Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans can make your home more comfortable all year round. Most ceiling fans use the same amount of electricity as a 100-watt light bulb. With this kind of efficiency, it will cost you just pennies per day to run your ceiling fan. In mild weather, ceiling fans offer an inexpensive alternative to air conditioning. Used together with air conditioning, a ceiling fan can keep your family very cool. For these reasons, those whirling paddles that were invented 130 years ago are experiencing renewed popularity with consumers.
How Ceiling Fans Work
In warm weather, a ceiling fan should spin counter-clockwise and push air downward. This creates a wind chill effect and keeps the occupants of a room cool. This simple flow of air can make it feel cooler by 4 degrees or more! This also means that if you are using an air conditioner in the same room, you can set the thermostat at a higher temperature and still feel cool.
Keep in mind, however, that the wind chill effect doesn’t work if there is nobody to feel it. When you leave the room, turn off the ceiling fan to save electricity.
Believe it or not, a ceiling fan can be quite useful during cold winter months as well. Most ceiling fans have a reverse switch on the motor housing that will change the direction that the fan blades turn. In reverse mode, the fan will push air up toward the ceiling. In the winter, warm air will rise and stay near the ceiling. When you reverse your ceiling fan, the warm air will be pushed up and across your ceiling, then down the walls to mix with the cold are near the floor. This results in more even heating. Better heat circulation means spending less money on your heating bills and reduces the common problems of “sweating” that some homes experience to to heavy condensation on windows.
It’s Your Money
Ceiling fans can help solve other cold weather problems as well. For example, some two-story houses have open stairways. Since heat rises, the 2nd floor can get hot, while downstairs (where the thermostat normally is) can stay cold. As a result, your furnace will constantly stay on, pumping more warm air into the 1st floor, which will continue to rise to the 2nd floor. Mounting a ceiling fan at the top of the stairway will help mix the air more evenly, equalizing the temperature in the house and cut down on heating costs.