Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help make your home more comfortable during both summer and winter. Using about the same electricity as a 100-watt light bulb you can run one for just pennies a day. By themselves in mild weather, ceiling fans offer a low-cost alternative to air conditioning. Used in conjunction with air conditioning in hot weather, ceiling fans combine old and new technology to keep your family comfortable. That's why those twirling paddles that date from pre-air conditioning days are experiencing new popularity in today's homes.

How They Work

When it's warm, the blades of a turning ceiling fan normally push air downward, causing cool air near the floor to travel outward and mix with air at the edges of the room. The process makes for more even cooling, and just the air movement in the room alone can make it feel cooler by four degrees or more! That means if you're using air conditioning along with your fan, you can set the thermostat at a higher than normal setting to save on energy.

If you use ceiling fans in the summer, however, keep in mind that it does little good to run them when you're not around. The fan really isn't cooling the room. Like a breeze on a hot summer day, it's the blowing air moving across your body that makes you feel cooler.

The same cooling effect caused by blowing air currents keeps many people from using their ceiling fans in winter. But most fans have a switch on the motor housing that changes the direction in which the blades turn. Instead of forcing air downward, the blades will push air up toward the ceiling, where hot air normally rises, and drive it back down around the edges of the room. That can result in more even heating. And better heat circulation will help to combat the problem of sweating windows that some homes experience in the wintertime because of condensation on the glass.

It's Your Money

Ceiling fans can help solve other cold weather problems as well. For example, some two-story houses have open stairways. Since heat rises, the upstairs can get hot, while the downstairs - where the thermostat normally is - can stay cold. As a result, the furnace can run more often and heating is uneven. But mounting a ceiling fan at the top of the stairway will mix the air more evenly, making the house much more comfortable and cutting down on heating costs.

It's another example of how - in summer and in winter - fans can help you increase the comfort of your home and maybe decrease your monthly winter time energy bills.