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Most everyone has owned at least one household fan. It s often surprising how expensive even the cheapest box fan can be and how very much is charged for one of the nicest tower fans. These prices range from what you may pay for a nice pair of shoes all the way up to the price of a new tablet. So, choosing the right tower fan for you is likely going to be more than a flippant, indifferent decision, especially if you re making a real investment.

There s more information to weigh in making your decision than looks only. But have you noticed that very little information is readily available on a box, or anywhere else, about any fan's performance? Perhaps you re thinking: performance   what? It s a fan; it blows air. The end.

There s definitely truth to that, but here s the weird thing: you ve been missing out. First off, there s a standardized way to measure exactly how much cubic feet of air a fan can move, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A lot of fan makers measure it (though some don t even bother), but it hardly matters since no one posts the information where it s readily available at the retail level.

It s a simple number that varies with the relative power of any fan. It could be 450 CFM or range all the way to 2,500 CFM. So, why not tell everyone about it (especially when it s such a wide margin)?

Besides power, there s another item that s good to know about when it comes to fans   noise. One of the things that can irritate people about fans is how much noise they make. No one wants to hear the constant sound of a blow dryer in their living room, no matter how much it reduces their electric bill. So, if you re wondering if there s a way to measure that sound easily, you re a step ahead of me. Here s another specification that never seems to be listed anywhere to help you pick a nice, quiet fan. Like airflow, this is often measured by the manufacturer but it's never displayed anywhere but a few, rare websites.

The noise a fan makes is measured in decibels (or dBA). Like the CFM, there is a rather wide margin to differentiate between fans. It ranges anywhere from 25 to 70 dBA in common tower fans. Just so you have an idea of what this means, 25 dBA is about the loudness of a person whispering in a quiet room.

Again, it s easy to wonder why this information is kept quiet. Don t worry, you can stay calm; there s no need to host an awareness parade. No, really, it s ok   it s just strange, isn t it?

Perhaps the manufacturers are thinking they shouldn't overload us with more information about something as simple as a fan. That even makes some sense. Though, as a rule, I usually prefer too much information to too little.

It's frustrating, right? This lack of information. You may be thinking: Oh no! I ll never be able to choose the best fan; I may as well move my family to a colder climate so I don t have to even think about it.

I m glad you re not really thinking that, but to avoid such drastic measures, there are a couple simple procedures that will help you to get the job done when choosing a fan. First of all, if you are buying from a retailer, just test a few out. You won t replicate what it will feel and sound like in your home, but it ll get you close.

If you are buying online and you want to make sure you re getting close to what you want, then send an email off to the seller or manufacturer. Enough manufacturers test the information that if you happen to find one that doesn t know, it s no problem. There are many fish in the residential-fan sea.

Now you re all set to purchase a feature-laden fan that will keep you cool for years, and learning how to get it wasn t complicated at all, was it?

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