How To Add Smart Control To Your Old Ceiling Fan


Steamy summer weather is difficult when you are indoors. A hot, still and humid environment does nothing for your motivation or productivity. If you find yourself with the mounting costs of running central AC or need to have a little more air movement in your rooms, it is well worth switching on the ceiling fan or installing one if you do not have one as yet.

For cents on the dollar, you can enjoy the cooling sensation of moving air which is a great aid to sleep on sticky summer nights. Ceiling fans are simple, affordable, and no more difficult to install than a light fitting. Also, a ceiling fan can not just be used in summer but in the cooler months also to more evenly distribute the warm air in your home. No longer do you need to overlook your old fan as an outdated fitting. Ceiling fans are increasingly recognized as an energy-efficient and sustainable way of keeping cool and there is a range of great solutions on the market to help you get the most out of your fan.

The precision performance of your ceiling fan is all about control

If you use your ceiling fan in the right way you will be amazed at the cooling performance you can enjoy. You can use your ceiling fan alone or in combination with your home air conditioning for an added boost. Knowing how to properly control your ceiling fan will mean that you always enjoy the excellent value that this low-cost form of home cooling brings.

The cooling performance of your ceiling fan will be affected by the angle and direction of the rotating blades and the speed of the fan. It is these that you need to proactively control for optimal performance.

  • In summer months your fan blades should rotate in an anticlockwise for the cooling effect. The faster the fan speed, the stronger the draft of cool air blowing straight down.
  • In winter you can gently enhance the warming effect of your home heating by running your fan blades in a clockwise direction at low speed. This keeps your warm air circulating well.

Types of controls on ceiling fans

There are a few key types of control that most regular ceiling fans possess to assist you in using them properly. Traditional controls include:

  • Ceiling fan chain switch. This traditional control adjusts the speed and direction of the fan by gently pulling on the attached chain.
  • Variable speed wall control. This wall-mounted control allows easy adjustment of fan speed by a rotating movement.
  • Single sliding fan control. This control allows the fan speed to be increased or decreased by a sliding movement.
  • Dual fan and light control. These control both the fan and the light switch and maybe dimmable with variable control.
  • Many fans carry a switch which changes the direction of the blade rotation from clockwise to counterclockwise.

Ceiling fan controls may be wall-mounted, remote-controlled or on the fan itself. In addition. Some wall panel controls centrally operate multiple fans and lights. Now, the ability to optimally control your ceiling fan has been massively extended by the introduction of novel, industry-leading ‘smart’ technologies that ads a whole new layer of precision control for operating your fan.

IoT and smart technology means that you can switch your fan on and off with the phone in your hand.

You may be wondering what smart technology is and what it is doing in the home? SMART is, in fact, an acronym, and stands for Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. Yes, it is very clever, but beyond that, this covers a range of technologies that are embedded in everyday objects to make them internet-connected, responsive and remotely programmable. Smart homewares, fittings, and products can, therefore, carry programmable software-based controls that enable you to enjoy the optimum performance of that object. These everyday items are now networked and part of the Internet of Things where they be controlled via wireless communication like WiFi and Bluetooth.

When applied to the humble ceiling fan, smart application afford you precision control of your fan’s operation; switching the fan on or off, changing direction and adjusting speed. Better still until classic infrared remote controls that have to be pointed at the object. A smart ceiling fan control can be operated from anywhere via a handy smartphone app. It really is that easy and convenient!

You can utilize the benefits of smart technology with your ceiling fan in one of 2 key ways:

  1. Purchase a new smart ceiling fan with these technologies already integrated with the fan.
  2. Use your existing fan but operate it using smart controls such as a programmable smart switch.

Both have their benefits, but you may be able to save if you know Ways To Add Smart Control To Your Old Ceiling Fan.

So, which is better for you? A smart ceiling fan or smart switch?

If budget is not an issue, it all depends on the value and benefit to be gained for your particular circumstances.

‘Smartening up’ your existing ceiling fan

With your existing fan, you can work with what you have got and make it clever with any one of these Ways To Add Smart Control To Your Old Ceiling Fan.

