Monday, July 12, 2010

Ceiling fans make life more comfortable year round

Cooling in the summer, warming in the winter, ceiling fans sweep away energy costs

The July sizzle is in the air, a blanket of humidity has descended over the metro area and air conditioners are working overtime. One inexpensive solution to help the AC is adding ceiling fans to your home. If you choose an Energy Star fan, you’ll not only increase your comfort level but also decrease your utility bill, sometimes as much as 15 percent. Fan design has improved so much over the years that there’s a fan for any d├ęcor, from the traditional Tiffany glass and dark wood models to ultra modern one-blade fans. Prices are also reasonable in relationship to the ultimate cost savings and comfort.

Don’t think of ceiling fans as just a summertime thing–in the winter fans with reversible blades circulate the hotter air that rises to the ceiling, helping to lower your heating bills too.

Before you rush out to buy a fan, do some homework first and determine the square footage. Measure the length and width of your room and multiple the numbers. That’s the square footage. Keep in mind the style of the room, and decide if you want a light kit and remote controls.

According to the American Lighting Association, choosing a fan that fits your room size gives you the maximum efficiency. In a room up to 75 square feet, like a bathroom, a 29-36 inch fan is appropriate. Medium sized rooms up to 144 square feet can handle ceiling fans from 36-42 inches. For larger bedrooms and family rooms in the 225 square foot range, the most efficient fans are 50-54 inches. The number of blades makes some difference in airflow, but whether to choose a four, five or six-blade fan is really a matter of personal design choice.

Ceiling fans do such an efficient job of circulating air when used correctly. Paul Vrabel of ICF International, an energy solutions firm, explains how to operate fans properly. “Put them on when you are in the room–during the day and when sleeping–and turn them off when you leave. Ceiling fans cool people, not the air. Using fans wisely and turning down the AC can save a lot of money.”

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