Depending on the type of system you use in your home, relying on your air conditioner alone can add up to big bucks this summer. However, there may be a way to ease the burden on your A/C system and save both money and energy at the same time. If your home has ceiling fans, you can use these to save money on your cooling expenses.
How It Works
In order to take advantage of the potential savings, you'll need to make sure your ceiling fan is turning the right way. You'll need all of the fans in your home to rotate counterclockwise. Simply think of a watch running backwards and you'll get the idea. You'll also want your ceiling fans running at medium or high speed depending on how hot it is outside.
Most ceiling fans feature a button that lets you reverse the fan's rotation. Once you have your fans running counterclockwise, you'll be able to use them in concert with your air conditioning system.
What Makes It Work
Running your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise direction essentially forces the air in the room downwards, generating a strong breeze that also produces a wind chill effect. You can feel this effect in action for yourself by wiping your arm with a damp cloth and blowing on the dampened area. In fact, your body relies on this very same effect to cool you down after strenuous activity - the wind carries away latent body heat as it evaporates the perspiration on your skin.
The wind chill effect generated by your ceiling fans can make your living spaces feel several degrees cooler than their actual temperatures. If your living room's current temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance, the constant breeze given off by your ceiling fan can make it feel seven to eight degrees cooler than normal.
The Savings You Can Expect
Since the wind chill effect makes your home feel cooler than actual temperatures indicate, you might not need as much air conditioning as you normally would without your ceiling fans. This means you can keep your home cool and comfortable with less effort and less energy spent. When using your ceiling fans and air conditioner together, you can raise your thermostat temperature by four degrees without any loss in comfort.
Combining your ceiling fan and air conditioner usage can save you up to eight percent on your summertime energy costs. Using ENERGY STAR labeled ceiling fans can net you even greater savings, as these models generate airflow 20 percent more efficiently than standard ceiling fans, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Another way to save money on cooling costs is to have your AC system serviced to ensure it is running as efficiently as possible. Contact a company like Classic Air and Heating to inspect your AC and perform any needed repairs.