  • The smart remote control that works with any of your home’s remotely controlled devices
  • Wall-mounted smart switches
  • Specialist smart ceiling fan controls that are added to your existing fan

By choosing any of these widely available ways to add smart control to your old ceiling fan you save on the costs of purchasing and installing an entirely new ceiling fan while enjoying the benefits of smart connected controls. If you are new to using smart controls, a ceiling fan is a great place to start and you can test if this kind of technology will work for your household. Later on, in this article we take a look at some of the best options for this job on the market.

Be prepared to get out your tools or hire an electrician. These options are not plug and play and must be wired into your existing fan. Also, you need to be careful that your smart device is fully compatible with ceiling fans and won’t cause current problems and damage the fan motor. If you are cobbling together smart solutions you many end up with an unwieldy network and a large number of apps on your phone, so it is always best to look for the simplest solutions.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to add smart control to your old ceiling fan that is on the market today:

1) The Ostrich Ceiling Fan Remote Control Kit, WI-FI Smart Fan Control

This kit is am ideal introductory package for promptly smart enabling your previously ‘dumb’ ol’ ceiling fan. Colorado-based company Ostrich specializes in smart home solutions and has created this smart converter for an existing ceiling fan. The kit contains the following:

  • A wall-mountable remote control.
  • A WiFi-enabled receiver with a load wire and neutral wire output.

The smart receiver is wired into your fan. This is done by opening up the ceiling-mounted unit of the fan and finding room to wire in the receiver. The receiver is designed to work with 98% of commercially available fans, but may not be suitable for some slimline fans where the unit would have to sit outside of the fan and be unsightly. If the unit is being installed with a chain controlled fan, this must be set to the highest speed setting for the device to be able to work. A slimline remote control can be used on the fan or be walls sit in its wall-mounted bracket. The remote control switches the fan on or off and adjusts speed, but it is when the app-based control kicks in that you see the full performance of this device. Here are the key smart functions available with the Ostrich smart fan control:

  • Turn on and off with scheduled timers
  • Adjust fan speed and light intensity
  • Command the fan speed and light intensity via paired Alexa or Google home assistant
  • Download and use the Smart Life App to control the fan.

The Ostrich smart fan converter kit is enjoying great sales and reviews on Amazon. Most purchasers are pleased with the performance of this device and report that it operates as described by the manufacturer. A small proportion of users have difficulty in pairing the device to their app or home assistant. Support direct from the manufacturer is responsive with lots of assistance and guidance to get your fan smartened up quickly.

2) SONOFF iFAN03 WiFi Ceiling Fan&Light Controller, APP Control&Remote Control

The iFan03 ceiling fan and the light controller is one of the best Ways To Add Smart Control To Your Old Ceiling Fan. It keeps things very simple and does not require the complexities of hubs or routers to operate. This is what you will be able to do with this smart device:

  • Switch your fan on and off
  • Change your fan speed between 3 settings
  • Pair your fan to be operated by a phone app on one or more handsets
  • Voice-activated control of the fan with Alexa, Amazon Echo or Google assistants.

The sleek white and minimalist device also includes a remote control that can be wall-mounted. Mobile and Alexa operation takes place via the eWeLink smart home application which covers everything necessary to fully control the fan from anywhere via your phone.

Users are generally positive about the SONOFF smart fan and light control but a number of problems seem to be recurrent.

  • A poor fit under some fan canopies
  • Speed settings that are too slow for US fans
  • The device is unable to dim the light

However, there were few problems in promptly pairing the device and the price is competitive enough to give it go on smartening your ceiling fan.

3) GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Fan Control

This is a high quality, well-engineered control from General Electric. You probably won’t be able to find more reputable ways to add smart control to your old ceiling fan. Rather than fiddle around with your fan’s canopy to insert a device, this high-quality option involves hard wiring in a robustly designed smart switch in the wall. To work the smart switch will require a neutral wire so it is essential to check that this is available.

The switch comes with Z-wave technology that boasts better and faster connectivity, energy efficiency and increased wireless range. This switch offers complete control of your ceiling fan from almost any kind of parable devices, such as laptop, phone, tablet or home assistant.

