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Ceiling fan facts  Smart Choices Archive

Ceiling fan facts

Ceiling fans can offer energy savings.

Energy Efficiency: Heating, Cooling, Ventilation

It's a fact: Even though fans don't lower a room’s temperature, the breeze a fan creates can make you feel cooler. This Old House magazine says you should be able to set your AC thermostat about 4 degrees higher if you run ceiling fans, which may lower your electricity bill by up to 8 percent.

Additional helpful hints from This Old House:

  • Place fans correctly. Keep them at least 7 to 10 feet above the floor for safety. Mount the fan at least 8 inches from the ceiling for best performance. Make sure they are at least 18 inches from the wall or a sloped ceiling. Stay away from lights, because rotating blades right below a bulb can cause flickering.
  • Purchase for cfm (cubic feet of air moved per minute) rather than size. The higher the cfm, the better the breeze (and higher cfm fans usually also have a better motor that lasts longer and run quieter).
  • To find the best size fan for the room, use this general rule of thumb: Start with the square feet in the room, divide by 4, and get the blade span in inches.

Shopping for a fan

  • Motor. Most are AC, but DC motors may have more features and be more energy efficient.
  • Lights. LEDs are the most energy efficient, but recognize that not all LEDs are dimmable.
  • Blade material. Choose solid wood (not composites, as they may droop in the humidity), metal, or plastic.
  • Energy Star label. Energy Star-labeled fans are tested for quality and efficiency.

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