Save Home Energy With the Wise Use of Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a popular room addition; comfort can be easily obtained with a flip of a switch. An immediate cooling breeze is created by an electric motor with rotating blades. That motor uses electricity. Ceiling fan motors are not large, but energy can be wasted. Read on for tips on operating your ceiling fans so that you can be comfortable and save home energy.
Ceiling fans have a cooling effect but do not cool. Ceiling fans do not directly change the temperature of the air; therefore, they do not cool or heat. The benefit comes from how the human body cools itself. As air velocity increases across the skin, moisture (sweat) on the skin evaporates quicker. This cools the body faster; we feel cooler. As you increase your activity, you need to evaporate more sweat. The air blowing from a ceiling fan can provide great help.
Turn off air conditioning when using ceiling fans. The majority of energy cost savings comes from using ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner. Ceiling fans use from 50 to 90 watts (not including lights). Compare this to a central air conditioner using 2000 to 3000 watts; a window air conditioner can use 600 to 800 watts. The ceiling fan uses far less energy. As the temperature in your house rises, try to use ceiling fans to keep comfortable. But at some point, the fans will not be able to keep you cool. Turn off the ceiling fans and start the air conditioner. The longer you can delay turning on the air conditioner, the more energy you save.
Exceptions to the above rule. Many websites suggest running the ceiling fan along with the air conditioner. This may or may not save energy. The thermostat must be set at a higher temperature when using ceiling fans. The exact amount is difficult to calculate due to many variables, but savings high enough to notice a kick in at about 5 degrees. If you keep your cooling setting at 78 degrees without fans, then it would need to be set at 83 degrees. Is this acceptable? Only you can decide. Also, you must continually turn fans on when walking into a room, and turn it off when leaving. See tip below.
Keeping either the fans or air conditioner off may be the more practical action to ensure minimal energy use. During any situation you need short term cooling, the ceiling fans can help. When a company is over, turn on the ceiling fan instead of turning down the thermostat.
Reduce fan speed when possible. If you have several people playing WII, you may need the fan blowing as much as possible. But if there is one person sitting reading a book, only a gentle breeze is needed. Many ceiling fans have multiple speeds. Adjust the speed depending on the activities in the room.
Turn off ceiling fans when not in the room. Only people are cooled by ceiling fans. Ceiling fans should be off when nobody is in the room. There is a surge in energy when starting the fan motor, but it quickly drops as the fan blades reach their full speed. However, leaving the fan on when not needed still uses far more energy than that short burst of startup energy.
Air should blow up in the winter. The only benefit to running the fan in the winter is to breakup warm air collected along the ceiling. In the winter, lighter warm air rises to the ceiling. If this air cannot go anywhere, it becomes a still layer of warm air. You are paying to keep the space near your ceiling warmer than the rest of the room. This is a waste of energy. Running the ceiling fan, blowing upwards, will drive that warmer air back down to the portion of the room you want warm.
At the first bead of sweat run to the fan switch and get a quick blast of air. Or just run the ceiling fan to eliminate a warming stuffiness. The use of ceiling fans can enhance the comfort in your home. By using the above tips, you can also save home energy.
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