Choosing a new pair of running shoes can be a rather overwhelming experience- with literally hundreds of different shoes out there to choose from, the task can easily move to downright daunting. As a certified athletic trainer, and an employee at a running specialty store, it is my goal to make it as easy as possible for my customers to choose the correct shoe for their particular biomechanics.
When stopping by for a fitting, I would suggest calling ahead if you have any current injuries or chronic problems; some examples would include plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, stress fractures, tendinitis, shin splints, bunions, etc. By calling ahead, you can assure yourself a little extra time one on one with an employee to determine if there are any special needs for your shoes, such as insoles or arch pads. Also, allow yourself approximately 45-60 minutes for a first-time fitting. You don't want to feel rushed during the process, or feel like you have to settle for a pair of shoes because you don't have the time to try them on.
When preparing for a trip to your local running store, make sure to bring a few things with you. First, bring your current running shoes- the older, the better. We use the old shoes to look at the wear patterns on the tread, and just to see what type of shoe you are purchasing. I typically ask customers what they like and dislike about their current shoes, because it helps to guide me towards what brands and styles that may be similar. Secondly, bring comfortable clothing, and the socks you most often wear when you run; most stores will have you test-run any new shoes, and this will keep you comfortable. Lastly, bring any special orthotics, heel lifts or insoles if you require them- this will ensure a proper fit with your new shoes, and aid in determining how much arch support is derived from your orthotics, versus the shoe alone.
Upon meeting a new customer, I generally will sit down and talk to them before even thinking about what shoes I would recommend. I ask them about their current training regimen; what distances they are running, what surfaces they are running on (treadmill, road, track, etc.), and if they are training for a particular upcoming race. Understanding the goals of the athlete is a very important step in determining the type of shoe. I also discuss any past medical history that would pertain to the athlete's feet or biomechanics.
The next step that I use at my store is to have the customer walk and/or jog on a treadmill without shoes. This is to determine the shape of a person's arches while in motion, and to see what their individual gait pattern looks like. In doing a gait analysis, I am able to determine if a customer is a pronator, supinator, or if there are any biomechanical irregularities, such as walking with one leg externally rotated, possibly indicating a leg length discrepancy. I watch the customer from the front, back and sides to view their gait pattern from heel strike through to toe-off.
Watching a customer's gait pattern then helps me determine what category of shoes would be best suited for that individual. There are three basic categories in running shoes; cushion, stability and motion control. Each category is determined by the amount of arch support in the shoe. From there, I finally am able to pull a few different shoes for the customer to try on; each shoe company uses their own technologies- from the type of cushion system they use, to the construction of the last, so I try to utilize examples from a few different brands, and ask for feedback from the customer to help fine tune the best feel for them.
After we find a shoe that feels comfortable to the customer, I go through a final checklist of sorts. I check the length and width of the shoe, and make sure there are no pressure points that can cause blisters. I ask the customer if the arch of the shoe is comfortable, and make sure that their heels are held snugly in place while walking. The final step is to get the customer back onto the treadmill (or head outside if possible) with the shoes on, and I watch them walk/jog again, to make sure their gait pattern is neutral, and also to do a final check on any biomechanical issues (such as over-pronation) that were corrected with the shoes.
Whether you are a beginning runner, or a seasoned marathoner, I highly recommend that when it comes time for a new pair of running shoes, you visit a running specialty store. Get to know the employees that work there; find out what their educational backgrounds are, and see what kind of training programs they follow. A running specialty store can be an invaluable resource for training tips, nutritional information, technical running apparel, safety while running, and injury prevention. There are also many running stores out there that have running clubs that meet at the store, and some that even run races as a group. Remember, having the correct pair of running shoes can absolutely make the difference between completing your first marathon, or ending up on the injured reserve. Happy feet make happy runners!
Helpful Selection Tips for Purchasing Ceiling Fans So, now that you are interested in a ceiling fan you need to be aware of the factors that should influence your decision. Our guide will walk you through:
Why You Should Choose a Ceiling Fan
How to Choose the Correct Ceiling Fan
How to Install a Ceiling Fan If you are unsure of the size or style ceiling fan that will best suit your home, or you are just looking for inspiration, browse our guide for ideas and suggestions.
Why You Should Choose a Ceiling Fan
Instead of being bothered by that looming air conditioner that blocks your view, a ceiling fan will bring a noticeable difference to the cooling of your home. The natural breeze of a ceiling fan can make a room feel 2-8 degrees cooler instead of the unnatural chill of an air conditioner. Ceiling fans are also energy efficient as they work at a lower operating cost than any other cooling device.
Ceiling fans usually replace a central light so most ceiling fans come with built-in lighting or an optional ceiling fan lighting kit. If the fan does not include lighting, you can usually purchase a ceiling fan lighting kit that will complement your fan. Many fans also come with ceiling fan accessories such as a remote control, dimmer switch, or automatic controls that allow for easy operation while enhancing the value of your purchase. If your ceiling fan does not include a remote control, you can purchase one at your local hardware store.
