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Should I Use A Ceiling Fan with my Air Conditioner?

Some things in life are “either or.”  Some things are mutually exclusive. For example: right or left, and heads vs. tails. But, some things are not mutually exclusive–even if we think they might be. We are talking about ceiling fans and air conditioners. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to pick a side in this debate. Just because your home is equipped with central air does not mean you must get rid of your ceiling fans.

When we moved into our current home, I made the mistake of replacing all of the upstairs ceiling fans with light fixtures. Though I like the look of the light fixtures more than the outdated ceiling fans previously, I wish I hadn’t been so hasty.

How Can Ceiling Fans and Air Conditioners Work Together?

Ceiling fans and air conditioners can work in tandem to help keep you cool and your electric bills down. According to Energy.gov, when using a ceiling fan, you can turn the temperature in your home up 4 degrees without feeling any difference. Other sources suggest that you can even alter your home’s thermostat by 12 degrees while using a ceiling fan and stay just as cool. Since ceiling fans use significantly less energy than central air conditioning, this saves significantly.

As with most things, this data is all based on proper use. Energy.gov offers the following guidelines for your ceiling fan:

1. Are your ceilings high enough?

Fans should be installed in rooms with ceilings at least 8 feet high. You want the fan blades to be 10-12 inches below the ceiling and 7 to 9 feet above the floor.

2. Choose the proper sized fan for the room

Check this out to learn about the U.S. Department of Energy’s tips on fan sizing.

3. Make sure to turn off the fan when leaving a room.

Unlike the air conditioner, which cools the air in the room, a fan is cooling YOU using a wind chill effect. Therefore, leaving the fan running will not do anything except drive up your electric bill.

Don’t forget that having a properly maintained air conditioner can also increase energy efficiency. For more information about keeping your home cool, contact us at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical!

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