Ceiling fans can be a nice addition to your home. They look great, they make you more comfortable and they can help save on your energy bills as well. That all sounds cool, but here are some things about ceiling fans that you may not know; things that can help you choose the right model and get the most out of it.
1. Ceiling fans cool people, not the air. Airflow from the fan doesn’t lower the temperature of the room but instead creates a wind chill effect that makes your skin feel cooler. This can reduce the need for air conditioning, saving energy. Ceiling fans spinning in an empty room, though, is a waste of energy. Turn them off when you leave.
2. Fan efficiency is listed on the label. All new fans sold in the U.S. are labeled for “airflow efficiency”. This is determined by the amount of airflow you get—measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm)—for the amount of energy used—measured in watts. Look for fans with a higher airflow per watt rating.
3. Bigger is better. Larger ceiling fans are more efficient in terms of airflow per watt than smaller units. While larger ceilings use more energy overall, they do their jobs more efficiently in terms of moving air for the amount of power used.
4. Ceiling fans can help you feel warmer. Hot air rises, including the warm air coming out of your registers when the furnace is running. Most ceiling fans include a reverse switch that changes the direction of the blades and pushes the air upward. This helps move the warm air back down into the living space where you are.
5. Location matters. If you’re looking for more than just a decoration, you have to do more than just place your fan right above the dining room table. For optimal performance, ceiling fans should be seven to nine feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches from the ceiling. Locate ceiling fans as close to the center of the room as possible.
When you're shopping for a new fan, look for models that are ENERGY STAR® certified. ENERGY STAR ceiling fans use less energy than standard products.