How to Choose the Correct Ceiling Fan
Selecting the perfect ceiling fan isn't just about choosing the right color or style. There are a few factors that must influence your decision in order to get the maximum efficiency and enjoyment from your ceiling fan.
You should begin your search by deciding where the fan will be installed. Most ceiling fans are placed in the center of the room, allowing smooth air flow throughout all corners of the room. However, for optimal air flow, larger rooms may be better suited with two ceiling fans. For safety reasons, a ceiling fan should not be hung over a bed. Additional room requirements that should influence your decision are: Room Size - 30" ceiling fan for rooms up to 8' x 10' (small bedrooms, walk-in closets, smaller kitchens)
- 42" ceiling fan for rooms up to 12' x 12' (medium bedrooms, kitchens, small recreation areas)
- 52" ceiling fan for rooms up to 18' x 20' (large bedrooms, family rooms, great rooms, dining rooms)
Ceiling Height - Low ceiling: Combo mount or hugger ceiling fan without down rod - Standard 8' ceiling: Combo mount ceiling fan with down rod - 9' or Higher ceiling: Ceiling fan with extended down rod - Sloped ceiling: Ceiling fan with extended down rod
You will need to check the floor to ceiling height for the proper placement of fan blades. Make sure you take into account the distance that the fan hangs from the ceiling. For safety, a minimum height of 7'-9' is recommended. If your fan does not meet the 7' recommendation, you can look into a low-ceiling mount. Building codes in your area may reinforce this. For optimum air circulation, it is most efficient to have the fan blade 8' to 9' above the floor. For higher ceilings see the chart for recommended down rod length.
Since ceiling fans require the same amount of power as most ceiling lighting fixtures, the electrical circuit shouldn't be overloaded. If the fan includes a light fixture, ensure that the circuit is able to handle both the fan and light. If your circuit will not hold this capacity, then a new circuit must be run from the home's main panel to the fan. If there was not a pre-existing fixture, you will need to create a place to hang the fan. If your home is not wired properly, some fans do have swag wiring that can be plugged into a wall outlet, but ceiling installation is preferred. It is easiest to install ceiling bracing and electrical wiring during new home construction even if you will be installing a fan at a later time. Consulting an electrician is always your best option.
Additional Ceiling Fan Tips
Be sure to decide whether you want the fan to be a focal point or to blend into the ceiling
Ceiling fans should run clockwise in winter and counterclockwise in summer
For exterior installation be sure that all fan components are weatherproof
Choose fans built for damp or wet environments if shopping for a bathroom, kitchen or exterior space
Ceiling fans will not remove humidity from the air
Consult an electrician to ensure the ceiling is able to support the additional weight
Look for the Energy Star label which indicates that air moves 20 percent more efficiently than other models
How to Install a Ceiling Fan
Now that you have selected your fan, next comes the assembly and installation. Our guide has laid out the basic steps of installation, but unless you have experience with electrical wiring, you should always consult an electrician. In making your decision between hiring a professional or the do-it-yourself method, please review these facts about electrical safety:
Use extra care when working with electricity. Even less current than it takes to light a 60-watt bulb can be lethal.
All wiring should conform to local electrical codes as well as to the current National Electrical Code (NEC).
Never trust a light switch to render a fixture "dead," because sometimes the power enters at the fixture, even when the switch is located in the circuit beyond it.
Turn off the circuit you're working on by switching off a circuit breaker or by unscrewing a fuse.
Make sure the circuit is truly "dead" before touching any wires or terminals. Check with a high-voltage neon tester. Test from the black wires to a grounded metal box or other good ground, then to the white wires. Also test from the white wires to a ground. Since there may be more than one circuit inside an outlet box, before you take off a cover, see that all of its circuits are off. Also, be sure your tester is functioning by first trying it in a live receptacle.
Test your finished work with the power on using the neon tester. Check black to white and black to a ground. It should light. Test white to ground as it should not light.
If you aren't knowledgeable about working around electricity or do not feel comfortable, call in a professional.
Instructions will vary from one manufacturer to another, but the basic steps you will follow are:
Remove the existing light fixture
Make sure the existing electrical box is secure enough to support the extra weight of a fan
Assemble the fan and install it
If you have chosen to do the installation your self, these 8 steps will guide you on your way. Step 1: Turn off the power
Turn off the power to the light's circuit breaker or fuse at the service panel. Once this is done, only then should you remove the light fixture. This can be tested by flipping wall switches or using a circuit tester on the actual light fixture. If there is a pre-existing fixture, remove it and disconnect the wiring. You will also need to remove the old support brace from the electrical box and fasten the new mounting bracket. Keep the wire nuts that hold the existing wires together as they can be reused. Step 2: Determine the Center of the Room
If there is no central light fixture, snap diagonal chalk lines from opposite corners of the room to find its center. Determine whether the lines cross exactly below a ceiling joist. If they do, move aside just far enough between the joists to fasten the side of the fan's new junction box directly to the joist. Step 3: Install the Junction Box
Cut a hole large enough for the junction box to be slipped in. Again, if it's next to the joist, drill holes in its side and screw it to the joist. Installation between joists is fine.
