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How to Slash Your Electric Bill with an Electric Fan

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During the summer months, many Americans turn to their air conditioners for cooling comfort. However, did you know that home heating and cooling systems can account for over half of a household's energy bill, with air conditioning systems being the most costly? Furthermore, to add insult to injury, energy costs are expected to climb, but instead of having to deal with that sky-high electric bill or worse yet, having to suffer through the stifling heat, a better solution is to find an alternative cooling solution.

Although often seen as a primitive and maybe even ineffective method of cooling, the humble electric fan can actually provide substantial savings over the course of one summer - up to 25 percent! Instead of reaching for your air conditioner, consider the underrated electric fan, as it uses dramatically less energy than an AC, costs less to buy, is simple to install, and actually cools like a charm when used correctly and in the right circumstances.

Electric fans are electrically-powered appliances used to produce airflow for the purposes of creating environmental comfort, ventilation, or any other type of gaseous transport. Most electric fans are of the axial type, and these have the ubiquitous blades that move parallel to the shaft about which these blades rotate. In order to provide cooling, axial fans blow air cross the axis, and these can range from the small desktop fans to even the gigantic fans used in window tunnels.

For those who are still skeptical about how an electrical fan can save you money on your energy bill, consider this: moving air helps you feel cooler. As such, ceiling fans and box fans can help fulfill your need for air conditioning at a much lower cost, and this results in energy savings. Below are some ways you can use an electric fan to your advantage when it comes to energy efficiency:

 

Use Your Electric Fan in Conjunction with Your Air Conditioner


If you're still wary of giving up your trusted AC, or if you live in an especially hot climate, consider using your electric fan as a way to supplement your air conditioner. Fans help reduce energy costs by circulating cool air from your AC, and this allows you to raise the temperature on your thermostat and still be comfortable. In fact, an electric fan can make your environment feel three to four degrees cooler and cost only a half-cent per hour to operate. For greater circulation, try using some of oscillating fan such a ceiling fan for even greater circulation.
Tip: Since fans are effective at cooling people as opposed to specific areas, make sure you use them when a room is occupied.

 

Electric Fan Tip:
Since fans are effective at cooling people as opposed to specific areas, make sure you use them in an occupied room
.

 

Invest in a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans not only add decorative beauty to your home, they can also be an important energy saver. Like any electric fan, a ceiling fan used to supplement your air conditioner will save you energy because it will permit you to turn up your thermostat. With that said, for every degree you raise on your thermostat, you can save anywhere from 7 to 10 percent on cooling costs. As well, the air movement produced by the ceiling fan helps evaporate moisture on the skin which provides a cooling sensation. In fact, another great benefit to using a ceiling fan is that it can actually be used year-round. In the winter, set the fan to blow toward the ceiling, as this pushes warm air away from the ceiling and evenly distributes heat in the room. In turn, this will save you money on your home heating bill during the cooler months!

For even more energy savings, purchase a ceiling fan that has earned the ENERGY STAR rating, as this will move air up to 20 percent more efficiently than standard ceiling fans. This can save you from $15-25 per year on utility bills, plus any additional air conditioning or heating savings you may gain when your fan is operating properly.

 

Try a Whole House Fan


Whole house fans are large, powerful fans usually 20-48 inches in diameter with a one-quarter to one-half horsepower motor. They typically use about one-tenth the energy of an air conditioner with comparable cooling power, and they are inexpensive to install. They are usually mounted in areas such as a hallway ceiling or attic and help ventilate your entire home.  Again, when used correctly, they can be extremely energy efficient. However, before turning on a whole house fan, be sure to open some windows, as this type of fan pulls air in from open windows and releases it through the attic and room. In addition, opened windows ensure adequate airflow and also speeds up the time needed to cool the room.

Electric Fan Tip:
Because whole house fans will continue to draw air out of the house and replace it with outdoor air year-round, don't forget to cover and insulate the unit in the winter.

 

Proper Fan Maintenance is Key

Don't forget to properly maintain your electric fan and keep it in good working order. Check your fan manufacturer's recommendations for care and maintenance, as this will further help control operating costs.

 

Calculate Operating Costs


When shopping for an electric fan or any other type of home appliance, it's easy to estimate appliance energy consumption by following this formula below:

Wattage x Hours Used Per Day / 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) Consumption
(1 kilowatt [kw] = 1000 watts)

 

Multiply the number of days you're planning to use the appliance during the year to estimate the annual consumption; then calculate the annual cost by multiplying the kWh per year by your local utility's rate per kWh consumed. Here's an example of  a 200 watt window fan used 4 hours a day for 120 days per year with a utility rate of 8.5 cents per kWh:

Window Fan:
(200 Watts x 4 hours/day x 120 days/year) / 1000
= 96 kWh x 8.5 cents/kWh
= $8.16 per year

Window Fan:
(200 Watts x 4 hours/day x 120 days/year) / 1000
= 96 kWh x 8.5 cents/kWh
= $8.16 per year

 

Window Fan:
(200 Watts x 4 hours/day x 120 days/year) / 1000
= 96 kWh x 8.5 cents/kWh
= $8.16 per year

 

Window Fan:
(200 Watts x 4 hours/day x 120 days/year) / 1000
= 96 kWh x 8.5 cents/kWh
= $8.16 per year

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