Tips for using ceiling fans to cool your home this summer

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
How to save money on your bills with ceiling fans
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You can actually comfortably raise your thermostat by about four degrees with proper ceiling fan usage, Consumer Reports found.

The summer heat is just around the corner, which means our air conditioners will soon kick into high gear, and with that will come high energy bills.

As Consumer Reports explains, choosing the right ceiling fan can help cool off that overheated electric bill.

They've been around for decades, but how much do you really know about ceiling fans? It turns out, they don't actually lower the temperature in a room. They cool you off by creating a draft that moves air over your skin.

To keep her home comfortable, Paula Machado relies on three ceiling fans, plus a little air conditioning.

"We have the ceiling fans on all day long in the entire house to help it cool off. And it's important because one, it saves our electric bill somewhat, and two, it really helps extend the life of our AC," said Machado.

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The best part? Ceiling fans cost very little to run, and when used with your air conditioner, you can actually raise the thermostat by about four degrees and feel just as cool.

Fans with the Energy Star label are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units.

To optimize the power of your fan, you have to place it at the perfect height.

"Hang your fan high. They work best when the blades are seven to nine feet above the floor, and from 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. If your ceiling is really high, use a dowel rod to bring it to the right height," said Paul Hope from Consumer Reports.

The most popular fan size is 52 inches. They're best for large rooms, from 225 to 400 square feet. A 42 to 44 inch fan is effective in rooms from 144 to 225 square feet. If your room is borderline, opt for the larger fan and run it at a lower speed.

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When it's time to install, if you're replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, check to ensure that the electric box can support the weight.

Your fan is going to gather dust and even pollen. To keep it clean, Consumer Reports says to lay a sheet beneath the fan to protect furniture and floors. Wipe the blades and housing gently with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

Finally, remember that fans cool people, not rooms, so always turn them off when you leave.

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