What is the difference between wet rated and damp rated fans?

Wet rated and damp rated are ratings given by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for outdoor ceiling fans.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent organization that tests and rates the safety of electrical equipment. The ratings given by this organization is used as a safety standard in the USA and also in some other countries, and are popularly known as UL rated or UL listed.

Wet rated vs damp rated

A wet rated fan is one that can withstand long and direct exposure to water whereas a damp rated fan is one that can withstand long exposure to moisture but not water.

Let me explain in detail;

A wet rated fan is designed to keep out water and moisture from its electrical components and casing. Such ceiling fans come with rubber/silicone sealings around and inside the casing to make sure no water or moisture enters in it. Its electrical components as well are sealed. So these fans can be used even in areas where they come in direct contact with water; like rain and snow. You can also easily wash them with a garden hose without worrying about damaging any of its components.

A damp rated fan is designed to withstand the moisture content in the air but it doesn’t come with any water-resistant sealing to prevent damage from direct exposure to water.

Wet rated fans are ideal for locations like;

  • open gazebos
  • porches
  • pergolas
  • open patio etc

Damp rated fans are best for locations like;

  • porches
  • covered patios
  • kitchens
  • bathrooms etc

The blades of wet rated fans are usually made of ABS plastic. This material can withstand harsh climatic conditions without rusting or warping. For wet rated fans used in salt air areas, their blades are made of Stainless Steel.

Some damp rated fans also use ABS blades. But they also use wood and other materials. The blades of both wet and damp rated fans are protected against moisture.

In terms of pricing, wet rated fans are usually priced higher than damp rated ones due to the complexity in providing water resistance. So if you are thinking of buying a wet rated ceiling fan where a damp rated fan will suffice think again. Both wet and damp rated fans can be used in damp indoor areas but a wet rated fan won’t outdo a damp rated one in such conditions. Also, damp rated fans have far more models than wet rated ones. So unless you have a real reason to go for a wet rated fan for an indoor location always buy a damp rated one.

Also, consider the following situation while deciding between a wet and a damp-rated fan; normally, for a covered gazebo you need a wet rated fan but depending on the wind conditions the fan may get wet. If that’s the case a damp rated fan won’t see many days, you will have to go with a wet rated fan. The same goes for verandas, porches and other covered areas.

Can I use a wet rated fan indoors?

Of course, you can, but as I said above they cost more so it doesn’t make much sense to use them. But in some cases, for eg: a closed shower area, the fan may get wet. So for such indoor locations, you can use a wet rated fan.

Are downrods also UL rated

Yes, downrods are UL rated too. The downrod that is coming with a fan is rated the same as the fan. For eg: if you purchase a damp rated fan the downrod coming with it will be damp rated. But in many cases, you will have to buy a shorter/longer downrod separately, so in such cases make sure to buy one that has the same UL rating as the fan.

What is the UL rating for indoor fans

Indoor fans are ‘dry rated’, or they are simply called UL rated.

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