There are two certainties in the thick of summer — high heat and the high energy bills that follow! This time of year homeowners are itching for ways to reduce costs while staying cool. Well placed fans, and especially ceiling fans, are a good way to do just that.
To be clear, fans won’t actually lower the temperature in the room. Fans create a ‘wind chill’ effect that makes the perceived temperature feel lower to humans. Therefore, to save energy, dial up your thermostat 4-5 degrees. Then, use a fan in the room you are occupying to counterbalance the warmer setting.
It’s important to make sure your ceiling fan is creating a downdraft in the summer. This means air is getting pushed down directly from the blades of the fan. (In the winter, an updraft will pull the air to the ceiling and back down the walls to create a heat reclamation effect.) If equipped, you can easily toggle between downdraft and updraft using the reverse function on your fan’s switch. Otherwise, you’ll need to physically adjust the position of each blade.
How big are the savings? The motor on a ceiling fan uses somewhere between 10-100 watts per hour compared to up to 5,000 watts on a central AC unit. Moreover, a central unit cools the whole home while a fan focuses on the individuals occupying a room and is therefore less wasteful. Generally speaking, you’ll save roughly 2% for each degree you sacrifice on the thermostat. Achieving a 10% break on your energy bill is a noticeable savings, especially in middle of the summer!