Can Ceiling Fans Lower My Utility Bill?
Ceiling fans create a breeze, so room occupants feel cooler and more comfortable. With a ceiling fan running, you can raise the thermostat setting by 2 to 4 degrees during the cooling season with no reduction in comfort. Increasing the room temperature by even two degrees can cut your cooling costs 4 to 6%.
Will I Feel Less Comfortable When I Increase the Thermostat Setting?
Probably not. Many people claim they don’t even notice a difference in comfort.
Can I Use My Ceiling Fans Instead of My Air Conditioning?
No, because ceiling fans do not lower humidity. Ceiling fans are best used in conjunction with air conditioning. Using them alone is advisable only when the relative humidity is less than 50%.
Should I Leave Ceiling Fans Running All the Time?
No, because the fan cools people, not rooms. Ceiling fans are less costly than air conditioning, but they still use electricity. Running l fan 24 hours a day can add up quickly. Run a fan only when someone is in the room.
What Features Should I Look For?
|Table 1. Room size and suggested fan diameter|
|Room Dimensions||Suggested Fan Size|
|Up to 75 ft2||29–36"|
Do Combination Fan/Lights Save Energy?
Fan/light units labeled with the ENERGY STAR® logo are about 50% more efficient than standard fan/light units—which can save you $15–$20 a year on utility bills (plus any heating/cooling savings gained by using the fan properly—see above).
Lights can also be purchased separately as an add-on to a ceiling fan. Most fans accept add-on light kits, though a number of them are only compatible within brands. Check the package for compatibility information.
Can I Use a Fan in Damp Areas?
If you're installing a fan in a bathroom or other humid location, make sure it is UL-listed with a "damp" rating; and if mounting a fan where it will come into direct contact with water (such as a porch or patio), be sure it has a UL "wet" rating. These fans have features such as sealed or moisture-resistant motors, rust-resistant housings, stainless steel hardware, and all-weather blades.
Developed as part of the NASULGC/DOE Building Science Community of Practice.
DISCLAIMER - This piece is intended to give the reader only general factual information current at the time of publication. This piece is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be used for guidance or decisions related to a specific design or construction project. This piece is not intended to reflect the opinion of any of the entities, agencies or organizations identified in the materials and, if any opinions appear, are those of the individual author and should not be relied upon in any event.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Alan L. Grant, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.
May 1, 2009