The answer is – yes and no.

Ceiling fans can definitely save money on your air conditioning bill if you use them the way they are intended.

Ceiling fans make you feel comfortable when it’s hot by blowing air over your body and increasing the evaporation, which is how the body cools itself. You feel the reaction just like a wind chill factor.

In theory this makes it possible to set the thermostat at a higher room temperature, which of course translates into energy savings.

Makes sense. Statistics, however, unfortunately show that most people keep the same thermostat settings no matter if they run their ceiling fans or not.

So now you come in from the hot outdoors, enter a chilled room and on top of it get blasted with a wind chill factor that has you grab for a sweater. The same people (not anyone in this room, of course) often leave their ceiling fans on even when nobody is around, oblivious to the fact that ceiling fans only do their duty when the air they circulate actually moves across a warm body. Operating alone in a room ceiling fans are useless and only consume energy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down the virtues of a ceiling fan. As a matter of fact I like the nostalgic feel they somehow evoke. From our miserable cooling conditions at our old showroom I also know for a fact that ceiling fans definitely help keep a large crowd of people more comfortable, when the air conditioner is having trouble keeping up. There’s no doubt about that.

In the winter using a ceiling fan in reverse can help push the heated air that collects at the ceiling down to a level where it is useful.
Again, it’s important to remember that air movement feels chilling, so it’s better not to overdo the air circulation in winter to a point where it ends up feeling drafty and uncomfortable.

So, used the way they are designed, ceiling fans can indeed help cut down on your energy bill.

Shown: the Flute Ceiling Fan and the Cirrus Ceiling Fan by The Modern Fan Co.

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