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How to Prevent Light Strobing with HVLS Fans

We already know that HVLS ceiling fans provide a ton of benefits, including temperature regulation, energy savings, and improved employee productivity.  If you are thinking of adding an HVLS industrial ceiling fan, it's very important that your installation takes into consideration your building's lighting. The last thing you want is the rotating blades of your new commercial ceiling fan interfering with your ceiling lights. The focus of this blog is to help you prevent light strobing with your HVLS fans.

Prevent industrial ceiling fan light strobing

Placement can be a challenging issue in the process of installing an HVLS ceiling fan. Not only do you need to maximize the flow of air to the right places, but you also need to ensure that the industrial ceiling fan seamlessly coexists with the facility's ceiling lights.

If your HVLS ceiling fan is placed improperly, it can cause a problem with your lighting system called strobing. It's much easier to place your HVLS fan wisely than to fix a strobing problem after installation.

What is Strobing?

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When light shines through the pathway of moving fan blades it creates a constant dimming and brightening of the light. This phenomenon is known as strobing. At the very least strobing is an annoyance; but more importantly, strobing can cause your facility's occupants to experience dizziness and confusion.

How to Avoid Strobing with HVLS Fans

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1. Maximize horizontal separation between the blade and light

2. Increase vertical distance between the light and the blade

  • The smaller the distance between the light and the blade, the higher concentration and frequency of strobing.
  • (Measurement A in diagram)

3. Minimize light/fan overlap when separation isn’t possible

  • The closer the light is to the center of the fan, the higher the frequency of strobing.
  • (Measurement B in diagram)

Additional Tips for Coupling Lighting and HVLS Fans


  • Different kinds of light sources cause more or less strobing. Single-point fixtures and lamps beam light in a more conical shape which is more susceptible to strobing. On the other hand, longer fluorescent tubes are less vulnerable.
  • Recessed lights are particularly at risk for strobing. It can be very difficult to prevent strobing with recessed lights because they are actually slightly higher than the ceiling. Maximizing the space between the lights and the fan is critical with recessed lighting.
  • If you have a minor strobing problem and don't want to change the configuration of your HVLS fan or lighting system, try adding more ambient light to your space. This can minimize the strobing effect to the point where it does not negatively impact workers in the building
  • Many HVLS fans now offer LED lighting as an option and this can help eliminate strobing. Learn more about how HVLS fans integrate LED lighting.
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The Bottom Line


To prevent strobing in your facility, carefully consider your current lighting layout before you install your HVLS fans. It's much easier to place your HVLS fans wisely and never have to worry about strobing than to have to fix a strobing problem after installation. For other installation tips, make sure to check out our 5 most common HVLS Fan Installation Mistakes blog.

Contact us today with your questions on light strobing, and let us help you solve the issue. Our HVLS experts are happy to assist you with any of your HVLS questions.

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