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Ceiling Fans

How much electricity can you save by using ceiling fans to keep cool this year? That depends on how you use them. Take a moment to understand how they can keep you cool while potentially saving some “green” in your electric bill.

Unlike your air conditioner, a fan only moves air. Even when it is extremely cold, our bodies perspire, albeit much less than when we are hot. As air comes in contact with our bodies, that perspiration evaporates. The process of evaporation requires “heat” energy for the moisture to change from a liquid to water vapor. The reason we cool down in this process is that much of the required heat comes from our bodies.

Several studies have shown that using ceiling fans in combination with air conditioning allows occupants to adjust to a higher air conditioning temperature setting while experiencing the same level of comfort. On average, study participants were able to adjust their thermostats four degrees higher with no noticeable impact on comfort. Since fans require, on average, 60 to 100 watts of energy, and the average central air conditioning system requires more than 3,000 watts, you can save over the course of the cooling season.

During summer months, be sure your fan is running in a counter-clockwise direction. This pushes air directly down on occupants to maximize comfort from the evaporative effect.

Ceiling fans also provide the opportunity to save energy during the rest of the year. During spring and fall when it is cooler outside, you can use fans to keep comfortable instead of turning on the air conditioning system. As we transition to the heating season later this year, run your fan in a clockwise direction. This will push air upward to reduce the drafty feeling, while forcing  lighter, warmer air down around the perimeter of a room to mix with the cooler, heavier air lower in the room.

It is important to note ceiling fans are much like lights. If no one is in the room, they will not benefit anyone. Like a light left on, they use electricity needlessly and only add to your electric bill. So, remember to turn it off when leaving.

For maximum energy saving benefits, you might consider an ENERGY STAR® ceiling fan. These fans circulate an average of 15 percent more air than other ceiling fans using the same amount of energy, all without sacrificing style or attractiveness. To reap optimal energy saving benefits from your ceiling fans, it is important to install several fans throughout your home. They should be placed in key locations where occupants spend the most time. For best performance, your ceiling fan blades should be between seven to nine feet above the floor, 10-12 inches below the ceiling and be at least 18 inches from the nearest wall.

Your local utility wants to help you keep cool this summer! For more ideas on how you can make your home or business EnergyWiseSM, contact them for more information.

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