How To Use Ceiling Fans for Year Round Comfort, Savings

People often wonder which ceiling fans to install. There are so many models and prices, leaving some to wonder if they can help cut energy costs.

People typically think of fans only for summertime comfort and lower air-conditioning costs. Ceiling fans are unique in that they can also reduce your wintertime heating bills with proper use.

Before installing a ceiling fan, it’s important to understand how one functions. A ceiling fan does not cool a room like an air conditioner. It heats the room whenever it is running. All of the electricity it uses ends up as heat. Always turn the fan off when no one is in a room.

You feel cooler under a ceiling fan because it creates a downward breeze over your skin. This breeze allows you to run your air conditioner less or set its thermostat a few degrees higher without sacrificing comfort. If you do not do this, running the ceiling fan will increase your electric bills.

During winter, reverse the rotation of the fan blades, so the air flows up toward the ceiling. Run it on low speed. This gently moves up the hotter air, which collects near the ceiling, throughout the room without creating a chilly breeze. This allows you to set the heating thermostat a few degrees lower for savings.

The simplest way to select an efficient ceiling fan is to pick one which is Energy Star certified. When selecting a typical, lower-cost, four or five blade fan, a rule of thumb for sizing is (room size vs. diameter of blades): up to 75 sq. ft.–36 in., 75 to 144 sq. ft.–36 to 42 in., 144 to 225 sq. ft.–44 to 50 in., 225 to 400 sq. ft.–50 to 54 in.

The ideal height for the fan blades is about eight feet above the floor. A three-inch downrod is included with most fans to provide the proper height. For high ceilings, downrods up to six feet long are used to get the fan low enough. For safety reasons, never have the blades closer than seven feet from the floor.

Many new, stylish fans come with multiple blades, ranging from one to six blades, with three being the most common. Pay attention to the pitch angle of the blades to get an idea of how strong a breeze it creates. A steeper pitch moves more air at a slower speed. This often indicates a quiet and more powerful motor.

The newest and most efficient motors are DC (Direct Current) motors. These are similar in design concept to the variable speed motors in new heat pumps.

Most people install a lighting kit under the ceiling fan. Select one with LED lighting. It is not only efficient, but it lasts for many years, and most are dimmable.

A model with a hand-held remote control is most convenient to adjust the speed and is the easiest to switch off when leaving a room. Some new high-tech fans can even be controlled by a cell phone with a special fan app.

The universe of ceiling fans is amazingly big! Besides the brick-and-mortar stores, online stores have a nice selection, too.

A good online site for ceiling fans is Hansen Wholesale. For each product it sells, Hansen offers information on motor quality, CFM (air movement measured in cubic feet per minute) output, energy efficiency and other pertinent data.

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