Summer’s not quite going away yet, and as temperatures soar going into the midday, your power meter spins faster and faster. Probably the best thing you can do to remedy this is to keep the coils clean on your air conditioner and have it checked out regularly by a trained and certified residential HVAC technician. Once you checked that item off your list, start using your ceiling fans along with your air conditioning during the daytime. It can help you to conserve energy and see some substantial savings. Here’s how.
The evaporative cooling effect of a ceiling fan can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler on a hot day. If you have your ceiling fan running, you can crank up your air conditioning thermostat 2-4 degrees higher and still be just as cool and comfortable. For each degree that you raise your thermostat, you save 7 percent to 10 percent on cooling costs. This can add up to a cool bundle of savings on your Alabama Power bill!
Say, for example, it is 75 degrees in your home’s living room. Flip on the ceiling fan and dial in your AC thermostat to 78 instead. In an hour or so, you’ll probably notice you feel just the same as before. This is primarily how the energy savings kick in to help. Running an air conditioning compressor takes a lot of electricity compared to the small motors powering your home’s ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans are just so efficient by comparison, consuming 90% less energy than air conditioning. While they can’t do the job alone, they can help your air conditioner cycle on less than it normally would need to. A ceiling fan uses about as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb, so it costs just pennies a day to operate. When you compare this to more than 50 cents per hour for air conditioning, you can see how the savings begin to stack up over time. In fact, studies show that ceiling fans can save you up to 25 to 40 percent on your summer cooling costs.
When you do run your ceiling fan, it’s important to keep this fundamental rule of physics in mind. Your ceiling fan should have settings to change the rotation of the blades to match each season. This is especially important if you have two stories and your upstairs tends to be hotter than downstairs.
Fans should blow downward in the summer, so that you feel the breeze closer to you. In wintertime, you want to orient the blades to blow upward and move some of that hot air that sits near the ceiling around the room so that it’s warmer closer to the floor. Keeping this setting in mind will make sure you’re getting the most energy savings from your ceiling fans for the rest of the summer and then into the winter.
It takes the two working together
It is important to keep in mind that you gain energy savings by running both the air conditioning and the ceiling fans at the same time.
This is because a ceiling fan does not actually reduce the temperature in a room; it makes a room feel cooler by helping the body’s own cooling system work more effectively. Like a gentle breeze on a hot day, the fan creates a “wind chill effect” as it moves air against your skin, and this cools your body in two ways:
Your body heat warms the air right next to your skin. The light breeze that the fan creates blows away this warm layer of air, leaving you feeling like someone pulled a blanket off of you.
The perspiration on your skin absorbs your body heat, and cools the body as it evaporates. The fan breeze facilitates this natural process by increasing the body’s rate of evaporation.
So keep in mind that ceiling fans cool people; they do not cool rooms! Save yourself some cool cash this summer by supplementing your Air Conditioning with your ceiling fans.