Ceiling Fans vs. Air Conditioning: Electricity Use

Can ceiling fans save energy? Absolutely. Central Air Conditioning (AC) uses around 3500 watts of electricity per day, an AC window unit uses between 600 and 1500 watts and a ceiling fan uses between 30 and 50 watts, so it’s quite a savings! However, there are a few caveats involved in saving the maximum amount of energy and still staying cool.

power lines save power using ceiling fans

Find the Right Design

Make sure that the ceiling fans you own are energy-efficient and have fan blades that are tilted instead of flat. Many out-date fans have almost flat blades, and fans that do not have tilted blades don’t work well. They can’t move enough air to make you feel cool, and they have to be run on high all the time to get any cooling effect at all. That wastes power.

Changing Old Habits

For the most part, ceiling fans work by pushing air past your skin, thereby removing more heat from your body than still air can. Think about when you’re outdoors and it’s leaden and hot, then suddenly a good breeze kicks up and instantly you feel cooler, but only when the breeze is blowing.

Ceiling fans only make you feel cool when you are there to be cooled. So, in order to maximise energy and money savings, you’ll need to remember to turn off ceiling fans when you aren’t in the room. In order to actually make a room cooler temperature-wise, you will need to run the ceiling fan with the windows open during cooler parts of the day, usually in the morning and evening, in order to draw cooler air into your home. Timing the use of fans can save a significant amount of energy.

What about AC?

When you have AC installed and it’s miserably hot outside, you can still save money and energy by combining AC with ceiling fans. Turn the AC thermostat up a few degrees and run a ceiling fan in the room you’re occupying. You will still be comfortable, and you’ll save energy at the same time. For even greater energy savings, acclimate yourself to a higher temperature by turning the AC up a degree a week until you reach the maximum temperature that allows you to be reasonably comfortable.

Some people save energy by running AC for an hour or two, then using ceiling fans on the lowest setting the rest of the time to keep the AC-cooled air circulating around the room. Finally, remember that if it’s sunny outside, closing any blinds or curtains can keep the sun’s hot rays from turning your home into a greenhouse. That will make your cooling and energy-saving efforts far more effective.