrow your choices based on your taste, room size, lighting needs and quest for an energy-efficient, reliable product. Here are some considerations in choosing a ceiling fan:

Style: The Modern Fan Co.’s ceiling fans are sleek metal sculptures that work well with modern, traditional or transitional architecture and décor. They are more streamlined than other ceiling fans because of designer Ron Rezek’s inventive way of using geometric forms and attaching the blades without brackets or clamps.

Size: In most rooms, our 52-inch blade span is the most appropriate selection. The 42-inch blade span should be reserved for smaller rooms or narrow spaces (10-foot-by-10-foot and smaller) or when airflow to the area above the blades is blocked or restricted by architectural elements (beams, walls, cabinetry, etc.). Occasionally, two 42-inch fans may be a desirable alternative to one 52-inch fan. Our Altus and Cirrus models are available with a 36-inch blade span for exceptionally small or narrow spaces.

Ceiling height also plays a factor in selecting a fan. The more space between the blades and the ceiling, the more effectively your fan will circulate and distribute air. However, building codes require that the blades of a ceiling fan be at least 7 feet above the floor. Generally, we recommend hanging the fan as far down from the ceiling as is visually appropriate, while maintaining the 7-foot blade clearance above the floor. With higher ceilings, a good guideline is to hang it one-third of the distance between the ceiling and the floor. Keep in mind that optional light kits may add several inches to the overall length of the fan.

Attachment to the ceiling can be accomplished either with a down rod or a hugger. The Modern Fan Co. offers standard down rods, which are vertical poles that range from 3 inches to 72 inches. Down rods work best in rooms with high or sloped ceilings. For ceilings that are 8 feet high, Modern Fan designer Ron Rezek recommends using the hugger versions of our fans, which are short sculptural pieces he designed to continue the style of the fans.

The blades on some models (Nimbus, Pharos, Halo and Cloud) are positioned at the top of the fan body. When hung with the shortest down rods, the blades on these models are very close to the ceiling, reducing the volume of air movement, as explained above. Consequently, these models are best suited for ceiling heights that can accommodate a slightly longer down rod.

Lighting: All Modern Fans have lighting solutions either integrated into the design or as options. Ron Rezek has been a successful lighting designer since the 1970s. When he designed the first contemporary-styled ceiling fans in 1986 and then launched The Modern Fan Co., he sought to not only create attractive ceiling fans, but ones that efficiently incorporated lighting solutions. He was the first to introduce indirect light, direct down light and fluorescent options in ceiling fans.

In addition to conventional ambient light, we offer application specific solutions. For example, the Cirrus provides either general ambient light or directional down lights. The Pensi has a directional down light.

Most Modern Fans are available with a choice of standard incandescent or energy-saving compact fluorescent lamping. Our CFLs provide 75% energy savings and lamp life up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. While dependable for well-balanced, warm light, keep in mind our CFLs are not dimmable.

Our fanlights generally function well as a primary light source for a space, but may not be satisfactory as the only light source in a room. This will depend on factors such as room size, wall/ceiling color and intended use of the space. Be sure to evaluate the wattage listed for each fan light and the amount of light your space requires.

Quality: The Modern Fan Co.’s line has earned worldwide recognition for its distinctive design, smooth action and reliability. The fans are produced on company-owned tooling in the world’s leading ceiling fan manufacturing facility. There is quality control at every stage.

The company’s fans incorporate Ron Rezek’s single-piece, die-cast rotors that are dynamically balanced. The fans’ high-powered motors work efficiently without overheating and have maintenance-free sealed bearings, which can provide a lifetime of use.

Air distribution: Motor speed, blade angle and blade surface area affect the amount of air a ceiling fan puts into motion. Modern Fans have three or four speeds and reversible motors, which provide year-round benefits across all climactic conditions, as explained above.

Modern Fans’ blades are pitched to circulate the greatest amount of air without overworking the motor. Wood blades are constructed of plywood and matched within one gram, helping to insure a wobble-free operation. The Pensi, Velo and Velo Hugger have contoured blades molded in a high-impact ABS plastic to move the maximum volume of air.

Noise: There is no need to endure a ceiling fan with an annoying electrical hum or ticking blades. Modern Fans are engineered to be stable and as quiet as possible. Every fan motor is tested at least twice for electrical conductivity, quiet operation and smooth running. Our fans also have precision ball bearings and noise-reducing components between metal parts.

Energy savings: Ron Rezek was an early supporter of the EPA’s Energy Star program. Modern Fans draw between .6 amps and 1.0 amp on high speed, about the same as a 100-watt bulb, and approximately .4 amps on medium and .25 amps on low. Modern Fans cost just pennies a day to run and because of their efficient way of circulating air, they allow users to reset their thermostat to cut down on cooling and heating costs, and still remain comfortable.

In hot weather, you can save up to 3% on cooling costs for each degree the thermostat is set above 72 degrees, according to the California Energy Commission.

Modern Fans can save up to 10% on heating costs by reclaiming warm air trapped at the ceiling. The opportunity for savings increases in commercial environments with high, open ceiling construction. The stratified air close to the ceiling can be 15 degrees warmer than the air at ground level.

