Using ceiling fans to save money

No one likes being hot during the sweltering summer months, especially inside your own house. But it is also no fun to open up an envelope from the electric company at the end of the month with a huge bill inside. However, while installing a ceiling fan requires an investment up front, it can save you up to 47% on cooling costs.  With a little bit of time and some basic tools, you can even install the fan yourself.

Here are five tips for how to use ceiling fans to save money and lower your electric bill:

Buy a Quality Fan

While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest ceiling fan that you can find to save money, it is actually a better investment to buy a quality fan. If the fan breaks within a few months or squeaks constantly, then you will most likely find yourself spending more money to buy a new fan. Highly rated brands include Hunter, Hampton Bay and Westinghouse and will typically cost between $60 to over $200 depending on style and features. 

Purchase an Energy Star Fan

The US Environmental Protection Agency gives an Energy Star Rating to products meeting specific guidelines and typically are more energy efficient that other ceiling fans. Energy Star Fans can save up to an additional $15 per year on electrical costs and $165 per fan over the lifetime of the fan. By purchasing a ceiling fan with an Energy Star label, you can help the environment and save additional money.

Get the Right Size Fan

A common mistake is to buy a fan that is too small for the room resulting in the room staying warm. Florida Power & Light recommends purchasing a 36 inch fan for rooms that are 10 X 10 feet or smaller and a 52 inch fan if your room is 15 X 20 feet. For larger rooms, you should buy two ceiling fans.

Set the Ceiling Fan to the Correct Direction for the Season

The direction that your ceiling fan is set makes a difference in how cool the room gets. Most fans have a setting that allows you to change directions based on seasons. Consumer Reports recommends setting the fan so that the air blows down during the summer months.

Lower Your Thermostat Setting

Once you have the fan installed and running, you need to lower the thermostat setting in your house. The cost savings from fans comes from the temperature of the room feeling cooler so that you do not need to use the air conditioning as much. However, you will only see the savings if you lower the temperature setting on the thermostat. Consider also setting the temperature even higher during the day when you are at work or school.