Running an air conditioner all summer long can really add up on your energy bills. For a great boost on energy savings, a ceiling fan will help you stay comfortable and cool throughout the entire summer. Ceiling fans can be useful when the weather turns cold as well, to promote even heat distribution through your entire Winston-Salem home.
Saving With a Ceiling Fan
A well sized and balanced ceiling fan will allow you to operate your air conditioner at a temperature four degrees warmer than usual without any reduction in comfort. Even though you will be using electricity with the ceiling fan, this is a small cost as compared to the energy savings you will have with the higher thermostat setting.
If your fan is not balanced properly, there may be a few options. As most fans are packaged to be assembled and not wobble, there may have been an issue in shipping that allowed one or more of the fasteners to loosen. Check all of the fittings to see that they are tight and secure, as well as aligned properly. If this does not solve the problem, you can also check the blade alignment. Use a yardstick and hold it vertically along the edge, which will allow you to spot a misaligned blade. If you do spot a blade out of alignment, you might be able to bend it back yourself. The third option is to use a balancing kit to sort out any issues. These are sometimes sent with the original packaging. If not, a kit can be requested and shipped from the manufacturer, usually free of charge!
Size and Location
When choosing your ceiling fan’s location and size, it is important to consider the size and shape of the room. A ceiling fan will only produce worthwhile energy savings in rooms at least eight feet tall, as any shorter and you might be afraid to hit your head on it! Having a ceiling fan located between seven and nine feet away from your floor, and between 10 and 12 inches away from the ceiling will produce the best breeze for you and your family.
A typical 15×15 foot bedroom will be fine with a ceiling fan with a blade diameter of 44 inches or shorter. If you have a large space that needs cooling, a ceiling fan with a 52-inch blade diameter will work to cool you while keeping your energy savings high. Keep in mind that smaller fans will provide four to six feet of cooling diameter, while larger fans will cool up to 10 feet in diameter or more.
If you would prefer to have a ceiling fan in an area with loose papers, like your office, it’s still possible to enjoy the cool breeze without having to worry about papers flying around. Choose a fan with large blades for this room, as it can move the same volume of air at a much lower speed than a fan with a smaller blades. The volume of air is what cools you, so the lower speed will keep the papers on your desk and you will still be comfortable.
Only Use Ceiling Fans in Occupied Rooms
Just remember to turn your ceiling fans off when you leave each room. A ceiling fan cools you by moving air, so if there isn’t anyone in the room to enjoy the breeze and cooler feeling air, the fan is not using the energy efficiently. Think of your ceiling fans the same way you would lights. If you are leaving for only a moment or two, having the fan stop then start will be more costly than keeping it running during that time. On the other hand if you will be gone for more than five minutes, the energy savings by shutting the fan (and your lights) off for that time is worthwhile.
For winter months, you can reverse the motor in your ceiling fan to provide warmth. By running your ceiling fan at low speeds in the reverse direction, you will pull the air below it up towards the ceiling, which will then force the warm air down towards you. Why not take advantage of the energy savings of your ceiling fan year round?
For more information about energy savings by using a ceiling fan, or other questions related to home cooling, heating and comfort, contact the experts at Logan Home Energy Services.
Written by Mark Hollingsworth
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