Ceiling Fans Save Money
By Jim Sulski
Summary: Ceiling fans cost pennies to run
per day versus your air conditioning which costs dollars a day. By generating
a wind chill effect, a ceiling fan can be a real money saver.
When it is hot, a ceiling fan can come to the rescue. Ceiling fans are a relatively
minor investment and in addition to the aesthetic gain, they provide extra cooling
comfort on warm days.
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And yes, that's can save you energy dollars. That helps when you're spending
hundreds of dollars during the summer on air conditioning.
Let's explain. Ceiling fans have been cooling indoor and even outdoor spaces
for more than a century. The latest generation of fans is constructed so they
use hardly any electricity, costing pennies a day to run - that's the same amount
of energy associated with running a light bulb.
And they have numerous features to them now, such as remote controls and multiple
and adjustable speeds. You can also attach overhead light kits to them.
But the real key to ceiling fans is that they push around air and that produces
somewhat of a wind chill effect on your skin. In turn, you feel slightly less
warm than you would without the fan.
On moderately warm days, a ceiling fan can save you money by preventing you
from cranking on your central or window air conditioner. An air conditioner
- especially one that is slightly older - is a true energy hog and can costs
dollars a day to run.
Those who own central air conditioning systems know it's not unusual to get
an electric bill in the summer that's several hundred dollars.
Even on hot and humid summer days, when you're running your central air conditioner,
a ceiling fan will push around that cooled air, making the room feel more comfortable
and keeping you from turning the thermostat down a few additional degrees.
Here's another bit of information about ceiling fans: Experiment with which
ways the blade spin (most fans have a switch near the hub of the fan to switch
If you set the fan so the blades spin counterclockwise, you'll be creating
an appreciable downdraft in the room. That will create the wind chill effect.
That breeze, however, can be annoying to some people, such as those lying in
bed, eat a meal or trying to read a newspaper. As a result, set the blades to
spin clockwise. There will less of a draft.
Instead, the fan will pull up cool air-conditioned air that has settled down
on the floor and blend it with warm air higher in the room (warm air is lighter
than cool air. As a result, warm air rises and cool air falls).
With the fan in an updraft mode, you will mostly feel the coolness of the air-conditioned
air on your skin versus the breeze of the fan.
Ideally, the blades of a ceiling fan should be positioned somewhere near the
middle of the top third of the room. For example, if you had a room with nine-foot
ceilings, the fan blades should be in the middle of the uppermost three feet.
In the winter, you can use the ceiling fan to create the opposite effect: By
switching the rotation of the blades, and running it on the low cycle, the fan
will push heated air down from the top of the room and mix with the cold air
below to make the room feel more comfortable.
A ceiling fan installs the same way as a light fixture. You'll need a few tools:
screwdrivers, pliers, wire-strippers, electrical tape and a ladder. The fan
is attached to a junction box, which is a small metal box in the ceiling that
houses the wiring for a light fixture.
If you're lacking a junction box, you will need to have one installed. That
will call for a professional electrician.
Before starting the installation, make sure all the electricity to the room
is off. Remove fuses or flip circuit breakers to the "off" position
Make sure the junction box is stable. Start by removing the light fixture.
You might need to better stabilize the box by driving a few more screws from
it into an attached joist.
Another installation problem, especially in older homes, is the wiring. There
are two wires to hook up, so the connection to the fan is not complicated. The
problem may be older wiring, which can become hard and brittle. Wiring insulation
can also fray.
Because installations vary by fan manufacturer, follow any instructions. After
you've connected the wires, make sure none they are sealed with electrical tape.
© by Jim Sulski. All rights reserved. February 2, 2005.
NOTE: This column is distributed by Real Estate Matters Syndicate,
PO Box 366, Glencoe, Illinois, 60022. This column may not be resold, reprinted,
resyndicated or redistributed without written permission from the publisher.
© 2005 by Ilyce R. Glink. Distributed by Real Estate Matters Syndicate.