Our Outdoor Fan (+ An Experiment)

Our Outdoor Fan- roomfortuesday.comI’ve been getting questions about our outdoor fan. It is a puzzling piece of the backyard design that is difficult to wrap one’s brain around. How does it hold up in the weather? Why would you want a fan under a pergola? Does it actually work? How does it work? How is mounted? These are all valid questions and I’m really obsessed with that fan, so I thought a blog post was in order! Click through for all the details, as well as tips for installing your own…

Basically we wanted the entertaining space to be as cool as possible during the HOT Utah summer. This is our first summer living in Utah. If there’s anything we learned while building and installing our new & improved backyard, it’s that summers here are no joke. It’s a dry heat with lots of full sun and high temps here in the valley. We also discovered that if it’s windy or breezy out- it’s actually super tolerable. Unlike the Midwest or South where you get lots of humidity (definitely don’t miss that!), summers here are totally comfortable with a little wind and shade.

We solved the shade portion of the equation by installing sun shield fabric on top of the pergola (see more on that post here), but we wanted to be even more comfortable hanging outside. I brainstormed ways to add an overhead fan to the pergola, but we struggled to find a good solution.

Backyard Reveal - roomfortuesday.comEmmett thought it couldn’t be done since it would be exposed to all sorts of inclement weather, but luckily I found this fan from Haiku and proved him wrong. It’s 100% wet rated and durable… basically that means it can live outside year round in snow, sun, humidity, wind, and rain without being damaged. Obviously I also loved the look of this fan… it’s pretty modern and streamlined. I showed Emmett this image on their website of the wet-rated fan under a pergola, and once I sold Emmett on the product specs the plan was a go!

He trenched in electrical from our house to the pergola at the back of the yard and install only took an hour after the electrical was completed and wired. He built a special little mounting box to make the fan look like it belonged (not necessary for install, but a good design decision), and then it was up and running. Easy peasy! Trenching the electrical also made it easier to install string lights. They plug right into the pergola and we don’t have to worry about bulky extension cords running across the yard back to the house.

Pergola Shade and LightsAll of this to say, the trenching work was 100% worth it to hardwire the fan. You honestly wouldn’t believe the difference it makes in cooling the space. Emmett always says if you don’t have a pool or if you aren’t in water, you shouldn’t hangout outside if it’s over a certain temperature (he’s complains A LOT when he gets hot), and even he admitted the fan was the best idea, despite his skepticism early on. I didn’t want to say ‘I was right and you were wrong’, buuut…. it’s true. Ha! It actually makes it tolerable and comfortable sitting outside during the hottest part of the day. Trust me, we’ve done it.

As far as air volume goes (for you techy and engineer minded people), the CFM is 7778- that means it effectively cools a 20 x 20 outdoor area. We got a fancy digital temperature gage as a wedding gift years ago and did a little experiment just to see the difference the shade and fan combo made. Clearly we have too much time on our hands now that the backyard is complete. The space varied from 15 – 20 (!) degrees cooler than without. That is bonkers! Emmett being the math guy got such a kick out of our little test. He likes to justify everything we do and that totally confirmed our decisions for him.

Backyard Budget Breakdown - roomfortuesday.comAll in all, we’ve been using this space A TON. We’ve had people show up to hangout outside the last few weekends and Emmett and I had a conversation about why we took on this giant project in the first place. That’s the reason… to enjoy it and use it. We hardly ever had people over to our home in Ohio. We were sort of out of the way, in a weird location, and we finished our outdoor space just weeks before moving. It was a bummer because we really enjoy the outdoors and entertaining.

Luckily by making modifications like the fan and shade fabric, we’ll be able to maximize the use for a larger portion of the year. Whether it’s mild spring weather, a super hot summer, or a chilly fall, it’s going to be a great, comfortable place to entertain and relax! We’re already talking about buying a couple outdoor heaters for fall. I’ll keep you updated!

BackyardQuestions? I’m happy to answer anything in the comments below! I promise the backyard posts are almost over… I’m sharing the budget tomorrow to conclude the entire series. I really appreciate your kind words and everyone following along throughout this long process!

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Haiku by Big Ass Solutions. To learn more about Haiku fans, visit their website at www.haikufan.com. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we truly use and enjoy!

