Ceiling Fans and Your AC û Use them Together for Maximum Benefit

Published on: August 9, 2012

Ceiling fans are one of the few appliances for your home that can actually save you money, reducing your cooling costs by as much as 15 percent. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can raise the temperature setting of your air conditioning system by four degrees when using a ceiling fan and experience no reduction in comfort. Ceiling fans work by creating a wind-chill effect against your skin, making you feel cooler even when the air conditioning system is running. Because ceiling fans circulate the air in the room, them help improve indoor air quality as well.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

In the extreme heat and humidity of summer, air conditioning systems are essential to maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home, but without proper ventilation, the air can feel stuffy or clammy. A tightly sealed environment affects the indoor air quality of your home. Indoor air quality can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside, according to the EPA. Dust in a humid environment acts like a magnet, attracting particles like pollen, mold and mildew. By increasing the ventilation in a room, ceilings fans help keep allergens at bay.

Operational Options

Ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature in a room. The air movement that ceiling fans create increases your skin’s rate of evaporation, providing a cooling effect. To enjoy energy savings from using ceiling fans, it’s important to use them only when you’re in the room. Connecting the fans to a light switch makes it more convenient to turn them off and on. You can also have a motion detector switch installed on the fan so that it will only operate when the room is occupied. Some models are available with remote controls. Remember to adjust your air conditioning thermostat while running the fan for optimum savings.

Choosing Ceiling Fans

In the summer, ceiling fans are set to a counterclockwise direction so that the air blows downward. The fan should be powerful enough so that you feel a cool breeze when standing directly beneath it. Ceiling fans are sized by the length of their blades, also called paddles. The pitch of the blade also affects how well the ceiling fan works. The steeper the pitch of the paddle, the better the ventilation, an especially important consideration in small rooms with high humidity. The fan’s motor is another consideration. A ceiling fan with a long paddle and a steep pitch requires a powerful motor.

In addition to saving you money on your air conditioning costs in summer, ceiling fans help lower heating costs in the winter too. In cold seasons, the direction of the ceiling fan is reversed and the speed is slowed. This allows the fan to force rising warm air off the ceiling back down into the room. For every degree that a heating system’s temperature setting is lowered in winter, you’ll cut your heating costs by around two percent.