There are many things you can do to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system: increase insulation, have your ducts sealed, or upgrade to high-efficiency equipment. There is one piece of high-efficiency equipment, though, that many people overlook. A lot of Oregon residents even have them in their homes but don’t utilize them, not realizing that they can result in big energy savings and cut down on monthly utility bills.
What is this hot, new “green” item? It’s none other than the 150-year-old whirling wonder, the ceiling fan.
The fact that simple, old-fashioned ceiling fans can improve your home’s HVAC efficiency might come as a surprise to many people. But the fact is, ceiling fans work. Before homes had air conditioning, ceiling fans provided a measure of cooling. Adding air conditioning doesn’t change that; in fact, air conditioning actually makes ceiling fans more effective.
Ceiling fans provide a cooling effect via wind chill. When cool air passes over you, it allows your body to shed more heat, cooling you without actually changing the temperature. The cooler the air is, the more the wind-chill effect becomes; therefore, ceiling fans and air-conditioning units benefit each other by making the other more efficient.
The wind-chill effect generated by ceiling fans at room temperature averages about four degrees Fahrenheit. This allows you to turn up the thermostat on summer days by a few degrees, and not feel any warmer. By setting a slightly warmer temperature, your air conditioner can work less hard, allowing it to run less and making it more efficient. Since a ceiling fan uses very little electricity, and you only have to turn it on when you are in the room, the result can be considerably lower electric bills.
Ceiling fans can also help in the winter. Warm air naturally rises, but if you reverse the fan’s direction, it will pull the cooler air collecting near the floor up to the ceiling, while forcing the warm air near the ceiling to come back down to your level, thereby making your heating system more efficient in warming rooms.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.