The truth about ceiling fans

I received this email from a customer through our contact page and I thought I would share my answer with everyone:

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From: Teri

Subject: ceiling fans

Message: Do ceiling fans help your electric bill with your air con or hurt in the long run.

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Dear Teri

Ceiling fans have the potential to save you energy, but like many things, it's all in how you use them.  

It's important to remember that ceiling fans do not cool the air - they only move it.  They make  us feel cooler because the air blowing across our skin helps evaporate more perspiration which makes you cooler, but does nothing for the air.  So, fans can save you money if you do a number of things:

  • If you use fans instead of air conditioning on mild spring/fall days, it will use less energy than running the air conditioning and save you money as a result.
  • If running fans enables you to be comfortable while setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer, they can possibly save you money, depending on things like how many degrees, how many fans you run, and how efficient the fans are.
  • You need to turn off the fans in rooms that no one is in.  This will save you more than if they’re all running – because fans don’t cool the air -- in fact they’re adding heat with the energy they’re using, so turn them off when you’re not there.

Following those guidelines should help get you some energy savings while keeping you comfortable.  However, fans can actually cost you more money if you don’t change the thermostat temperature setpoint at all AND run them in all the rooms.  Also, all fans are not created equal, if you're thinking about installing new fans, try to get Energy Star Rated fans that can be up to 50% more efficient than non-qualified models.  

Ceiling_fan.jpg

Probably not Energy Star qualified...

If you're looking to save energy this summer, fans are just one of the many ways.  Here are some other ideas for you:

1. Install a programmable thermostat - having the ability to change the temperature setting in your home when you're away or sleeping can make a big difference in your energy bill.  The government estimates as much as $180 (enough to buy some ceiling fans!).  Newer thermostats are simple to program and many come pre-programmed to energy star guidelines!

2. Get your air conditioner cleaned and checked.  Regular maintenance of your HVAC equipment can make sure the coils are clean and the refrigerant charge is correct.  Improper refrigerant charge can make your equipment work harder (using more energy) and shorten its life.  Take good care of your equipment and it should take good care of you.

3. Change your air filter - a clogged filter will make your furnace blower work much harder than it needs to and might even cause your coil to freeze up if your A/C is running.  Standard 1" filters should be changed every month during the summer when your equipment is running almost non-stop.

4. Plant some shade trees - it's going to take longer to see these results, but keeping the sun off your house will reduce the cooling load and save you energy while making your home a more pleasant place to live

I hope that helps and if you (or anyone else) has anymore questions, feel free to comment here or send another note via the contact form

Thanks

Kevin

p.s. for additional information about the same subject I found this article to be very infomative as well