12 Ways Ceiling Fans Keep You Comfortable and Save Cash

Photo: KellyP42/morgueFileCeiling fans are back in a big way (and according to some folks, they never really left). These inexpensive, energy-efficient cooling devices are good-looking and may be installed easily and quickly for use in any room of your home -- or even out of doors. What's more, an eco-friendly overhead fan will use far less electricity than your air conditioning and can help you save a bundle on your utility bills. Here are 12 benefits of fantastic fans.

  1. Operation of a ceiling fan uses only the amount of energy required to power a 60-watt incandescent light bulb. Compare that to the 3,500 (!) watts necessary to run a central air conditioning system. Switching on a fan instead of the A/C can work out to quite a savings on your electric bill.
  2. Ceiling fans may be used alone or, on hotter days, in conjunction with your air conditioning. You will get the same level of comfort from your A/C, with the thermostat set 4-5 degrees higher, if you operate a fan at the same time.
  3. When the outside temperature drops significantly at night, you can turn off the A/C system altogether, open the windows, and use your ceiling fans to circulate the cooler air.
  4. You may even mount a ceiling fan outdoors for extra comfort on a patio, deck, or porch. Just make sure that the model you install is Underwriters' Laboratory (UL) damp- or wet-rated, for safety's sake.
  5. The cooling effect of a ceiling fan will start as soon as you turn it on. Fans do their job not by lowering the air temperature itself, but rather by creating a breeze. This air motion increases the rate at which human beings' perspiration evaporates, causing our skin to feel cooler. Just make sure that you install your ceiling fan a maximum of 7-9 feet from the floor and in a part of the room where people usually congregate, to get the greatest benefit.
  6. In summertime, there is no real advantage to leaving a fan running when you are not in the room. Turn it off and you'll save electricity. A wall switch or remote control is more convenient to use than a pull chain.
  7. As well as providing energy-efficient cooling in summer, reversible ceiling fans can easily be adjusted to better circulate warm air in winter which, some authorities claim, reduces heating costs by as much as 10 percent.
  8. Fans come with different airflow efficiency ratings, making it simple to choose the best. Energy Star-certified ceiling fans meet exacting standards of airflow, making them 50 percent more efficient than other models, and are required to bear a 30-year warranty on their motor.
  9. Ceiling fans were originally developed to hang in butcher shops, in order to keep flying insects at bay. Their air currents are still great at warding off pests like houseflies and mosquitoes.
  10. The process of ceiling fan installation is inexpensive and uncomplicated. No ductwork construction or electrical panel upgrade is required.
  11. A ceiling fan is simple to maintain -- you will just need to dust the blades once a month or so, with the power off. You can wipe with a slightly damp cloth if you wish but avoid using a great deal of moisture -- besides being dangerous for any electrical appliance, it might warp wooden blades. At the same time, check the fan's screws and tighten, if necessary.
  12. Today's ceiling fans are stylish and can be chosen to match any decor, whether you want to evoke the movie Casablanca or a languorous Florida vacation. Many fans come together with an overhead light. The latest advance in ceiling fan fashion is interchangeable blades, which can be changed to suit your every mood!

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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