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I'm certainly not an expert! We have a cathedral ceiling with a suspended light and fan. Our extension rod is maybe 5' or 6'. The fan needs to be well balanced to avoid wobbling. There will be a small amount of movement but you don't want the fan taking flight on its own. Where ours is mounted on the ceiling it looks like a ball and socket instead of a flush mount.
If you are replacing an existing light fixture with a fan/light, you need to ensure the electrical box is the kind that can support the extra weight.
I have installed a few ceiling fans, and was plesantly suprised at how easy it really was. The ones I installed had the ability to just "hook" the fairly small fan motor onto the ceiling box, then you wired it up (and didn't have to hold anything heavy while doing the wiring). After that was done, the other pieces of the fan were added, so again, no heavy lifting involved. It was actually easier than some light fixtures I have installed. I never had problems with the balance of the fan blades -- they were all spot-on from the manufacturer.
You don't need a pull chain. If your fan doesn't have a remote, purchase a universal remote for the fan. Lowe's and Home Depot carry them. The one I have controls both the light AND the fan speeds. The light is a dimmer switch, too. Its really slick.
We just finished up a living/family room remodel. Our ceiling is 14ft at the peak. We ended up with a 72" Hunter fan with a 3ft stem. The fan does have a light. My husband also installed a remote that controls both the fan speed and the light which is quite nice to have. We originally put up a 52" fan, but it looked a bit small against the ceiling and you really couldn't feel the air flow.
We have a Casablanca fan, about 10 yrs. old, in a twelve ft. ceiling. We bought it at a specialized lighting store. The dedicated switch controls lights including brightness, fan, including speed, and direction of fan blades. We have never heard a squeak, vibration, or noise. I love it. It was installed by the contractor and electrician.