It’s easy to take our ceiling fans for granted. There they are, spinning around up there on the ceiling, creating a little breeze. However, many of us aren’t aware that our ceiling fans can do more than cool us down. With the right settings and use, they could also warm us up in the cold season and save energy. Saving energy means saving money and also helping the environment.
How Ceiling Fans Work
It’s a common misconception to think ceiling fans cool the air in a room like AC. In fact, ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air in a room. Fans cool people by making waves in the stagnant air that typically surrounds us. This air flow allows our bodies to release more heat. The moving air also creates a wind-chill effect on the skin, allowing people and animals in the room to feel cooler without lowering temperatures. They kind of trick us into feeling cooler.
Since they don’t cool a space on their own or make air cooler over time, turning fans on as soon as you step into a room makes sense. Leaving your ceiling fans on while you’re away, as many of us do by mistake or to save time, is just a waste of energy.
Most ceiling fans have clockwise and counterclockwise directional settings. What many of us don’t know is that each of these settings is optimal for a different season. Which direction is meant for which season can actually differ from one fan to the next, because it actually depends on the alignment of the blades, which can vary by manufacturer. Running fans on high and pushing air downward in a counterclockwise direction is perfect for achieving the wind-chill effect, while letting them circulate at a low speed clockwise, pulling air upward and outward warms during colder months. Since warm air rises, the fan’s function in the winter is to move it down from the ceiling towards table and chair levels.
Your fan has settings designed for different weather conditions. However, chances are, during the hottest and coldest months, ceiling fans alone don’t suffice, making air conditioning or heat a necessity. Your HVAC system typically comprises the largest portion of your energy bill and, believe it or not, your ceiling fans can help with home energy efficiency. On average, an AC unit will cost you around 36 cents per hour, while a ceiling fan costs roughly one cent per hour. While it’s not always comfortable to run ceiling fans alone, when you can, you’ll save big time.
According to the US Department of Energy, running your ceiling fans and your HVAC together allows you to increase the temperature on your thermostat by four to five degrees, comfortably, when it’s hot and, conversely, decrease it by roughly the same amount when it’s cold. This can save energy and money.
At the end of the day, a ceiling fan can help maintain that delicate balance between keeping your home cool and keeping your bills low. In addition to all of these advantages, fans can add a bit of ambient light and a touch of style to a space, can be used outdoors, and can even add to the value of your home.