If high energy bills are destroying your budget, particularly cooling costs in the summer time, you may be overlooking one of the simplest ways to use your air conditioner less and keep more of your money in your pocket. Installing ceiling fans–and using them regularly–allows you to remain comfortable with your thermostat set at higher temperatures. Since it takes much less energy to run a ceiling fan than an air conditioner, you save money.
There are, however, several important considerations before buying a ceiling fan if you plan to use it for energy efficiency rather than solely for decoration.
You must choose the right size ceiling fan for your room. If your fan is too small, it won’t create enough air flow in the room to keep you comfortable. It it’s too large, it may be overpowering and keep you from using it.
Standard ceiling fans come in three sizes–36-inch, 42-inch and 52-inch. The measurements refer to the diameter of the fan from blade-tip to blade-tip. You should choose your fan size based on the measurement of the room you intend to put it in. If your room is under 12 feet from wall to wall, choose the smallest size fan. The middle size is for rooms between 12 and 15 feet across. The largest size works for rooms between 15 and 18 feet across.
You’ll need to buy two fans and install them at opposite ends of the room if your room is more than 18 feet across. Choose the fans’ size based on the size of the area of the room you expect it to cool.
Once you’ve chosen a fan size, you need to decide whether you want a fan that mounts flush to the ceiling or one that uses a down rod to hang lower. You want your installed ceiling fan to hang between seven and nine feet above the floor. If you have eight-foot ceilings, you should look for a flush-mount fan. Higher ceilings may require a down rod. Most fans with down rods are adjustable, so you can choose how far down to have it hang.
If the ceiling fan you’re installing has a light kit, the lights will hang lower than the fan blades, and both lights and fan should be within that seven to nine foot range.
The third aspect of choosing a ceiling fan is the style of fan blades. This is partly a matter of aesthetics, but it can affect the cooling method of the fan. A fan with many narrow blades creates a feeling of wind. A paddle fan, which may only have two fat blades, creates air movement but doesn’t feel as breezy. Either will help with cooling. Choosing one is a matter of personal preference.