As the long, hot days of summer are becoming fewer and farther between and cooler evenings are setting in, many central Iowans are hoping to cut down on their AC usage. Besides opening windows in the evening, you may also rely on ceiling fans to increase air flow, stay cool and decrease energy usage. But, before you turn on your ceiling fan, be sure to pay attention to these simple tips to make sure you’re getting the most from your fans.
- Make sure you have the right fan. Factors like energy efficiency, blade angle and size all matter when it comes to ceiling fans. Choosing a fan that runs efficiently will keep energy use to a minimum. You can determine energy efficiency by comparing the number of watts utilized to move a certain volume of air (the less watts needed to move air, the more efficient) or by visiting energystar.gov to compare models. When considering blade angle, you will want to look for a fan with blades angled between 12 and 14 degrees. If the blades are flat, they will use energy without moving much air. If, to the other extreme, fan blades are angled at 16 degrees or above, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of air movement coming from your ceiling. Also make sure the size of your fan matches the size of the room, otherwise you will end up paying more to power the fan than necessary. A 44-inch fan is most common, and is about right for an average-sized bedroom or kitchen.
- Adjust the direction of the ceiling fan to counterclockwise. Most fans, especially newer ceiling fans, have two rotating settings: clockwise and counterclockwise. The purpose? The counterclockwise position pushes air down, while the clockwise position moves air up. You can feel the difference by standing directly under the fan to determine if you feel a breeze coming “down” towards you. If not, turn off the fan and look for a small button or switch that will allow you to run the fan in the opposite direction. By utilizing the counterclockwise position in the summer months, you will create the most air movement in the center of the room.
- Adjust the thermostat in your home. Ceiling fans can help you reduce your cooling costs because they allow you to set your thermostat higher and still feel comfortable. If you plan to or currently run ceiling fans throughout the day in your home, raise the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees. Though ceiling fans don’t directly cool the air, they do help to circulate air, making the room feel cooler than it actually is and creating a breeze effect on your skin. Utilize a programmable thermostat to set your air conditioning unit to turn off and on based on when you’ll be home. This way you won’t come home to an overly warm house.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room or home. In order to ensure you’re running your fans efficiently, turn off fans when no one is in the room or when you leave for the day. Turning off a ceiling fan when you leave a room instead of letting it run all the time could save you up to $7 a month, depending on fan speed. Remember, ceiling fans cool people, but they don’t lower the temperature in the room. So, you’ll waste money, not save, if you leave them on when no one is around.