Fan Facts: Damp vs. Wet Rated Fans for Outdoors

Shopping for an outdoor fan can be a daunting task if you are not familiar with Damp Ratings or Wet Ratings. While most indoor fans carry a Dry Rating and can quickly become damaged with outdoor use, fans that are damp rated or wet rated are safe for outdoor locations. We took a minute to catch up with our fan expert, Hugh Prosser, for today’s Fan Facts to help you understand outdoor fan ratings and proper cleaning techniques.

Damp Ratings vs. Wet Ratings

Many outdoor fans are suitable for Damp Locations and are ideal for covered outdoor areas. One should expect years of trouble free operation with a Damp Rated ceiling fan, even if it is installed in humid applications or near the ocean where salt is an issue. Damp Rated fans are made to handle the moisture that comes with an outdoor application, however, they should never be in direct contact with water, rain or snow.

Kichler Hatteras Outdoor Ceiling FanHatteras Bay Patio Ceiling Fan by Kichler

Although you should expect years of trouble free operation with a Damp Rated fan, it doesn’t mean you can “install it and forget it” – a fan in this type of environment needs to be cleaned on a regular basis due to its exposure to moisture. Regardless of the motor finish or the type of blades the fan has, if it is not maintained properly, it will corrode and oxidize.

See also: UL Listings For Lighting & Ceiling Fans

To prevent the fan from corroding, a basic cleaning of the motor and blades a few times each month should keep your fan looking good. Do not use any harsh cleaning materials as they have the potential to damage the fan’s finish. For ceiling fans offered in glossy finishes, you can apply a quick coat of car wax occasionally on the metal parts of the motor housing to keep them looking polished. With regularly cleaning of the fan, it will maintain its appearance and functionality for years.

Fanimation Zonix OutdoorZonix Outdoor Ceiling Fan by Fanimation

If maintaining a Damp Rated fan sounds like too much work or your ceiling is too high, we recommend that you buy a Wet Rated ceiling fan. Unlike a Damp Rated fan, Wet Rated fans are weather resistant and okay for all outdoor applications. Wet Rated fans are safe to be exposed directly to snow or rain, as they are made with finishes that help to avoid rust and corrosion. Cleaning a Wet Rated fan is also easy – simply spray it with a regular garden hose to free it of cobwebs, debris, etc. Please remember to turn the power off to the fan first for safety.

Other Great Resources

Look to our complete Fan Buyer’s Guide for additional help on choosing a ceiling fan. From tips to understanding how to choose the right size of a fan to understanding what airflow efficiency means, you’ll find it here. And for help in picking out the right outdoor fan for your space, please contact us at or call our fan experts at 877-445-4486.

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Hugh Prosser

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