Energy Efficient Fans
Energy costs continue to rise. It becomes more and more expensive to operate air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. Yet most of us have become used to, even dependent on, these basic comforts of home. A ceiling fan might be part of the answer.
Ceiling fans can result in significant savings, whether the weather is hot or cold. One California utility company estimates that it costs about a penny per hour to run a ceiling fan. The energy consumption is comparable to that of a 100 watt light bulb. By contrast, a central air conditioner can average 43 cents per hour! You can save on this by using a room unit instead, but that can still run 16 cents an hour. Obviously, a ceiling fan is far cheaper.
It may seem that a ceiling fan that simply provides breeze and circulation can not compare with an air conditioner which actually cools the air. And on the hottest days, that is true. But for temperatures in the 80s or even 90s, many homeowners are surprised by just how effective a simple ceiling fan can be in keeping them cool.
Of course, on the hottest days, a ceiling fan may not provide enough cooling to keep you comfortable. That does not mean the ceiling fan is not worth it on those days. A ceiling fan can allow you to set your thermostat a little higher, cutting down on your energy consumption. The fan will keep the air circulating and a breeze blowing so that the net effect is you feel just as cool. The wind chill effect can make ambient temperatures feel up to 7 degrees cooler. Comfort is not a matter of what the mercury reads, it is a matter of how you feel. If you feel cooler, you are cooler. And you are saving money while you do it.
An air conditioner can leave your room with hot spots. The temptation is to set the temperature low enough so that even those spots are comfortable. A ceiling fan do away with that temptation by getting rid of the hot spots. The air conditioner puts out the cool air. Your ceiling fan makes sure that the cool air gets to you, where it can do some good.
Cheaper cooling is the most obvious reason to install a ceiling fan. We all know that a breeze makes us feel cooler on a warm day. And cooling is definitely where you will see most of your energy conservation. But that does not mean that the fan is an oversized, decorative dust catcher during the winter months. Ceiling fans can save energy on cold days as well.
It may make you shiver to think of running the ceiling fan in winter. You picture a breeze blowing past your already cold self. But you have got the picture upside down. On cold days, you reverse the direction of the blades. The fan turns in the opposite direction. It does not blow on you; it blows on the ceiling.
Why does this work? It works because hot air rises and cold air sinks. Hot air gets trapped up in the ceiling where it is no use to you as you shiver on the couch, surrounded by cold. A reversed ceiling fan draws that cold air up away from you. The cold air displaces the warm air which travels downward. This provides a constant flow of warm air without any breeze. You can set your thermostat lower when you are making use of all the warm air your heater produces.