Ceiling Fans: Cool Breezes and Cost Savings

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension


In the heat of the summer, we look forward to any kind of breeze, inside or out. Ceiling fans not only provide that relief from the heat, but also can help homeowners save money and energy all year long.

Of the types of fans available, ceiling fans are considered the most effective for changing room temperature because they create a draft throughout the entire room. When using a ceiling fan, a home’s thermostat setting can be raised by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit and comfort level will feel the same. Remember to turn off the fan when you are not in the room.

If you are purchasing a ceiling fan, look for the Energy Star label to ensure energy efficiency. All Energy Star fans allow for the motor and blade direction to be reversed so that the fan may be used year-round. Blades should rotate counter-clockwise to move cool air in the summer and clockwise to move warm air in the winter.

Purchase the proper size fan for the room you are furnishing. A 36-inch or 44-inch diameter fan will cool rooms up to 225 square feet, while a fan with a diameter of 53 inches or greater should be used in a larger room.

Ceiling fans are appropriate for rooms with 8-foot ceilings or higher. Ideally, the blades would be 7-9 feet above the floor and 10-12 inches below the ceiling. Fans should be no closer than 18 inches from the walls.

For more information on reducing your summer cooling cost, view the video on Extension’s E-Conservation website at http://www.e-conservation.net/consumers/ReducingSummerCoolingCost.html or contact Burke Extension Center at 439-4460.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences