Ceiling fans and even window or box fans can be a big help when it comes to using energy wisely. Fans use little electricity by themselves which make them good to use when you just want to circulate some fresh air or if you need air blowing on you to sleep when it is hot. But fans have another use which makes them an asset to any heating or cooling system, they can help you lower your utility bills and save money all year long.
What Ceiling Fans Do
Contrary to popular belief, fans do not cool the air in a room. Fans circulate the air and can remove the heat away from a person’s body which makes them feel cooler although the temperature of the room does not change. Fans are very beneficial when used with your heating system or central air conditioning and can also be used by themselves with an open window when temperatures are mild early in the season.
How They Improve Efficiency
Depending on the season, whether it is winter or summer, using a fan with your heating or cooling system improves its efficiency because you can raise or lower the inside temperature a few degrees to save money without giving up comfort. For example, using a ceiling fan in the summer will allow you to raise the thermostat setting from a cool 76 degrees to 78 or 80 with practically no detectable difference except the saving you’ll see on your next utility bill. And the same thing happens with winter use. So you can essentially save money all year long.
Direction for Winter Use
When using a ceiling fan in the winter, turn the switch on your fan’s base to the “up” position and set the speed to low. This reverses the fan blades direction and will circulate the air upwards, drawing warm air up and out from the ceiling. You don’t want to create a breeze, just move the warm air around. The blades should turn clockwise for winter and counter-clockwise in summer. If the control button on your ceiling fan is from left to right instead of up and down, just turn on the fan to see which direction the blades turn and switch it for the season.
Direction for Summer Use
For summer use, the blades need to turn counter-clockwise. The speed should be set to high to create a breeze and circulate the cool air. You can then set your thermostat to about 80 degrees but it will only feel like about 72 degrees, raising the indoor temperature will reduce energy use.
Upgrading your central air conditioner or furnace is recommended for maximum efficiency but may not be possible before the next heating or cooling season begins. Using ceiling fans in combination with your heating and cooling systems will help them work more efficiently until you can replace them with an improved system. Contact us at ABA Heating and Cooling for information on new energy-efficient furnaces and air conditioners or to schedule AC repair in Austin.