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  1. I think the fan is a no brainer! Since you already had the whole yard torn up, and you were starting from scratch everywhere, why not make it in a way that you know will be the most comfortable? I love the way it all turned out :) we are planning on extending our deck someday and I know I will be wanting a fan for just that same reason. Keeps the bugs and the heat at bay :) that fan sounds like it was a great find!

    1. That’s exactly what we were thinking! Thank you so much… I really appreciate your compliments. Good luck extending your deck when the time comes. I’m sure it will be gorgeous! xo

  2. I’m blown away by how beautiful your backyard space turned out! It’s amazing how much vision you have!!

    1. Thank you!! You made my morning! xo

  3. Brian Eubanks says:

    Sarah- You have me sold on this. Building a pergola next week and wanting to install this fan. Question though what’s the height to the bottom of your pergola, and what’s the height to the bottom of the fan? Just want to make sure I have enough room!
    Thanks for the help!

    1. Did you get a reply on measurements from fan to floor? A fan is my next pergola addition. Excited!!!

      1. I’m sorry, I don’t have that measurement anymore Tina.

  4. Hi Sarah, we are planning to do something similar to our backyard (hopefully it will turn out half as nice as yours). Just a quick question, how does this pergola/seating area attach to your home? We have a deck that we plan to remove but I’ve looked at your posts and I can’t see to find if you area is attached to the home of if there is deck or patio attached to it?

    1. Thanks so much, Kirsten! We love our backyard thanks to this space. It’s actually not attached to our home (or anything for that matter). The paver patio and pergola are freestanding in the corner of our yard. We do have an attached veranda… check that out here: https://roomfortuesday.com/painted-carport-makeover/

  5. Stephanie says:

    Hey Sarah! I really love this space. Curious how you clipped the shade fabric in? Do you have a close up pic? Did you find that the shade fabric stayed out during windy weather?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Sorry just one more question- can you re-link the fan? The links appear to be broken :(

      1. Sorry Stephanie, I think they have since discontinued that model… it’s from Big Ass Fans / Haiku

    2. Thanks Stephanie! The shade fabric comes with metal clips- they have teeth that drive into the wood. They’re small, but the entire time we lived in that house, it never came loose or sagged (even with snow on top of it). It was pretty easy! Hope this helps :)

      1. Stephanie says:

        Thank you so much for your response! Your blog posts are always so helpful <3

  6. Hi!! Thanks for doing this! We are thinking about adding a fan to our pergola as well but we worry that it will cause the whole thing to shake on high speeds even though our pergola is pretty solid. Have you experienced any issues with the pergola flexing/wobbling when the fan is running? How has the fan held up over the years? Would you still recommend that fan?

    1. We haven’t had any issues with flexing, wobbling, or instability when the fan runs. We’ve since moved to a new home, but have this same fan outside at our new place and it’s still doing great and holding up well.

  7. Hey Sarah! I would like to install a fan on our pergola and was planning on hardwiring it but wanted to see how you control the speed/turn it on and off. Thanks!

  8. Miranda Suman says:

    Hi! So I have a question regarding an article/blog post you wrote for Haiku/Bigass fans about your pergola fan!

    Has the fan held up in the weather? We want to do this exact same thing as your article, but when looking at the fan online is says to use under covered patios only. Has your fan held up ok? We are in Michigan.

    1. Hi Miranda! We actually haven’t lived in that home for almost 3-4 years (this is an old blog post), so I really couldn’t say as to how it’s currently doing or holding up. I’m sorry! We only got to live with it for one winter, which it did fine.

  9. I realize it’s a long shot but maybe Emmett remembers and can solve my issue. Your pergola was sold out years ago when you linked it but I adored every aspect of it. I looked up the installation manual and just built my own exactly to match using the specs listed. I just bought a wet rated ceiling fan to install so we will use the area more and I can’t figure out how to mount it aesthetically pleasing. All waterproof junction boxes are wider than the pergola slats. I see Emmett built a box to nest between the slats and presumably get around the limitation due to the specs but then did he diy his own waterproof electrical junction or did he find a junction box smaller than 4”? Appreciate all your work and everything you generously share. You guys are so talented!