According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), home décor blogs and glossy magazines feature ceiling fans for a good reason: Fans are energy savers. They make your home more comfortable even when you use air conditioning or natural ventilation.
In fact, you can raise the thermostat setting by four degrees in the summer – or lower it by four degrees in the winter – and still feel comfortable at home. Fans save you several dollars a year in energy costs. If they have an Energy Star rating, you save even more.
Ceiling, table and floor fans cool your home and create a wind chill effect. However, the United States Department of Energy says ceiling fans are effective because they circulate air throughout a room. In mild climates, they eliminate the need for air conditioning altogether.
The Energy Department recommends ceiling fans in every room that needs to be cooled in hot weather. Use them along with, or in lieu of, an air conditioner. Since fans cool people rather than rooms, turn them off whenever you leave a room. Here are five more ways to use ceiling fans effectively.
1. Install Ceiling Fans Properly
Ceiling fans work best in rooms with 8-foot ceilings or higher. Ideally, the blades should be 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 or 12 inches below the ceiling. Install them at least 18 inches from the walls.
2. Choose the Right Fan Size
Large fans move more air than smaller models. According to the Department of Energy, fans with a diameter of 44 inches or slightly less can cool a room as large as 225 square feet. Larger rooms require fans that are at least 52 inches in diameter.
Small fans are efficient in small areas, up to about 6 feet in diameter. Medium and large fans can cool a 10-foot diameter area. Consider room size before you purchase or install a ceiling fan.
3. Choose the Right Blade Size
Large blades provide cooling that is comparable to smaller blades but at a lower velocity. This is an important consideration in rooms where there are papers or other objects that a strong breeze could disturb. However, large blade fans can look out of place in a small room.
Fit your ceiling fan to the use and aesthetics of your room. Whether you make your purchase online or in-store, interior design companies offer several finish options to fit any décor.
4. Consider the Noise Rating
Some ceiling fans are inexpensive but noisy. More expensive fans operate in a smooth, quiet and efficient manner. They also require less service than cheaper models. Before you make a purchase, listen to your fan in the store and check the noise rating.
5. Look for the Energy Star Label
Finally, look for the Energy Star label on your fan. Ceiling fans that earn this label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are generally more efficient than standard models.
A Final Word about Fans
Ceiling fans are ideal for warm weather climates, especially during the summer months. However, you can also use them in the winter. By reversing the direction of your fan, you can force hot air near the ceiling back into a room. This can save energy, improve air quality and keep energy costs down.