Hunter Ceiling Fan - The Stanford Reviews

Hunter Ceiling Fan - The Stanford

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Hunter 20725 5-blade 54" Ceiling Fan w/light kit - The Stanford

Aug 3, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:air movement at low speed, blade size, style and color

Cons:quality (expected better), tech support, wobble-free feature comes with restrictions

The Bottom Line: A very good fan for low speed, but you may be paying for features you don't or CAN'T use.


The 13 year old 52" ceiling fan in our 16x18 ft bedroom with 9 ft ceiling started giving us problems, so it was time to consider a new one. Our primary requirement was to have a decent amount of air flow at a "low" speed setting to provide a gentle but cooling breeze while we slept (we keep the A/C thermostat at 86F at night). With our existing fan, we would wake up during the night and wonder if it was even on (we believe the fan slowed down after being on for x number of hours). We needed more air or we would have to lower the thermostat. The latter was not an option, and the medium speed of our existing fan was noisy and moved too much air.

We ATTEMPTED to do on-line research ceiling fan air movement volume, but were quickly disappointed when the only information we found was for "high" speed, so it was off to visit local Home Depot and Lowe's stores.

Commentary: it's sad in this day and age that you have to go to an actual store in order to research products, but this was the ONLY way we could compare air movement of ceiling fans. All the fans we looked at in the stores had air movement volume listed on their boxes for low, medium, and high speeds, as well as power consumption for those speeds. So... if you are in the market for a ceiling fan and air movement is important to you, prepare yourself for a 2-3 hour outing just to compile facts and figures.

We settled on the Hunter 20725 The Stanford because it had a low power consumption on low speed (~10 Watt), but a higher Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) value when compared to many other fans. We also thought The Stanford's 54" diameter sweep would take less number of revolutions to move air than a fan with 52" diameter, thus making it quieter.

Nearly all of the Hunter fans we saw had low speed CFM values of 1700 or less, with a few down around 1200. We had NO idea what to compare them to, as the fan we had didn't have any CFM values listed on the box (yeah we found the box). So we were buying "blind".

Other manufactures had values of 1900 to 2100 CFM for low. We had no idea if that meant it would be too much movement or not.

The final decision was made based on the Hunter "reputation", and all the good PR we have heard. We have 6 ceiling fans in our home, and none have ever been a Hunter, mainly because of price. Of course, fans that are $50-$80 a lot of times have issues with noise, wobble, etc. So we HOPED the $139 we paid for The Stanford would come without those issues.

On the box

The Stanford(TM) Perfect Balance(TM) Fan 
54 in. New Bronze Ceiling Fan with Light

Model: 20725   (Lowe's) Item Number: 234571 

UPC: 049694 207258

Speed    CFM   CFM/Watt 
low         1891    180 
medium  3204    123 
high        5776     91  

Bullet points listed in various places on the box

- Guaranteed Not to Wobble with Perfect Balance(TM) Self-Adjusting Blade Balancing System. Hunter's exclusive Control Ring technology instantly senses balance issues and automatically corrects the blade position to eliminate wobble with every rotation.

- Save up to 47% on your cooling costs; The 3e(TM) Advantage - Energy Efficiency Everyday(TM) - By installing and using your fan year-round, you can save up to 47% on our cooling costs, and up to 15% on our heating costs.

- Lifetime Limited Warranty

- Serenity Speed; In addition to low, medium, and high speeds, serenity speed produces a uniquely soothing breeze, while graceful blade movement creates a luxurious look and mood for any room.

- Powerful WhisperWind(TM) Motor; For Years of Quiet Reliability

- Wobble-Free(TM) and Quiet; The patented Perfect Balance(TM) system constantly and automatically adjusts blades for optimized performance on downrods up to 6 in. in length. For 12 in. or longer downrod applications, some manual balancing may be required.

- 5 Walnut/Northern Red Oak Reversible Blades

- Can Be Installed With or Without Light Kit; uses Three 60 Watt Candelabra Bulbs (included)

- 2-Position Mounting - Standard and Angled; 2.5 in. and 6 in. Downrods Included

Fan Dimensions:           Flush    Std 2.5" downrod   Angled 36" downrod
Ceiling to Fan Bottom       --         14.20"                   47.20"
Ceiling to Blade Bottom    --         12.70"                   45.70"
Ceiling to Light Bottom     --         19.60"                   52.60"
(36" downrod NOT included)

- WARNING staetment: Support Directly from Building Structure.

In the box

Besides the hardware of the fan and the associated bolts, rubber grommets, candelabra light bulbs, etc, these written documents were also included:

- "Type 2 Models Owner's Guide and Installation Manual"
  Form# 42790-01
  20080925

- "Parts guide: Model# 20725 Asm Dwg# 98853-01  Finish: New Bronze"
  Form 98000-01-907
  09-10-2008

- "Preparing the Fan Site" 2 page document
  Form 41681-01
  02/20/04

- "Perfect Balance system" new feature page
  Form 42849-01
  r021308

- "Do not return to store! (if bulb is broken)" small 1 page note
  Form 42861
  09/18/08

- Registration cards (1 English, 1 Spanish) with Lifetime Limited Warranty

Light kit

The light kit bowl is frosted and has a slight brownish tint to it (it was listed as "amber gradated scavo glass" at the website). It is about 12.5" in diameter and open to the ceiling. The 3 candelabra bulbs screw in horizontally to the center shaft and are spaced equally apart at 60 degrees.