With this switch, you can turn on and adjust the speed of your ceiling fan across high, medium and low settings. Some report that there is also a version of this switch that is dimmable and changes the settings using a slider.

The reviews for this product are fairly mixed. Some people find it performs as described and others struggle with getting the switch wired in and it’s the operation of the fan. Users of voice-activated personal assistants like

Ceiling Fan. It keeps things very simple and does not require the complexities of hubs or routers to operate.

Ways To Add Smart Control To Your Old

This is what you will be able to do with this smart device:

Alexa cannot use Z-wave technology directly but need to connect via a compatible hub.

4) Lutron PD-FSQN-WH Caseta Wireless Smart Fan Speed Control

This wireless smart fan speed control is an ideal solution for conveniently smartening your basic household fan. The switch prioritizes on and off and speed control and requires professional wiring and configuration to involve lights. However, it does what its name says reliably, and offers 4 wirelessly controlled speed settings for your existing AC fan. A neutral wire is also required for this smart switch to work.

This switch requires wall wiring and installation and is compatible with Alexa Google Assistant and other smart home brands.

With this smart fan switch, you can schedule your fan’s operation and integrate it with other smart devices, wireless remotes, and home networking.

This device is popular and is currently running at a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.com. Users find it performs just as described and obviously would like the fanlight to be able to be controlled with the same switch. Also, this switch is not compatible with certain ceiling fan brands such as Hunter so it is important to check with the manufacturer before you buy.

5) Hunter 99107 SimpleConnect Programmable Control, Small, White

Fan experts Hunter wants to be at the cutting edge of integrating smart technology in ceiling fans. It is clear from their range of smart fans, remotes, and controls that they are still developing this expertise and if they master the tech side of things they will achieve a market-leading combination. This smart programmable control will attract buyers who expect the quality of this heritage brand. It is a programmable control that works effectively with all the major brands of ceiling fans.

Simply plug in the Bluetooth enabled controller into your socket and control your fan via a downloaded smartphone app. The control comes with a recovery that is hard-wired into the fan canopy. The app works for both lights and fan operation. This controller works with all major pull chain fans and can be used on single or multiple units. The SIMPLEConnect app allows you to schedule your fan’s operation switch on and switch off and control speeds.

This is a relatively simple way of getting all the benefits of a smart control without the hassle of networking and hubs. When performing properly it is simple enough for most people to use and enjoy as a basic wireless control.

Reviews of this product are relatively poor which points to the need for Hunter to do a bit more product development for consistent operation. A big misunderstanding is that this control is not one that can be integrated with other smart networking or apps but is rather a Bluetooth enabled remote control. Despite the price tag, this is a very basic smart upgrade for your ceiling fan.

Smart ceiling fans: an alternative

A smart ceiling fan’s key feature is the integration of smart software that allows the fan to be controlled remotely by phone, voice or smart home hub. Using widely available smart technology you can:

  • Switch your fan on or off from anywhere in the world via a handy smartphone app.
  • You can program your fan to come on or switch off at the time of your choice.
  • You can boost your home security by operating your fan and its light to make your home look occupied.
  • You are able to program the duration and speed of your fan’s operation.
  • You can synchronize the performance of your fan with home air conditioning and other devices for maximum energy efficiency and money-saving.
  • You can link the fan’s activation to a specific internal temperature threshold.
  • You can link your fan to voice-activated software and personal assistants like Amazon Alexa.
  • Smart ceiling fans can be programmed to come on only if a room is occupied.
  • If your smart ceiling fan has an integrated light, that can be programmed also.

Here are some leading examples of smart ceiling fans that make upgrading your ceiling fan worth it.

1) The Haiku by Big Ass Fans RRP

The brand name says it all! And if you cannot be bothered to rewire an existing fan this beautiful ceiling fan is probably the ultimate upgrade. These stylish fans are a cross between an architectural feature and a work of art and boast broad 52″ blades that gracefully and powerfully sweep your room for a low energy refreshing breeze.

Big Ass has put cutting edge design, engineering, and craftsmanship into these beautiful fans which come in a range of classic and contemporary finishes. Silence is golden for the Haiku as it is factory balanced to not wobble or click during use. It offers 10 fan settings and a dimmable LED spotlight.

