Whether you love ceiling fans or feel ambivalent toward them, they are worth having in bedrooms and living areas to help air circulation and lower energy bills. In the Northern California climate, you can get away with turning off the air conditioner many days of the year if you have a ceiling fan in the rooms you use most.
On the other hand, you might have heard that ceiling fans do not save money. That can be true—if you don’t use them correctly.
The Correct Way to Use a Ceiling Fan
For the best comfort and biggest savings from ceiling fans, you should have one in any room where people sleep or spend any significant amount of time during the day. Here’s what you need to know:
- Which direction should a ceiling fan go in summer and winter? During cooling season, the fan should move counter-clockwise (as seen when standing below and looking up) and clockwise during heating season. This way, the ceiling fan moves air downward to create a breeze in the summer and circulates your heating better in the winter.
- How do I save money with a ceiling fan? You’ll only save money if you adjust your thermostat warmer in the summer and colder in the winter, trusting that the fan will help keep you just as comfortable as your normal preferred temperature. If you don’t adjust the thermostat but use your fan, you’ll be more comfortable but your electric bill will go up!
- Do ceiling fans waste much energy if you leave them on all the time? Absolutely, your ceiling fan wastes energy when left on. It does not help the air conditioner run less nor dehumidify the air.
Ceiling Fans Don’t Lower the Temperature of a Room
The comfort provided by a ceiling fan resembles the concept of wind chill factor or “feels like” temperature. The outdoor temperature is what it is, but the wind affects how you feel.
Keep this concept in mind. A thermostat set to 70 will work just as hard to cool the home with or without a ceiling fan.
Install a Ceiling Fan and Get Maximum Benefits
In summary, you should adjust the thermostat two degrees or more to lighten the workload of your HVAC system. Reverse your ceiling fans to clockwise when you start using your heating system each year and back again in the spring.
To avoid the potential energy waste of a ceiling fan, you have a few options:
- Everyone in the household needs to make a conscious effort to turn it off when leaving a room.
- You can get an electrician to wire a ceiling fan to the light switch so that the switch controls both the light and fan. Then, you can also toggle them on and off using the fixture’s pull chain.
- Or you can have an electrician install a smart home–enabled switch so you can turn off the fan using an app while you’re away from home.
Whatever you do, don’t try installing a ceiling fan by yourself. Licensed electricians can do the job professionally to prevent wobbling, flickering lights, or wiring damage.
In the Santa Rosa area, contact Spyrka Electric to get an estimate and schedule an appointment for ceiling fan installation.