When the mercury rises, it is hard to remain comfortable inside your home without running up a huge bill. Fortunately, the solution is much more affordable than investing in a new air conditioner or central air system. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), installing a ceiling fan in each living space will help family members feel cooler while saving energy. And if you have not upgraded your ceiling fans in the past eight years or so, you are missing out on saving even more money as many of today's models are more efficient than ever.
"A ceiling fan can save homeowners as much as 40 percent on their air conditioning bills by creating a breeze that makes the ambient temperature feel seven or eight degrees cooler than it actually is," explains John Moody of ceiling fan manufacturer Fanimation. "You can set your thermostat at 80 degrees and it will feel like it is set at 72 degrees."
How exactly does that work? "A ceiling fan cools the room by creating a 'wind chill effect.' It does not lower the room temperature," Moody says. "This wind chill effect makes you feel cooler by accelerating the evaporation of perspiration on your skin. It's the same feeling you get when you open the window in a moving car. When used in conjunction with an air conditioner, a ceiling fan can lower energy costs because you can set your air conditioner thermostat at a higher temperature."
For large homes, installing ceiling fans in laundry rooms and closets is becoming more common, according to Bethany Pirtle of Emerson Ceiling Fans. "Master bathrooms are also a perfect place for smaller ceiling fans, because hair dryers and steam showers can make a bathroom hot and sticky. A small-span fan can quickly and efficiently add comfort," she says.
Another factor in determining where to install a ceiling fan is the fan's UL listing. There are three basic UL-listed ratings for indoor, damp and wet locations. Fans that are rated only for indoors should not be used outside -- even if the area is mostly covered.
Check out the best ceiling fans for your home at an ALA-member showroom. To find more information and showroom locations, go to www.americanlightingassoc.com.