I'm not sure I believe Hunter's claims of 47% savings on cooling costs. With 180W used for the lights (plus the heat produced by them), I would bet that the energy savings is eaten up by the cost to use the incandescent light bulbs. We wondered why they didn't use CFLs in the kit. I DID buy a 4-pack of soft white Bright Effects candelabra CFL bulbs and have used them in place of the incandescent bulbs Hunter included. But, with the frosted glass and low wattage of the CFLs there is not a lot of light produced, but we accept that (for now).

Installation

The fan was installed in the existing location of the previous fan. A 24" downrod had to be purchased, in order to match the new bronze color (old fan was polished brass).

The Instruction Manual was pretty good; detailed steps, and many drawings. A few exceptions are noted later. From start to "finish", about 5 hours were spent installing it. My "excessive" installation time was partially due to interruptions, and partially due to not paying attention to the details. For example, the ceiling outlet where the fan was to be mounted is at the foot of our (immovable) bed, so I can only access it from one side on a step ladder. My first installation attempt positioned the ceiling mounting plate with the J-shaped hook (to hold the canopy, downrod, and fan motor while wiring up the fan at the ceiling) on the wrong side, so when I went to wire up the fan, the canopy was in my way of getting to the wires.

In-Use

There's not a whole lot to say about the fan in use. The fan moves air, the lights work, it does it's job. My wife really likes the look of the fan, which is a flat finish and dark brown. She likes the light bowl for its color and style. There are rumblings from her about replacing other fans with ones of this color.

Issues

1) It was NOT obvious on the box that there were RESTRICTIONS to the "perfect balance" system. I didn't realize that until we got the fan home and I read the manual. As I use a 24" downrod, this feature was a WASTE of money to me. If Hunter had put a disclaimer "*" next to the "Perfect Balance Fan" words on the box, I probably would have found the fine print, which would have helped in our purchase decision. So if you are going to buy this in hopes of not having to manually balance the blades, makes SURE you can use one of the provided downrods.

2) Wobble. The first installation produced quite a bit of wobble on high and medium speed. The included wobble kit instructions lacked a lot to be desired. There was no mention of checking the height of each blade from the ceiling. There was no mention of weighing each blade assembly.

A call to Hunter's technical support did little good. The person I got had very little useful knowledge about fans and wobble issues. I asked if I should shim the blade assemblies because the blades were a different height from the ceiling, I got a useless response that didn't even answer the question. When I asked to speak to someone more knowledgeable, I got put on hold back into the queue for some OTHER tech support person. I hung up because I had waited 15 minutes the first time.

I talked myself out of trying to get the blades the same distance from the ceiling, so I went the route of the blade weight.  After trying the kit's plastic weight on all 5 blades one at a time and then in various positions on the leading edge of the blade that appeared to produce the least amount of wobble, (but still didn't eliminate the wobble), I decided to take ALL blade assemblies off and start over. That was an ordeal because I had to take the fan's light and switch housing off just to get the blade assemblies off. I weighed each assembly with a postage scale, and then re-attached them so that two blades that appeared to weigh less than the other three were (sort of) opposite from each other. That helped a lot, but it was not perfect. Using the weight on all 5 blades one at a time again, there was still no less wobble than with no weight at all, so I used no weights. We are living with a small amount of wobble on high and medium. This process took well over 1.5 hours to get the fan to a "minimum" wobble condition. Plus it was a 2-person task, one to turn the wall switch on, the other to switch the weight.

3) Hum from the fan motor. We use the fan mainly on low speed, and can hear an audible hum from the motor. It is not 60 cycle hum, it is a higher frequency. Fortunately it is not too loud, but it is there and I know it. It has not kept us awake, so again we are "living with it".

4) The fan speed pull chain/switch. This is a HORRIBLE design! The fan speed switch is on the side of the switch housing. That's typical. But, because the light bowl is large, Hunter uses a 3" diameter cover plate at the bottom of the bowl with two holes in it; one in the center for the light switch pull chain, and the other out from the center about 1" for the fan speed pull chain.  You have to thread the pull chain down from the switch housing through an opening in the light kit bracket and then down through this offset opening in the bottom plate. There is an effective angle of more than 90 degrees now for the pull chain coming out of the switch. This makes it very difficult to pull, and we cannot tell if we are switching speeds when pulling on the chain! There is WAY too much effort required to switch the fan speed.

5) Working with the light kit bowl is another 2-person task. It takes one person to hold the bowl while the other tries to thread the two chains down through the bottom cover plate and screw on the bottom plug (Hunter calls it a "finial"). We just hope we don't need to take the bowl off very often.

6) Serenity speed. This is just another waste of money in our opinion. It will serve no purpose for us, except to frustrate us when we are wanting to switch from low to high (due to issue 4). Others may find it to their liking if they want the "luxurious look and mood" that Hunter mentions on the box. It does NOT move air unless you are directly under it, and then it is BARELY felt.

Bottom line

In the end, The Stanford turned out to be more expensive than we wanted to spend, plus I feel we paid for features such as the auto-balance and serenity speed that cannot or will not be used. I am really disappointed in the quality of various aspects of the fan (mentioned previously in Issues). I really feel that this fan is NOT one of Hunter's better products, based on information at their web site and from talking to others who have Hunter fans.

But then, the wife really likes the color and the light bowl.  Most importantly, she likes the air movement on low speed. Now that the wobble is at a reasonable amount, and we have adjusted to the motor noise, this is probably a keeper, because she feels that any other fan with a CFM lower than this will not be sufficient.

$139 for the fan
$  12 for the 24" downrod
$  13 for the 4-pack of CFL candelabra light bulbs
  ----
$164 total (+ tax); 

But... happiness of the wife - priceless, and that counts the most.


Recommend this product? Yes

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