Does it Make Sense to Use Ceiling or Room Fans With Your AC?
The middle of the hot season gets everyone to crank up their air conditioning units. You could be spending more than necessary if you are failing to use your central air conditioning system in conjunction with a room or ceiling fan.
1. AC systems guzzle energy
Air conditioners are known to be the major culprit to high utility bills. They take up more energy than any other appliance in the household. During summer, a quarter of household utility bills is spent on running an air conditioning unit as per a report by SFGate. In fact, AC alone consumes more than 5% of electricity generated in the US and this is not any different for folks in the Bay Area.
2. They cannot be custom set
Air conditioners make homes comfortable during the hot summer months. They do more than just cool circulating air, they also dehumidify it. But, these lifesaver (and they increase your quality of life as well!) units are not without a few drawbacks. For instance, most central AC units are set to cool the entire home or an entire floor in the case of a zoned system.
The fact that there are only a few rooms (perhaps just one) occupied at any given point in time makes these systems a drag on energy and money. You end up wasting money on cooling rooms that are not being used.
AC systems are also set to cut off after reaching a certain temperature. However, that could make you feel sticky when the humidity is high. This will provoke you to run the AC at lower temperatures, contributing to inflated utility bills. Also, the AC will cut off once it reaches the set temperature no matter how low you set it.
3. Fans can be helpful
Fans can come in helpful since they continue circulating air within a room. The sensation of moving air on your skin is pleasant and can help you keep cool. It may also allow you to keep your thermostat higher than you normally would.
In fact, many homeowners turn off their air conditioners once the air has cooled enough to a comfortable temperature. They use their ceiling or room fans to circulate air which is much better than sitting in a chilly environment.
Ceiling fans are a suitable option if you like feeling a pleasant breeze from above. However, room fans should not be discounted either. They work great when you are relaxing in your living space.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory notes that the blades (for ceiling fans) should be at least seven feet above the floor (the standard for homes is 8-foot ceilings so you should be fine) with a gap of 12 inches from the ceiling. An electrician may be required to install a ceiling fan but you can probably get it done with any reliable home improvement handyman. You can find them using Google, asking a friend, or seeing if your local home improvement store has business cards on the back wall from area home improvement professionals.
4. Room fans have certain benefits
In addition, room fans are portable, inexpensive, and do not require any formal installation certification requirements as already stated. All you need is an outlet and you can easily move a fan from one room to the other.