If it’s efficient and quiet performance is not enough, The Haiku ceiling fan is 100% smart. The smart technology that is integrated into the fan means that this ceiling fan can be remotely controlled. Smart features include:

  • App-based smartphone control
  • Voice-activated control using Alexa or Google personal assistant devices. It can be readily paired with Amazon Echo.
  • An additional remote control is included with the fan.

This fan has proven popular online but some owners are disappointed that The Haiku does not support SenseMe technology and therefore cannot be integrated with thermostats and room temperature control. The price point is also controversial, but most purchasers are very satisfied with its silent, powerful performance.

2) The ANKEE Smart ceiling fan with lighting

If the various Ways To Add Smart Control To Your Old Ceiling Fan don’t work out for you, you can

consider overhauling your ceiling fan with this presentable and practical Wifi and remote enabled model.

This 52″ bladed fan sports contemporary styling with a single central LED light which is dimmable. The brushed nickel effect blades perform quietly and the cool white LED light now ideal for a restful bedroom.

The ANKEE ceiling fan has integrated smart technology which means the fan can be turned on and off via your smartphone or Alexa or Google personal assistant. This is a great solution for hands free control and a remote is supplied for direct use.

This smart ceiling fan runs into one of the key problems that affect smart fans, the intermittent performance of the WiFi-enabled app. For a number of users, this performance is inconsistent which means that the fan has to be used just like a normal fan which, of course, is a big disappointment given the expense. If your smart ceiling fan is unreliable, it is probably better to use ways to add smart control to your old ceiling fan and save on the expense of a smart fan that doesn’t perform consistently.

3) Minka-Aire F868L-ORB Sleek 60″ Smart Ceiling Fan with LED Light and Remote Control, Oil Rubbed Bronze

Many of the newer smart fans not only use this ingenious technology, but also have great design aesthetics and discreet quieter motors. This sleek and modern smart ceiling fan has generously broad 60″ blades which make an industrial-chic statement in oil rubbed bronze. With this fan you can choose from 6 speeds and also enjoy a dimmable central LED light. Installation is simple and you can choose from a range of down rod lengths to get the setting of your ceiling fan just right in any room. The daylight LED light is bright enough to fully illuminate a room.

For the non-tech oriented, a handy remote control comes with the smart ceiling fan to enable you to control the fan in an alternate way.

This manufacturer has created a considered smart ceiling fan as they have clearly gotten experts Bond Technology involved in developing the technology.

This smart ceiling fan possesses the following features and capabilities:

  • Connect the fan via WiFi to the smart home system of your choice.
  • Controlled via the Smart by Bond app which you can download onto your android or iOS phone.
  • Connect to Alexa, Google personal assistant for voice-activated control.
  • In addition, this fan can be used with Hubitat, SmartThings, Control4, and ELAN.

This fan is only carrying a few Amazon reviews, but they are all 5 out of 5 . Users find that the fan not only looks great but can be installed under 2 hours and performs just as advertised. The app control interface is easy to configure and can be used to control more than one fan. The partners with smart home specialists Bond has certainly paid off and this smart ceiling fan demonstrates that your technology has to be reliable, no matter the style of the fan.

Final Thoughts

It’s very clear that the days of fiddling with chains and switches on your ceiling fan are over and the smart revolution has come. If you want to dip your toe but are not yet ready for a fully smart home, smartening your ceiling fan is a great place to start. It’s great that a variety of controls and switches can be added to an existing fan for superb remote control and scheduling. Shop around and see what is available to get your dumb fan smartened up.

It seems the major problem with this technology is the consistency of its performance and a variety of compatibility issues. These issues with smart technology are also present with smart fans so it is well worth trying the more affordable hacks for your old fan first. Remember for many of the switch options you will need a neutral wire and also establish id your fan runs on AC or DC current before buying. The size of your fan canopy is also a key consideration to make sure to holds and conceals the wired in receiver.

Buying new probably advantages you with the performance and style of a well designed and balanced ceiling fan, but the tech side is still variable given the high cost involved.

Do you own a smart fan or have you converted an older fan? Let us know your thoughts, comments, ideas and feedback. Thank you for reading!

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