Using ceiling fans can give your air conditioner a helping hand this summer, in addition to lowering your cooling costs. For the average American home, the ideal perceived indoor temperature should be somewhere around 75 degrees. There are two ways to reach that desired comfort level: You can keep turning your thermostat down until the actual air temperature matches that reading, meanwhile raising your cooling costs as your A/C runs longer cycles. Or you can utilize ceiling fans to create the perception of coolness in that temperature range while actually setting your thermostat slightly higher and saving money.

Why It Works

We all know a windy winter day feels colder than a calm day. That’s a result of the wind-chill factor that increases the perception of coolness, even when the actual temperature isn’t any lower. In summer, a ceiling fan blows air downward on occupants of the room, creating a small-scale version of wind chill. A room with an actual temperature of 80 degrees feels closer to 75 degrees when a ceiling fan’s running.

A ceiling fan allows you to raise the air conditioner thermostat a few degrees to save money without paying any penalty in cool comfort. For each degree you bump the thermostat setting up, you can reduce cooling costs by about one percent. Today’s efficient ceiling fans sip electricity — a four-foot diameter model running on the high setting consumes only about 75 watts per hour, compared to 3,500 watts per hour for a typical 2.5-ton central air conditioner.

Set It Right

Ceiling fan rotation is reversible and season-specific. To get the comfort benefits and lower cooling costs, make sure yours is set correctly. In hot weather, the directional switch on the fan should be set to the “Summer” or “Reverse” setting. Viewed from beneath looking up into the fan, the blades should be rotating in a counter-clockwise direction and you should be able to feel the breeze blowing directly down on you.

Ask the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling Electric and Plumbing about installing a ceiling fan to lower cooling costs and enhance indoor comfort this summer.