What You Should Know About Ceiling Fans and Energy Usage in Your Home

One of the things Sonoma County residents and visitors like about this area is its moderate temperatures. That said, those heat waves can be brutal. Driving to our beautiful coast every time the temperature rises above the 80s is not a sustainable, daily solution. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already decided it makes more sense to do something about regulating the interior temperature of your home. 

Your primary concern is the heat, but you’re energy conscious too, so naturally you might be wondering if installing a ceiling fan in your home will be an energy-efficient solution. 

Well, you’ll be glad to hear that the short answer is yes, ceiling fans are a great energy-efficient cooling option for your home! For the long answer, plus tips on how to get the most energy saving using ceiling fans in your home, read on!

How Much Energy Does a Ceiling Fan Use?

Depending on manufacturer and size, ceiling fans run on 42 – 100 watts of energy. Based on the typical electrical rate ($0.12996/kWh) for Sonoma County residents it’s estimated to cost less than a penny per hour to run a 75-watt ceiling fan. 

Though different brands and designs vary, a good rule of thumb is, the bigger the fan, the more electricity it uses. You will also want to consider the amount of energy it takes to run your fans at different speeds. The faster the fan spins, the more watts it will require. 

Pro Energy Saving Tip: Ceiling fans with an Energy Star rating are 40% more energy efficient than ceiling fans that don’t meet that EPA energy efficiency guideline!

How Do Ceiling Fans Save Energy?

The main reason ceiling fans save energy is simple: By moving the air around a room, the fan makes the air feel cooler than the actual temperature. The reason why a room feels colder with the fan running has to do with the wind chill factor. 

Ceiling Fan Wind Chill 

If you look at your weather app, you’ll probably see a “feels-like” number–that is the wind chill effect. Wind chill is when moving air causes perspiration to evaporate from the surface of your body faster, which makes you feel cooler. Think of it like a nice breeze on a hot summer day. The wind isn’t actually any cooler, but it definitely makes the heat much more tolerable.

This same idea can be applied to ceiling fans. By blowing air around, ceiling fans naturally make the moisture on your skin evaporate faster, reducing your body heat. The more sweat that evaporates on your skin, the cooler you feel.

Circulation is key

It’s all about circulating the air to keep you feeling cooler. Feeling cooler, in the end is what matters. According to the US Department of Energy, installing a ceiling fan in your home can allow you to raise the temperature setting on your air conditioner as much as four degrees, without losing comfort. For every degree you raise your air conditioner, the more you’re saving on energy. 

Getting the Most Savings and Benefit

When it comes to conserving energy and cooling your home with ceiling fans, the two biggest considerations are where you install it and how you use it.

Where to install your ceiling fan

To start, consider which rooms in your home would benefit most with the addition of a ceiling fan. Remember, fans cool people. Put them in the busiest rooms of your home and where your family spends the most time:

  • Bedrooms
  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Etc.

Having a ceiling fan installed in the most efficient location will help maximize the airflow in a room making it feel cooler. In most instances, you’ll want to install your ceiling fan in the middle of the room, but there are other considerations. 

For the bedroom, a fan will be most effective mounted over the bed. Likewise, in a dining room, installing a fan over the table is going to be the most effective spot, even if it’s not in the middle of the room.

Using a Ceiling Fan to Compliment your home A/C

Ceiling fans are a perfect compliment to your air conditioning and should be used in tandem for the most benefit on hot days. 

Likewise, when the sun sets and the outside temperature is cooler than that inside, you likely turn off the A/C and open your windows to bring some of that cooler air inside. Opening windows on opposite walls helps to get a cross breeze (wind chill). A ceiling fan can help draw that cooler air in and keep it circulating for maximum comfort. 

When you do this overnight, you’ll wake up to a cool house, again saving energy, because your air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard or kick on as early. 

More ways to save energy using a ceiling fan:

  • The direction your fan is turning makes a difference, too. For maximum cooling effect, make sure that the blades are spinning in a counterclockwise direction in the summer and clockwise in the winter. 
  • Your ceiling fan will draw more current on high than on low. Use a low setting when it’s sufficient to keep you comfortable in a room. 
  • Like the habit of turning lights off when leaving a room, acquire the habit of turning your fan off when you exit as well. Remember, it doesn’t cool the room, just the people. 

A Simple Way to Save Energy 

For less than a penny per hour, you can enjoy the cooling breeze of a ceiling fan while using significantly less energy. Installing ceiling fans in your home can be one of the most energy-effective solutions to cooling your home. Contact our team of professional residential electricians at Schafer Electrical Services, Inc. to schedule a home energy consultation today.

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