HVAC Hacks: How To Save Money On Your AC Bill This Spring By Using Ceiling Fans
In most places, spring is the time of year when homeowners open the windows and enjoy the warmer temperatures that the end of winter brings. When spring temperatures are cool, your home stays comfortable enough to keep the air conditioning (AC) off, saving you money. But, even in spring, temperatures can get uncomfortable.
When this happens, especially as spring turns to summer, your ceiling fans are a great way to help reduce high energy bills caused by continuous AC usage.
Which Direction Should My Fan Spin In The Summer?
For a cooling effect during the summer, your fan should run in a forward motion (counter-clockwise). Having the fan spin in this forward direction will force the air in the room down giving you the “wind-chill” effect.
How Do Ceiling Fans Cool?
If you’re from an area with harsh winters, you probably already know how wind-chill effects the temperature. Ceiling fans work on the same principle, by increasing air circulation and generating “wind” that blows across your skin. This works like winter wind-chill, causing moisture from your skin to evaporate quicker which makes your home feel cooler even though the temperature hasn’t changed.
How Can I Use Ceiling Fans To Save Money?
Ceiling fans use far less energy per hour (.018 – .1 kilowatt-hours) than the average central AC system (3.5 kilowatt hours). That means, depending on where you are, ceiling fans may be able to make you more comfortable on their own, helping you avoid turning on the AC.
For example, running your AC unit for three hours a day for a year uses 3,832.500 kWh, while a ceiling fan only uses 19.71-109.5 kWh. With the average price of energy at 12.1 cents/kWh, that means using your fans instead of your AC could save you more than $400 per year (or close to 41 cents per hour).
If you do have to turn the AC on, consider how a combination of ceiling fans and AC can save you more than just turning on the AC alone. If you feel cooler when you have your ceiling fans on, you can keep the AC turned up to a higher temperature, meaning it will run less often. The less your AC unit runs, the less money it will cost you.
In order to save the most money and still be comfortable, you need to find the optimum temperature. Try increasing the temperature on your thermostat by one degree every day while your ceiling fans run. When you get to a day when it’s too hot in your home, go back one degree and you’ve found the perfect AC/ceiling fan cooling combination for your home.
How Do Homeowners Keep Ceiling Fans Running Efficiently?
Like any other part of your HVAC system, ceiling fans need routine maintenance in order to stay efficient and keep money in homeowners’ pockets. Fortunately, these simple maintenance steps can be combined with your typical HVAC maintenance checklist…
Remove dust from the fan motor and blades. Dust accumulation reduces airflow, making your ceiling fan less efficient. If it accumulates unevenly, it can also make your ceiling fan spin unevenly causing it to wear out quicker.
Visually inspect your ceiling fans. When you run your ceiling fans, they spin and vibrate which could jar screws loose. Inspect each ceiling fan monthly and tighten any ceiling screws, light fixture screws and fan blade screws.
Change the direction of your fan blades using the small toggle switch on the side or top of the motor. In the spring and summer, your ceiling fan should be spinning counter-clockwise so it pushes air forcefully down towards the floor and produces the wind that cools your home. In the fall and winter, flip the switch so your fan is spinning clockwise, forcing warm air from the ceiling up and then down into the room without directly creating wind.
Incorporate these three maintenance tasks into your HVAC maintenance routine and your ceiling fans will help produce cheap, efficient temperature control that keep you comfortable, while reducing your energy bills.
Do you use your ceilings fans often? What other ceiling fan tips do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments below!