Using fans can save your money and add to your comfort and healthiness!
If you have air conditioning, using a fan can help save your money. A single-room fan can cost 0.7 cents per hour, while whole-home AC will cost $1 – 2 per hour, depending on the age & efficiency of the unit. By using a ceiling fan, you can raise the thermostat about 4° with no reduction in comfort!
How Do Fans Work?
Fans create a wind-chill effect that cools your body. Bodies cool down through 1) convection – when heat is carried away via moving air, 2) radiation – when heat radiates from other objects or from you to cooler objects, and 3) perspiration – the body’s powerful cooling mechanism, where departing moisture takes heat away with it. Since heat rises, ceiling fans can pull heat up and away. Ceiling fans are also able to switch direction in winter, pushing heat back down.
Increasing the Effectiveness of Your Fan
A ceiling fan works best about 7-9 feet above the floor and no less than 8” below the ceiling. Opening windows upstairs to pull heat from down below, and, of course, cross-ventilation (especially on longer paths directed by fans) are most effective. And, in San Diego, many of us are lucky enough to benefit from the off-shore breezes at night, so a fan is adequate to provide a comfortable sleeping climate.
Benefits of Different Types of Fans
Larger fans can do more than smaller fans, and larger blades can have the same effect at a slower speed. Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath can remove heat and humidity, as well as indoor air pollutants, which accumulate when homes or buildings are closed up. Another option is a whole-house fan. This system pulls air from open windows and exhausts it through attic and roof, also ventilating the attic! They provide 30-60 air changes per hour and are sized in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Installation, including circuit wiring and vent installation, should be done by professionals. And always remember to check noise ratings when purchasing a fan.
Beat the Heat!
Solar energy is a major source of unwanted heat in most climates – AND appliances, lights, and occupants only add to the temperature! In addition to fans, some preventative ideas include additional attic insulation, reflective roofing, sun-blocking window treatments, and reducing the use of hot water and appliances. And finally, wear cool clothing, such as cotton instead of polyester, in order to stay comfortable.
Become a Fan!
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