How ceiling fans can make saving energy a breeze

Ever sat in a hot room and started to fan yourself with whatever’s on hand?  Sheets of paper, a magazine, even your hand will do…as long as you don’t slap yourself.

The moment you start waving that magazine in front of your face, you feel instantly cooler, right?

So let me pose a question: do you think you changed the temperature of the room by waving the that fan?  Is your wrist tired?   Well, stop waving goodbye to yourself and find a cool spot in front of, or under, a fan.

For more than a 130 years this cool invention (pun intended) has been cooling people off. In my 18 years at CPS Energy, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is “Should I leave my ceiling fans on to keep the house cool?”  This leads me to believe that folks still don’t understand the primary function of a fan.

Fans, whether it’s a ceiling fan, a box fan or an oscillating fan, cool YOU, not the room.

The blades help to move air around the room and across the skin.  Our skin naturally has moisture, so when air moves across it, we instantly feel three – four degrees cooler.

Here’s what a fan will NOT do.  It will not change the temperature of a room.  If you have 78 degree air in the home then your fan will simply circulate 78 degree air.  Nor will fans make your air conditioner work less.

That said, by using a fan, you’ll FEEL cooler, making it comfortable enough to turn your air conditioner up a few degrees–and that can save you money.

Speaking of money, how much does it cost to run a ceiling fan?

The cost varies, depending on the size of the fan and how often it’s used.

Here’s a common formula for figuring out the “cost of operation” of a 75-watt ceiling fan.

75 watts ÷ 1000

= 0.075 kw x 6 hours (average daily use)

= 0.45 kwh x .10 cents (CPS Energy’s cost per kilowatt)

= 0.0459 x 31 days (You’re billed monthly)

= $1.42 a month (cost of operation per fan)

Feel free to use this formula to figure out any electrical appliance you may have.

And here’s another tip:  use ceiling fans year-round.  They can be beneficial in the winter.  Most ceiling fans come with a reverse switch that rotates the blades in the opposite direction to bring warm air trapped near the ceiling down into the occupied room.

Here’s a quick test  to figure out if you have a reverse switch in the right mode.

Stand directly under the fan.  If you feel the air directly hitting you then its set for summer. If you feel nothing, it’s set for winter.

So before you walk out that door make sure you give your fans a rest and turn them off.  Do me a favor, and please “circulate” this info to your friends.   😉

Want to find out how much that appliance is costing you?  Now you can, using our “Energy Calculators”



Albert was part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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