Ceiling Fans Can Be Your Energy-Saving Friends Year Round

Published on: September 17, 2014
Ceiling fan | AC Southeast

If you don’t have ceiling fans in your home, it’s time to make the upgrade and enjoy year-round energy savings. Use these tips for choosing, installing and using ceiling fans to the fullest.

Choosing Ceiling Fans

It’s only appropriate to install a ceiling fan if the ceiling is at least eight feet high. You benefit from running the ceiling fan most if the blades are seven to nine feet from the floor, 10 to 12 inches from the ceiling and at least 18 inches from the walls. Consider the following when selecting a ceiling fan:

  • Size: A small 36- to 44-inch diameter fan is the right size for rooms up to 225 square feet. Larger 52-inch ceiling fans move more air than smaller ones, making them appropriate for larger rooms. If you have an open space longer than 18 feet, consider installing two fans. Ceiling fans with larger blades provide ample cooling with lower velocity airflow than smaller blades. This is an important consideration for offices where loose papers may blow around if there’s a strong breeze.
  • Aesthetics and functionality: Fans come in a variety of styles, and some have built-in lights to illuminate the room whether you’re running the fan or not. Consider the visual appeal of different fans available to you.
  • Cost: It may be worth spending a little extra upfront on an Energy Star-rated ceiling fan. After all, more expensive fans tend to operate more smoothly, quietly and efficiently, resulting in functional operation for years to come at a lower operating cost.

Installing Ceiling Fans

With the right fan selected, you need to install it properly to get the most from it. Use these tips to help ensure optimal performance:

  • Choose a UL-listed electrical box: If you replace a ceiling light fixture, you probably also need to replace the electrical box. Find one labeled “for use with ceiling fans” to ensure it has all the necessary wiring to connect and operate the fan.
  • Mount the ceiling fan: Ideally, you should mount the fan to a ceiling joist. If there isn’t a joist in the center of the room, a special spiked mounting bracket provides a solid anchor. Remember, a ceiling fan can weigh up to 50 pounds, so you certainly want it to be properly secured.
  • Balance away the wobbles: The fan blades should arrive properly balanced, but if the fan is wobbly after installation, you have options for fixing it. First, double check that you tightened all the connections properly. Then, try gently bending any misaligned blade holders back into place. With everything tightened and the blade holders aligned, your last option is a balancing kit. You can send for a kit consisting of balancing clips or blade weights from the manufacturer for free.

Using Ceiling Fans in the Summer

Due to their placement high above the room, ceiling fans are considered the most efficient types of fans for creating whole-room air circulation. Use these tips to spend less on air conditioning with the help of ceiling fans:

  • Run the fan counterclockwise: The wind chill effect from running the fan makes you feel about four degrees cooler. This means you can turn up the thermostat four degrees with no reduction in comfort.
  • Turn the air conditioner off: On moderate days, you can even leave the A/C off and keep cool with the ceiling fan alone. Since ceiling fans consume a tiny fraction of the electricity needed to run the air conditioner, this results in significant savings.
  • Only run the fan when someone’s in the room: Save even more by turning the fan off when the room is vacant. The breeze generates a wind chill effect, which cools people without actually lowering the temperature in the room.

Using Ceiling Fans in the Winter

Don’t retire your ceiling fan when the weather cools down. Use it for more energy savings with these tips:

  • Run the fan on reverse: Many ceiling fans have a switch that instantly reverses the blades’ direction. By running the fan clockwise on low, it creates an updraft that sends warmed air back down to the living space.
  • Get the most from the updraft: A ceiling fan on reverse is most effective in homes with vaulted ceilings and open stairwells where heated air settles high above your head. The gentle updraft helps you benefit more from the heat your furnace produces.

With these simple tips, you can enjoy year-round energy savings. For more heating and cooling tips for your southeast U.S. home, please contact AirConditioningSouthEast.com.