How to Save the Environment (and Money) with Ceiling Fans

As our finite natural resources diminish, energy prices are steadily increasing. Now, more than ever, we must do our part to help our environment by conserving energy. The good news about energy conservation is that it can not only help to save our planet, it can help to save you money. A simple way to reduce your energy costs and to beautify your home is through the installation of ceiling fans. When used properly, ceiling fans can be used to save between 15 and 40 percent on air conditioning during the summer. During the winter months, fans can be reversed to run clockwise and save you 10% on your heating bill.

In order to understand how to properly use ceiling fans to conserve energy it is important to understand just how they work. Have you ever been outside on a hot day when, all of a sudden, you felt a cool breeze that instantly made you feel more comfortable? This is called the wind chill factor and it is the same principle behind ceiling fans. Fans do not actually change the temperature of a room. Rather, they accelerate the evaporation of perspiration on your skin which is what makes you feel cooler. It can therefore make a person feel 8 degrees cooler even though the room temperature is technically the same. It is important to understand that fans do not cool rooms, they cool people. Therefore ceiling fans should never run unless people are in the room to benefit from their cooling power. During winter months, fans can actually be used to distribute heat more effectively in a room. Since hot air is lighter than cold air, it rises to the ceiling and gets stuck while cold air remains closer to the ground level. If a ceiling fan is run in reverse (clockwise), which is usually as simple as flipping a switch on the fan’s body, it can more evenly distribute the hot air particles. This way the heat will be where you need it rather than being stuck at your ceiling.

Another important point to mention is that in order to most effectively use ceiling fans to save energy and money they must be used inversely with your thermostat. In other words, if you are using ceiling fans to cool yourself, the thermostat should be turned up at least 4 degrees. Likewise if you are using a fan to reduce heating costs, the thermostat should be turned down.

Recently, the energy saving potential of ceiling fans is being further exploited by manufacturers. By using more aerodynamic fan blades and more energy efficient light kits, major ceiling fan manufacturers like Westinghouse and Concord are offering fans specifically aimed towards consumers with conservation in mind. The best way to find these fans is by looking for the “Energy Star” label distributed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Fans that are awarded this label conserve at least 10% more energy than a standard ceiling fan. When shopping, you can find the most energy efficient fans by seeking those with the highest airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and by looking for fans that use the lowest amount of power (watts) at each speed. Using Energy Star approved light kits for your fans, which often contain fluorescent bulbs, will drastically reduce the amount of electricity consumed. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy offers various tax incentives for installing products that conserve energy.

In addition to being valuable conservation tools, ceiling fans can be a beautiful addition to your home, office, or apartment. Manufacturers offer fans in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and designs. Fans are now being manufactured in exciting new finishes like oil rubbed bronze and burnished brass, as well as being available with a plethora of light kit options. From traditional, Victorian inspired fans that double as chandeliers, to adventurous designs inspired by modern art, there are surely ceiling fans that will fit your taste and lifestyle. Well crafted fans are a sure way to increase the value of your real estate while adding to the aesthetic beauty of your surroundings.

Since we are in an energy crisis, we all have a responsibility to do our part to help, however small that part may be. Simply purchasing an energy efficient ceiling fan is an excellent way to save money on energy bills, increase the value of your real estate, and beautify your surroundings. Most importantly, while you sit under a beautiful new ceiling fan you can be assured that you are helping to conserve our planet’s valuable resources.

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