GREENSBORO, N.C. — Summer’s heat is just around the corner, which means our air conditioners will soon kick into high gear, and with that, high energy bills. But as Consumer Reports explains, choosing the right ceiling fan can help cool off that overheated electric bill. But how much do you really know about ceiling fans? Turns out they don’t actually lower the temperature in a room. They cool you off by creating a draft that moves air over your skin.
And here’s the best part: Ceiling fans cost very little to run, and when used with your air conditioner, you can actually raise the thermostat by about 4 degrees and feel just as cool. Fans with the Energy Star label are 60 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units.
To optimize the power of your fan, hang it high. They work best when the blades are 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. If your ceiling is really high, use a down rod to bring it to the right height.
The most popular fan size is 52 inches. They’re best for large rooms, from 225 to 400 square feet. A fan that’s 42 to 44 inches is effective in rooms from 144 to 225 square feet. If your room is borderline, opt for the larger fan and run it at a slower speed.
When it’s time to install, if you’re replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, check to ensure that the electric box can support the weight.
Your fan is going to gather dust and even pollen. To keep it clean, Consumer Reports says to lay a sheet beneath it to protect furniture and floors, then wipe the blades and housing gently with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.
Finally, remember that fans cool people, not rooms, so always turn them off when you leave.
And CR says your energy savings don’t end with using ceiling fans. Choosing an LED or CFL light will last longer, use less energy, and save you money.