On an Electrical job in Darwin the other day I was talking to one of our valued repeat customers about fans and why I thought the cheaper fan that he had bought was going to cost him more money in the long run. He had called up and requested a ceiling fan replacement and was told our price and he had decided to buy a ‘stainless’ fan from a very large home hardware store as it was the same as what was initially installed and also a little cheaper. Bob is one of those people, like me, you and anyone else that likes to save a dollar where possible. So he likes to find his deals himself.
On attending his job, Bob asked us to look at his stainless fans outside on the veranda and tell him why they were rusting so badly and only 2 years old. Everything seemed to be rusted solid except for the blades. We did a comparison between his cheaper 120cm ‘stainless’ fans and the 140cm ‘industry standard’ that you would get if you bought through your Darwin or Palmerston electrician or even a wholesaler and Bob might just have turned over a new leaf.
Most of the cheaper stainless fans aren’t really all that stainless it turns out. If you run a magnet over 316L stainless (marine grade and good kitchen cookware) or even 304 stainless a magnet should not stick to the surface at all. There are full 316L stainless fans out there on the market, but for the real deal it will cost you a lot more money.
On testing Bob’s fan the only stainless components on the fan where the blades. The rest was just brushed chrome. As mentioned, on inspecting Bob’s exterior fans on the veranda, they were all totally rusted out apart from the blades. The cheaper fan had a one year warranty that: “If you wish to claim on the Warranty, you must, at your own expense, return the product or that part of the product which you believe is defective in materials and workmanship” costs you money essentially. If you pay an electrician to put the fan in, then pay them to take it down, return the fan and then pay someone to put it back in again it can get expensive. The fan was only 120cm which means it has to work that little bit harder to push the air especially with only a slight angle on the blades. Meaning the fan has a tendency to cut the air rather than push it.
We had a look at a clipsal model and the blades are 304 stainless. The body, shaft and motor are electroplated which means that it won’t rust as easily and the finish will stay in good condition,(we’ve put these up near the ocean salty breeze and they have lasted with regular cleaning) it pushes more air at 140cm with its longer and more aggressive blades and the warranty ? It’s good for 3 years, you call the manufacturer, they send out their electrician to either repair or replace at no cost to you.
At the end of the day, if you can buy quality for just a couple of dollars more, whether quality service, quality materials or quality workmanship – The choice should be easy.
By Jon Story