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Turning on the Fan and Turning off the A/C

Posted Sep 20 2010 12:00pm

As part of some recent money- and energy-savings improvements I've been making to my home, a couple of weeks ago I installed a ceiling fan in my main living room. Part of my research led me to understand how ceiling fans are considered the most effective fans compared among table fans, floor fans, and fans mounted to poles or walls because they effectively circulate the air in a room to create a draft throughout the room.

Before deciding to purchase a ceiling fan, I first confirmed that my room's dimensions would allow me to best leverage a ceiling fan's benefits. Knowing that ceiling fans are only appropriate in rooms with ceilings at least eight feet high and that fans work best when their blades are 7–9 feet above the floor and 10–12 inches below the ceiling, I was happy to verify my room was suited to benefit from installing a ceiling fan.

While choosing a more expensive ceiling fan ($50 more than the "cheaper" version) required me to make a higher up-front investment, I observed by visiting various fan showrooms that the more expensive fans operate quietly and smoothly. In the end, I selected an ENERGY STAR-rated fan, which moves the air 20% more efficiently, on average, than standard models.

Immediately after installing the fan, I noticed a significant difference in the room's temperature. As a result, I no longer manually adjust my air conditioner to make the house a bit more comfortable. Instead, I turn on my ceiling fan. And in the cool morning and evenings, I'm able to turn off the air conditioner altogether. Natural ventilation combined with my new ceiling fan keep the house cooler than I ever set my programmable thermostat .

I couldn't be happier with my new fan and look forward to the money- and energy-savings for years to come!

Chris Stewart is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.

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