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Ceiling fan vs. A.C.: How to stay cool and save in the heat

Ceiling fan vs. A.C.: How to stay cool and save in the heat
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Alex Sadler |
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When it comes to staying cool in the summertime heat, one of the primary concerns is cost.

Sometimes things can get a bit tricky. So what’s the best answer? Cranking the air conditioner and running all the fans in the house can both do some serious damage to your energy bill, so the key is to find the right balance.

Read more: 6 ways to cut home energy costs

Ceiling fan: Clockwise or counterclockwise?

Yes, it does make a difference — and determining which way your fans should spin depends on the time of year.

During the summer, ceiling fans should spin counterclockwise to blow the air downward so you can feel the breeze. But since fans consume energy, you need to set the thermostat a degree or two higher when the ceiling fans are on. Even at a higher temperature, the breeze helps you feel cooler.

In fact, according to Energy Star, you can save up to 5% on air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the temperature on the thermostat. Plus, using a ceiling fan can make you feel 4 degrees cooler.

Also, don’t forget to turn the fans off when you aren’t in the room. Otherwise, the fan is blowing a breeze at no one and just consuming more energy that you will have to pay for.

Replacing old fans can cut costs by 80%

If you really want to maximize your savings, set the ceiling fan at a high enough speed to make you comfortable. You don’t want to set it too high — because the higher the speed, the more energy it consumes. And according to Consumer Reports’ tests, there really isn’t much, if any, difference in the performance of a ceiling fan when it’s set on low vs. when it’s set on high.

Plus, if you have an old fan, it’s probably consuming a lot more energy than necessary. Replacing old ceiling fans with new, modern ones can cut your energy costs by up to 80%!

Read more: Solar panel installation guide

If you’re thinking about replacing a ceiling fan yourself, check out Muccio’s safety tips here.

How often you run it – If you don’t run your AC when you’re not home, you can save a lot of energy. Setting the temperatures a degree or two higher at night after you’ve fallen asleep can also make a huge difference.

Energy efficient models – As you may expect, energy efficient models use less energy than traditional models. Technology has been developed and improved upon for decades, especially in the HVAC industry. There are units that can cut your energy bills in half, all while keeping you comfortable.

Installation methods – An experienced AC installer can tell you exactly what size AC unit you need for specific rooms or for your whole house. An air conditioner that starts and stops uses significantly more energy than one that runs consistently. Make sure your central AC unit isn’t too big or too small.

Smart thermostats – Setting the AC to turn on and off at particular times, and even to adjust the temperatures at certain times of the day can save you hundreds.

Read more: 16 ways to lower your energy bill

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