In the past, prior to the widespread use of air conditioning, ceiling fans were the primary source of cooling for many residences. As air conditioning became more available and affordable, the use of ceiling fans declined. Due to rising energy costs and increasing customer conservation awareness, ceiling fan use is now on the upswing. In addition to saving energy, ceiling fans can also enhance a rooms decor.
Ceiling fans are an excellent way to help keep air conditioning energy costs down while maintaining occupant comfort levels. Using ceiling fans during the cooling season can help keep room occupants cool due to the "wind chill" effect. Moving air speeds the evaporation of moisture from the skin, removing heat.
Fans can also be used in conjunction with air conditioning to help reduce energy costs. The "wind chill" effect allows the air conditioner thermostat to be set slightly higher while maintaining the same degree of comfort for room occupants. For example, you can adjust the setting on your thermostat from 78E° to 80E° F. and still keep the occupants comfortable. This increase of 2E° F. can result in a reduction of up to 15% in air conditioning energy use, and the cost of running the ceiling fan is minimal.
Ceiling fans can also help keep occupants comfortable and save energy during the winter heating season. They circulate the heated air that has risen to the ceiling and redirect it back down toward the occupants. This results in a more effective use of the heating system and lower energy consumption. Fans used during the winter should be operated at low speeds, allowing the air to gently circulate without causing a "wind chill" effect.
Most ceiling fans are designed to be reversible for winter operation. In this mode, room air is pulled from floor level, circulated through the warmer air near the ceiling, and directed back down toward the floor level. This mode of operation allows the warmer ceiling air to be directed downward without blowing directly on the occupants. Make sure that the direction of airflow for these reversible fans is downward in summer and upward in the winter for maximum effectiveness.
Ceiling fans are economical to operate as they consume very little energy. For example, a typical fan operating at high speed uses approximately 150 watts of power. Assuming that the fan is operated 10 hours per day at an energy cost of 8 cents per kWh, the cost of operation will be 12.5 cents per day. At lower speeds the operating cost will be even less. This low operating cost and the potential reduction in cooling and heating costs make the ceiling fan one of the best energy saving devices on the market.
Ceiling fans are available with a wide variety of options including:
- Multiple speeds
- Decorative light kits
- Delays and time settings
- Remote control operation