It's the same dilemma every summer: do you sit around in the heat and sweat away the season, or do you crank up the air conditioner and pay a fortune in electricity bills? Fortunately, you don't have to make a zero-sum choice between your comfort and your pocketbook. With some strategic placement of good old fashioned fans, you can reduce or even eliminate the need to run the air conditioner all day long. Read on for some tips on how to save money by using fans this summer.
Big Breezes Mean Big Savings
Air conditioners gulp up around 5 percent of all electricity produced in the United States, costing consumers about $5 billion each year, according to the Energy Department. You can do better. Fans aren't free, of course, as they also run on electricity. Their consumption is far lower than that of an air conditioning unit, however, and with a little know-how they can work almost as well.
Fans don't actually cool the air the way AC does, but they do create a nice breeze and circulate the air around the room. You can use ceiling fans or floor fans or both to complement or replace your air conditioning:
- For Ceiling Fans: If you're buying a new fan, get one with blades angled at least 12 degrees to improve its air-circulating prowess. Make sure the fan is set to the summer setting, which is usually counterclockwise. That pushes the air directly downward to make a comfortable breeze. The real key with ceiling fans is to only use them when someone is in the room – otherwise, they're just pushing air around with no one there to benefit. If you're of the technical bent, you can get occupancy sensors to create your own smart fan that turns itself on when someone enters the room.
- For Floor Fans: The best technique with floor fans is to use several to create a cross-breeze through your home. If the AC is off, open up the windows and have one fan suck in air from one side of your home and another fan push it out the other. Again, they don't do any good if there is no one around to benefit from that breeze, so turn them off when you leave the room.
The key to realizing savings is to create a situation where you are comfortable raising the temperature by a few degrees, or even turning the AC off altogether.
Go the Extra Mile
To go the extra mile to keep cool over the summer while reducing your reliance on the air conditioner, close the curtains or put a shade over any window that gets direct sunlight during the daytime so you aren't absorbing all that solar energy into your home. Keep the lights off inside when possible and limit the use of all heat-generating appliances, like the stove and clothes dryer. If you do use AC, make sure that your home is fully insulated so you aren't leaking precious cool air into the great outdoors.
For more tips on beating the heat this summer, or for help installing your new fan setup, contact your local home services professional today.
Call your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® with your home cooling questions and concerns. We're always here to help!