It doesn’t quite seem right, does it? How can you save money on your electric bill when you run your air conditioner and your ceiling fan at the same time? Especially when you consider they both run on electricity. Wouldn’t it make more sense to use one or the other? How can you possibly save money when you use both?
Well, you can save money – if you do it right. It’s important to understand that ceiling fans do not cool the air in your room like your air conditioner does. All they do is move it around. The reason you feel cooler is because that air is circulating over your skin, drying your perspiration, which makes you feel cooler.
In the Spring and early summer, before it gets too hot and sticky, you may be able to wait a little longer before you turn on your air conditioner and just use your ceiling fans. (Don’t forget the air conditioning units use dramatically more electricity than ceiling fans). Once the weather starts getting hot, though, you’ll want that air conditioner on, but you can set it at a higher temperature – sometimes up to 10 degrees higher. (Meaning of course the unit on much less power usage)
The average air conditioner costs 36 cents per hour to operate, while a ceiling fan costs less than a penny. So setting your thermostat at a warmer temperature means you’ll be using your air conditioner less and the fan will still keep you feeling cooler at a small fraction of the cost.
It’s important to remember that a ceiling fan doesn’t actually cool the air for another reason. You’ll save money if you only turn on the ceiling fan when you need it, and you’ll save even more if you remember to turn your fan off when there’s no one in the room! For this reason, if you have room in your budget, it helps to install a fan with a remote control option so you won’t be tempted to leave the fan running just because you don’t feel like climbing a ladder every time you want to turn it off.
It’s also important to get the right size fan for your room. A fan that’s too small won’t have much effect and a fan that’s too large will be overkill. Either way, you’ll be wasting the money you pay to run them.
For a 15′ X 15′ room you’ll need a fan with a blade span of 50-56 inches. For a 12′ X 12′ room you’ll need 42 or 44 inches. And for a 8′ X 8′ room, you’ll need a blade span of 32 inches.
But don’t rely solely on your ceiling fan to save money on your electric bill.
Have your air conditioner cleaned, serviced and inspected twice a year to help it run efficiently: The harder your air conditioner has to work, the higher your utility bills. Clean the coils, remove debris from around the outside unit, don’t block vents, and have a professional check the coolant level.
Change air filters every month during peak operating seasons: Clogged filters also force your air conditioner to work harder and they can also cause the coils to freeze up.
Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable filter makes it easy to regulate the temperature in your home. Set it at one temperature while you’re sleeping or away from your home and set it at a more comfortable level for those hours when everyone’s home in the evening. Set it and forget it and you’ll save more money.
Use remote sensors for your ceiling fans: While ceiling fans don’t cool the air, they can help regulate the room temperature by pulling cool air up during the summer and forcing warm air down during the winter. Get several portable remote temperature sensors and use them to automatically control your fans.
One final tip to reduce your bills and save energy – If you have a ceiling fan with lights make sure you use energy saving light bulbs. Not only will they reduce your electricity bill but they also last much, much longer meaning you get two savings for your hard earned cash!
(If you want to learn more about energy efficiency check out this website for tons of great info…)