Ceiling Fans and Saving

Ceiling Fans and Saving

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Dear Matt, 
I turn my ceiling fans off when I am not in a room. However, my spouse insists I am losing money in AC or heating by not circulating the air. Am I saving by turning them off?

You are correct to shut them off. Energy auditors say “fans cool people, not rooms.” Turning ceiling fans off when you are not in the room saves energy and money. 

Ceiling fans basically help our comfort level. In the summer we are advised to run our ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction at a higher setting to blow the air down at people in the room to create a wind chill effect. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, fans make a room feel 4 degrees cooler than they really are. Fans can save as much as 30 percent but shut them off when you aren’t in the room because you don’t want to give up those savings by using excess energy. 

Ceiling fans also help in winter. Adjust the fan to run clockwise and turn it to a slow speed to avoid the wind chill effect. 

Using a ceiling fan in the winter pulls cooler air from the floor up to the ceiling forcing the warm air back down near people. It helps our comfort but does not change the temperature in the room.