The summer heat wave is finally setting in, and the numbers on the thermometer are creeping up—along with the numbers on our electric bills. Whether you’re cranking up the central air or running your ceiling fan all day to keep cool, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in your monthly energy usage. But there’s no reason to spend your summer sweating, either from the heat or your electric bills. Learning just a little about the way your ceiling fan works can help you maximize its efficiency so you can save energy and money all summer long.
Control Your Airflow
The most effective ways to save energy with your ceiling fan are somethings you may never have thought about before: blade angle and direction. Most ceiling fans have two direction settings for rotation, clockwise and counterclockwise. Each setting is designed to maximize airflow during a particular season. Which setting corresponds with which season is a matter of some debate, since blade alignment varies by model, but determining which to use is a simple task.
All you have to do is stand underneath the fan and turn it on. In the summertime, you want to feel a breeze immediately blowing down on you. Downward airflow in the center of the room is what will create the breeze effect that will keep you cool.
In the winter, you want the blades pushing air up toward the ceiling in order to circulate warm air throughout the room. As you know, hot air rises, and this prevents it from gathering on the ceiling, making your furnace work harder to compensate.
If you don’t feel a sudden breeze, you’ll need to swap the setting. To do so, turn off the fan and grab a chair you can stand on to reach the base of the fan. Look for a small switch that changes the fan’s setting to run in the opposite direction.
When you’re shopping for a ceiling fan, make sure the blade angle is at least 12 degrees. Anything less than that won’t be able to effectively push air upward or downward, and will only waste energy without improving airflow.
Hit the Off Switch
Many people leave their fans on all day, even when they’re not home, because they think the airflow will cool down the room. The truth is, your ceiling fan doesn’t actually cool the air. It just cools you by getting air circulating throughout the room. So there’s no real reason to leave your fan on when no one is in the room. It’s not making the room any cooler— it’s just wasting energy and making your electric bill go up! Try to make a habit of turning off your ceiling fan when you leave a room, the same way you would the lights.
Keep Up with Maintenance
Like any home appliance, ceiling fans need regular maintenance to keep running smoothly—and efficiently. Dust your ceiling fan once a week. Dust buildup on the blades of your fan can reduce airflow, decreasing energy efficiency. Do a monthly visual inspection of your fan. Tighten any loose screws that might make the fan wobble when it runs. And of course, flick the switch to reverse direction twice a year in spring and fall.
These tips should help you get the most out of your ceiling fan this season. If you have any questions, your ceiling fan isn’t running properly, or you want professional help installing a new fan, contact Bonfe today.