Have you heard the news? Running a ceiling fan can help you save big on your summer air conditioning energy bills! But not so fast…
Turns out that running a ceiling fan can absolutely, positively save you money on energy bills… *sometimes*. But did you know that sometimes it can cost you a bunch more, instead? We all know those bills are only going to keep going up over time, but it would be much worse if you were taking steps to reduce costs, only to inadvertently sabotage your own efforts!
Here’s how to use – and not use – a ceiling fan during summer to keep your air conditioning bills down.
The Most Important Thing To Understand About Ceiling Fans
If you remember nothing else, memorize this: ceiling fans do NOT cool the air. They cool your skin.
Your air conditioner is designed to move cool air into (and hot air out of) your home to keep you at a comfortable temperature. A ceiling fan, however, has no cooling mechanism. It simply works by wicking sweat from your skin to cool you down as it blows on you.
So what does that mean? It means that unless you are physically in the room while the fan is on, it’s doing no good whatsoever. If you’re not there to cool, then you’re just using more electricity than you would have if you’d simply let the AC do it’s job.
This is where most people get into money trouble. They turn on all the ceiling fans thinking that they’ll help the AC work more efficiently, only to discover even higher bills once all that extra energy use is clocked.
Fans have exactly no effect on the efficiency of your AC! So if you want to benefit from their energy-saving potential without costing yourself more money, then be sure to start by turning fans off whenever the room is empty.
The Second Most Important Thing To Understand About Ceiling Fans
Now that you know that simply running a fan isn’t going to make you feel any cooler unless you’re standing near it, it’s time to understand the next most common way that you can sabotage your money-saving efforts.
And that is: failing to actually raise the temperature on your thermostat while the fan is running.
The math behind saving money with ceiling fans is simple once you understand it. With air blowing on your skin, you will feel physically cooler at any given temperature than you would at the exact same temperature without the fan blowing. That means that if you want to feel like the room is a comfy 72 degrees, you can (and should) raise the temperature on your thermostat to 77.
That five degree difference will be virtually unnoticed by you – except when it comes time to pay the bills and you see how much you saved by running your AC a little less. Since even the most efficient AC is more of an energy hog than any ceiling fan, the amount of electricity you need to run a fan is less than what you’d need to keep your air conditioner running at cooler temperatures all day.
The Right Way To Use A Ceiling Fan To Save Money On Summer Air Conditioning Bills
It may be obvious by now, but a little reminder never hurts, especially when it comes to your bottom line!
First, raise the temperature on your thermostat by about five degrees. Feeling daring? You can even go up a bit more, as long as you’re still comfortable. The higher the temperature, the less your air conditioner runs and the more you save. That simple fact I the key to saving money – with or without a fan. The fan is just the part that makes those higher temperatures feel good.
Then when you enter a room, and only when you enter a room, turn the ceiling fan on. Remember to turn it off again the moment you walk out.
That’s it! You’re on your way to lower summer energy bills. Oh, and if you’re wondering if there are other ways that you might be sabotaging your money-saving efforts? We’ve got a few. Check them out here, and see if you’re making any of these common mistakes.
If you want to learn more about saving on energy usage with a more efficient air conditioner, a better cooling system overall, or if you just want someone to install ceiling fans for you, contact us for a free estimate. We’ll visit your home and provide recommendations for the optimal way to keep your home comfortable.