How Ceiling Fans Can Help You Reduce Cooling Costs

Posted by admin on July 19, 2014, at 10:08 am

How Ceiling Fans Can Help You Reduce Cooling CostsAir circulation creates a wind-chill effect that makes you more comfortable at home. Even if you open windows or run an air conditioner, ceiling fans still play an important role in home comfort – as well as noticeably reducing cooling costs.

How Ceiling Fans Keep You Cool

While you have a number of different fans to choose from – desktop fans, box fans and osculating fans to name a few – ceiling fans are considered the most effective. Their location high above everything in the room allows for even, comfortable airflow throughout the space.

By running a ceiling fan, you create airflow that rushes over your skin, cooling you off without actually changing the temperature in the room. With this technique, you can raise the thermostat three or four degrees without feeling uncomfortable. Since ceiling fans need a fraction of the energy your air conditioner consumes, the potential for savings is clear.

Choosing Ceiling Fans for Your Home

  • Room specifications: Only install a ceiling fan if the ceiling is at least eight feet high. Fans are most effective if the blades are seven to nine feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. The blades should be no closer than 18 inches from the walls.
  • Size: The size of the room dictates the diameter the fan blades should be. A 36- to 44-inch diameter fan is ideal for rooms up to 225 square feet. Use 52-inch diameter fans in larger rooms. If the space is longer than 18 feet, consider installing more than one ceiling fan.
  • Velocity: Larger fan blades create an ample cooling effect at lower speeds. This is important to consider if you plan to install the fan in an office or other area where loose papers could go flying in a strong breeze.
  • Quality: More expensive fans tend to operate quietly, smoothly and with less electricity. These features present you with inexpensive, trouble-free operation, which could be worth a slightly higher upfront cost. Check noise ratings before you buy and look for the Energy Star label to guarantee efficient operation.

Installing a Ceiling Fan

  • Choose the right electrical box: The outlet box mounted above the ceiling should be UL-listed and labeled “for use with ceiling fans.” This box contains all the wiring you need to connect the fan. If you replace a ceiling light fixture, you most likely also need to replace the electrical box with one rated to power a ceiling fan.
  • Mount the ceiling fan: These appliances can weigh up to 50 pounds, so correct mounting is imperative for safe operation. Ideally, the fan should be mounted to a ceiling joist for stability. If a joist is not located in the center of the ceiling, special mounting brackets with spiked ends provide the stability you need.
  • Balance the fan: Your fan should come perfectly balanced out of the box. However, if the blades wobble after installation, you should be able to fix it. First check the connections. Make sure they are tight and properly aligned. Gently bend misaligned blade holders back into place. If all the blades appear to be aligned, attaching balancing clips or blade weights should fix the problem. A balancing kit usually comes included in the packaging or you can send for one free from the manufacturer.

Operating a Ceiling Fan

  • Don’t run the fan 24/7: Make it a habit to turn off the ceiling fan when everyone leaves the room. Remember, it cools you off by creating airflow, not by lowering the temperature in the room. While the appliance consumes very little electricity, you can maximize savings by avoiding needlessly running the fan when the room is empty.
  • Run the ceiling fan for year-round comfort: You may assume summer is the only appropriate time to run the ceiling fan. After all, the cool breeze is great for keeping you cool and reducing air conditioning costs. However, you can also run the fan in the winter. Reverse the direction the blades spin and run it on low. This forces warm air back down to the living space, a technique that’s particularly effective in rooms with vaulted ceilings. You likely won’t need to do this, however, if you sometimes use the ceiling fan to create a cooling breeze during our mild Texas winters.

To learn more about staying cool and reducing cooling costs with ceiling fans, please contact us at Henscey Electric, Heating & Air Conditioning, proudly serving Dayton and Southeast Texas since 1980.

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