Fall is on the way, which is a good time to give your AC a rest and rely on ceiling fans to keep you cool, calm and collected.
Cooler temperatures make this the perfect time to turn off your air conditioner and turn on a ceiling fan to start saving energy and money.
Sept. 18 marks the third annual National Ceiling Fan Day (NCFD), which promotes reduced energy consumption. If every American participates in NCFD by turning off their AC and using fans for their cooling needs, the United States will save enough energy to power the entire city of New York for months. And it saves money too. Operating a fan can cost as little as $1 per month. That is quite a savings compared to approximately $100 per month to run an AC unit in a typical home.
According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), ceiling fans are a unique home cooling option, as they blend aspects of both form and function to improve comfort while enhancing home décor. Indeed, there are many ceiling fan models available that can serve as an eclectic centerpiece for any room, without sacrificing cooling air movement.
In addition to offering a wide array of choices for your aesthetic tastes, ceiling fans provide significant energy savings. Nathan Frampton, president of Fanimation, says “Ceiling fans use less power to deliver a localized wind chill effect, allowing you to turn your thermostat up while remaining cool.”
In fact, running a ceiling fan can reduce how cool you feel by as much as eight degrees. Conversely, in the wintertime, a ceiling fan can be reversed to move warm air downward, making you feel warmer.
Dispelling another possible misconception, a ceiling fan can actually be useful in winter when you need to warm up instead of cool off. Running the fan in the reverse direction draws cooler air from near the floor and blows it toward the ceiling. At the same, the fan moves warm air trapped near the ceiling and pushes it out toward the walls and down to the floor. The overall effect is to evenly distribute warm air that would otherwise collect near the ceiling, making you feel warmer with less output from your heater. This process is particularly effective in rooms with high, peaked ceilings, such as vaulted or cathedral ceilings, where a lot of warm air can collect at the peak. Always run a fan on low speed in winter, to prevent any cooling effect created by strong air currents.
A ceiling fan must be a reversible type to run in both directions. Some reversible fans have a small toggle switch on the motor housing. With others, you can change the direction using a wall switch or remote control. Determine the forward direction by looking at the tilt angle of the blades — air hits the top part of the blade, follows to the lower part and gets pushed into the room. This happens when the blades are spinning counterclockwise. Reversing the fan so the blades spin clockwise pushes air up toward the ceiling and warms the room. You usually don’t have to worry about determining directionality. Just use the switch and remember: Forward in summer, reverse in winter.