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How Does an Electric Ceiling Fan Work?

by HomeRepairExpert.com
Electric motors require two coils of wire placed in close proximity to one another; manufacturers typically install one wire coil in a fixed position and the other in an attached armature that spins freely. When electricity passes over the fixed coil of wire, it produces a magnetic field that applies force to the free-spinning coil. This force repels the coil mounted in the armature, causing it to spin. This process, collectively contained in the ceiling fan's motor, provides the main drive behind the fan's operation.

Motor

Electric motors require two coils of wire placed in close proximity to one another; manufacturers typically install one wire coil in a fixed position and the other in an attached armature that spins freely. When electricity passes over the fixed coil of wire, it produces a magnetic field that applies force to the free-spinning coil. This force repels the coil mounted in the armature, causing it to spin. This process, collectively contained in the ceiling fan's motor, provides the main drive behind the fan's operation.

Controls

Ceiling fans employ a simple on/off toggle switch mounted in the wall. When the user places the switch in the off position, a lever inside the switch housing slides to separate a metal contact from the home's electrical wiring. When the user moves the switch back to the on position, the contact slides toward the house's electrical wiring interface, allowing electricity to flow across the switch and into the fan's motor.

Direction

Some fans have a simple directional switch that allows users to reverse the direction of the fan's movement; by reversing the direction, a fan can blow air downward to keep cool during the summer, or upward to displace rising warm air during cold months. When the user moves this switch, it reverses the frequency of the electrical current and causes the spinning coil to react and move in the opposite direction.

Speed

Some fans have a switch that controls the amount of electricity entering the fan. When the switch is set on low, the switch connects to a capacitor that reduces the amount of electricity flowing into the fixed wire coil. The reduced electrical flow produces a weaker magnetic field and causes the fan to spin at a slower rate. Higher speed settings incrementally increase the amount of electricity allowed to pass to the fixed coil, creating a higher fan speed with each position of the switch.

Blades

When electricity passes into the fixed coil in the fan's motor and causes the armature to spin, the fan begins to rotate the blades. Blade size and position play a considerable role in how much air the fan moves. Fans with large blades can move more air, but require a larger motor to keep the blades spinning. Instead of increasing blade size, manufacturers can instead increase the angle at which blades move through the air; fan blades with steeper angles catch and move larger amounts of air, more efficiently cooling a room.



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