SAVING ENERGY WHILE INCREASING COMFORT
The average air conditioning unit requires more than 3,500 watts of energy while in use. Compare that to a typical ceiling fan that uses only 60 watts at the highest speed setting, and you’ve got a prime opportunity for significant energy savings. Ceilings fans are rarely relied upon exclusively in our comfort conscious society during extreme temperatures because they don’t actually reduce air temperatures. However, through proper installation, operation, and maintenance fans efficiently circulate comfortable air temperatures within a given space and offer facility cost savings.
A Summertime Solution
In the summer, using a ceiling fan on a high speed setting circulates cool air resting near the floor in isolated pockets. Nearly all modern ceiling fans have a clockwise and counter-clockwise setting on the base of the motor – in the summer the setting should be on counter-clockwise. The rotation direction pushes air down through the center of the room while cool air is distributed throughout the space. This mixing effect increases circulation of the cool air in a room, thereby reducing the burden on the A/C unit.
Hot Air Rising
A common misconception is that ceiling fans only provide benefits in warm months, but converse logic applies during cold winter days. As learned in Mr. (insert your teacher’s name here) science class – hot air rises. It’s a shame (not to mention expensive) that much of the warm air created by a furnace or other heating source is wasted hovering high above our heads. On cold days, a ceiling fan can be run in the clockwise direction on a low setting. The chillier air at floor level is drawn upward, dispersing pockets of warmer air throughout the room. The inverse air movement stabilizes ambient temperature in a room. The thermostat can then be set at a lower temperature while maintaining the desired degree of comfort, thus reducing the amount of energy needed to heat a space by a primary heat source.
The angle of the blade is an important factor when selecting a ceiling fan. To provide effective circulation, the blade angle should be greater than 12 degrees. Consequently, any blade with more than a 16 degree angle could great a windy effect, causing papers to blow about the room and create a general nuisance. A 14 degree blade falls right in that ideal sweet spot where air circulation meets energy savings for facility managers and customer comfort.