Fasten the junction box to a 2" x 4" header nailed between the joists. It is also possible to insert a 2" x 4" header through the junction box's hole, nailing it to each joist. If not, you may need to open a larger access hole.
Use only a metal junction box to support a ceiling fan, never hang the fan from a plastic box. Depending on the brand, style, and size of your ceiling fan, and your electrical code, you may use a 4" or 3" octagonal junction box. However, some local codes don't permit the use of 3" boxes.
The heaviest fan that should be supported by a junction box is 35 pounds. If it weighs more, the building structure must support it. All fans create vibrations when running, so your mount must be able to withstand the vibrations.
If you can't reach the box, such as when working through a first-floor ceiling in a 2-story home, a specialized fan support unit designed to be inserted through the normal junction box hole will save you from opening a hole in the ceiling. Retrofit fan-support boxes are available at most hardware stores.
When mounting to a beamed ceiling there are different mounts for horizontal and pitched beams. You may need an extender to lower the fan to the proper level. Proper mounting is extremely important because failure to make all components secure could cause your fan to fall from the ceiling. Step 4: Wire the Ceiling Fan
To ensure the electrical box is mounted securely, it should be mounted to a wooden or metal frame (kits can be purchased to add additional support). Screws must be as tight as possible because loose attachments in may cause the fan to wobble and cause excess noise or wear.
While working on the wiring, use the ?wiring hook? that is provided to hang the fan.
Attach the wires by following the standard color coding system: white to white, black or blue to black or blue, green to ground (green or bare copper). Cover each connection with a securely screwed-on wire nut. Keep extra wiring out of the way by pushing it into the electrical box.
Step 5: Assemble the Ceiling Fan
Follow the specific instructions of the manufacturer first. Most fan blades have a two-pronged attachment, using screws that come through holes in the blades and into the prongs. These need to be drawn up securely, but not so tightly that the threads are damaged or the laminated blade material is crushed.
On many fans, you'll find that the prongs also need to be mounted to the motor housing. If this is the case, mount them before the prongs are mounted to the blades themselves.
Once you start mounting the blade/bracket assemblies to the fan motor, you may need 3 or 4 hands as it can be an awkward job.
The manufacturer's instructions may say otherwise, but if the fan blades are less than a screwdriver's length away from the ceiling, it may be best to install the blades before hanging the fan.
Some fans use a "speed ring" which allows you to assemble the blades on the floor and then attach them to the motor after it has been installed on the ceiling. To do this: Fasten each blade to the speed ring, then attach the assembled ring to the motor unit using rubber grommets and fastening screws.
Attach the cover over the speed ring and install the decorative cover plate. Step 6: Install the Ceiling Fan Fan
Install the hanger bracket on the box with screws and lock washers. If no lock washers are supplied, you should purchase some as they prevent fan vibrations from loosening the screws over time.
The hanger bracket may accept either a half-ball hanger or a hook-type hanger, depending on your fan. Either way, the hanger is carefully slipped into the bracket.
Attach the fan canopy to the fan motor housing by screwing the mounting ring in place. If you have high ceilings, you may also want to attach a hanger pipe.
Hang the assembled motor unit from the two hooks on the mounting bracket.
Reconnect the wires, starting with the ground wire.
Be sure to connect the black house wires to the black fan wires, and the white house wires to the white fan wires.
Connect the ground wires from the box, the fan and the power supply together with a wire nut.
Tuck all wires inside the canopy and secure the canopy to the mounting bracket.
After completing the wiring the ceiling cover is slipped up to its full height and tightened in place.
Attach the fan motor to the mounting bracket with the provided screws. Turn the power back on and make sure the connections are good - remember to have both the wall switch and the pull-cord switch on the fan in the "On" position.
You can easily install a ceiling fan light kit, loosen the screws that hold the cap on the fan's switch housing bracket on the bottom. With the cap removed, you'll see a bundle of wires. Of these wires, two will be labeled for use with the light kit. One will be white (neutral) and the other will be black, red or blue (hot).
Before wiring the lamp, however, install the adapter ring included with the ceiling fan kit bracket. The adapter serves as a reducing ring for the lamp housing. Attach the adapter ring with the screws provided.
Pull the two labeled wires through the adapter ring, lift the lamp and make the wiring connections. Join the two white wires with a wire connector and the fixture's black wire to the remaining labeled wire bracket. Fasten the light kit to the fan with the screws provided. Step 8: Prepare Your Ceiling Fan for Action
Turn the ceiling fan motor on, and set the fan to its highest speed
Turn off the power at the circuit breaker
Turn the power back on; test the fan again
Look for wobbling or excessive noise that can usually be corrected by pushing the unit gently until it hangs level
It is also possible to use a swag wiring kit for super-easy installation and a degree of portability in a ceiling fan. This does not require ceiling wiring.
Once the swag kit is wired into the fan, follow the fan assembly of the manufacturer. The fan can then be attached to the ceiling. Swag wires are hung by u-hooks and can be plugged into an electrical outlet.
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