Speed and dimming controls: Why get up and tug on a pull chain when you can change fan speed and lighting with a wall switch or handheld unit? The Modern Fan Co. offers the choice of wall-mounted or wireless handheld units that control speeds and offer full-range dimming.

Cost: Before you buy, know that a “bargain” fan costs you a lot over time. Modern Fans move greater amounts of air more efficiently without irritating noises, breakdowns or required maintenance. They have stronger motors and engineered blades that reduce cooling and heating bills. Our fans are made from the highest quality materials and components and have attractive, durable finishes. After all, if a fan doesn’t look good in your home, why put it there?

Warranty: The Modern Fan Co.’s ceiling fans carry a limited lifetime warranty.


It’s no more difficult to install a Modern Fan than to put in a light fixture (please see detailed instructions enclosed in each ceiling fan box or click on the pliers icon at

The basics: First, the junction box should be as close as possible to the middle of the room. Blade tips should be a minimum of 18 inches from a wall or cabinet.

Turn off the electricity at the breaker before starting the installation.

Use a UL-listed metal box that is approved for ceiling fan installation. The box should be anchored to a ceiling joist if possible or secured to a brace between two joists. Attach the fan-mounting bracket to the outlet box and route the wires through it. Hang the fan and connect the wires.

Attach the blades and light kit.

Turn on the fan and enjoy the comfort.



Ingo Maurer - Light Poetry

At Form + Function we just LOVE Ingo Maurer. We have sold these incredible fixtures for over 20 years and enjoyed every moment of inspiration.

Ingo Maurer is well-known all over the world for his playful, intriguing lamps, light objects and lighting installations.

Buying an Ingo Maurer piece is not just just picking a light fixture. It’s choosing a piece of art, an installation that brings more than just illumination.
You can see many of them in our Santa Fe showroom, or call us for photos from our projects as well as cutsheets.

Visit our Facebook photo album, a collection of Ingo Maurer photos from homes and businesses from New York City to Copenhagen, Tokyo, Rio…

Get inspiration and have us ship you your very own magical Ingo Maurer light creation.

We ship worldwide, efficiently with no hassle and low shipping cost.
We are proud of our projects all over the world and would love to ship one of the wonderful Ingo Maurer light creations to you, too!




The Kokoro  is a dramatic table lamp from the The MaMo Nouchies series by Ingo Maurer. Made of artful strong red paper, gracefully curved around a bar of stainless steel topped with a red silicone peak, Kokoro has a strong sculptural presence.



Cyan Design Treviso Chandelier 6496-5-14

Cyan Design Treviso Chandelier 6496-5-14


The Treviso Chandelier from Cyan Design is a show stopper.

Even this beautiful white horse is stunned.


At the Dallas Market I always go straight to the showroom of Cyan Design. It is so incredibly inspiring. They do everything right:lush  colors, elegance paired with quirkiness, and a feast for the eyes how things are displayed.

This was the display in front of their showroom a few years ago.


Access Lighting Viper Offset 52042

Looking for an affordable alternative to the rail systems?
Piecing a rail system together can quickly become really expensive.
If you only need a rail with a certain amount of lights to illuminate your walls, no frills or custom design, this might be the way to go.
The Viper family of ceiling lights from Access Lighting have a lot to offer with a really reasonable price tag.
Since this fixture is 120V and doesn’t have a built-in transformer it can even be dimmed with a regular dimmer. Another plus.

I really like the off-set design. It adds visual interest to the sleek design. The track heads have a pleasant, contemporary look.



Ingo Maurer Zettel'z

Last week we visited the fabulous Ingo Maurer showroom in Munich. As always it was a treat!


I just love the Heirloom pendants from Hudson Valley Lighting!

Just the other day I saw a large cluster of these hang at staggered heights over a bar in a great contemporary restaurant. They looked fantastic!

Lots of shade, size and finish options makes it possible to custom design the pendants so they fit your space.perfectly.

One of the things that make them special is of course the old-world filament bulbs that add atmosphere and a warm glow.

Tech Lighting Otto

Tech Lighting Otto

The Otto pendant by Tech Lighting is a new introduction.
I really enjoyed all the unique colors it comes in – and ordered all of them for our showroom at the recent Dallas Market. It was just too hard to choose!!
The Otto pendant  has a wonderful hand-etched, mouth blown outer transparent glass shade with an inner glass diffuser.
The outer blown glass is hand-etched after it has cooled. Its inner white glass helps diffuse the light and adds depth to the fixture without washing out the color of the transparent outer glass.
A sophisticated, well-balanced addition to a variety of rooms.


The Zonix Ceiling Fan from Fanimation has a simple and straightforward design that is refreshing.

The cylindrical body and the three narrow blades make this contemporary ceiling fan appear less bulky than most fans.
The different finishes and blade choices give a variety of interesting combinations options.

With its quiet, no-nonsense, yet pleasing appearance the Zonix has quickly become a very popular fan in our showroom.


“7 Off the Wall’ is a a quirky new wall light from the Lucellino family by Ingo Maurer.
A  flok of winged bulbs are taking flight, creating this whimsical wall light that was recently introduced at Euroluce in Milan.