If you’re like many other Florida homeowners, you likely dread your summertime energy bills. Your air conditioner can account for up to 70% of those bills during the months of June through September. Fortunately, keeping cool with fans is certainly possible if you’re clever, and some of these tips might provide some energy savings, too.
Ceiling Fans – Push Warm Air Downward and Improve Circulation
While ceiling fans may no longer be a designer’s favorite accessory, the truth is that they’re important to energy savings. Keeping cool with fans requires using them appropriately, and when it comes to ceiling fans, the most important thing to consider is the direction. Make sure the blades rotate in a counterclockwise direction (forward rather than backward) so the downward airflow feels cool. Remember that hot air rises, so using your ceiling fan in this manner will ensure that the warmer air stays near the ceiling while only the cooler air circulates around your home.
Exhaust Fans – Remove Excess Heat from Kitchens and Baths
Exhaust fans are also vital to your home’s ventilation and comfort. These are typically found in kitchens and bathrooms where actions like cooking and showering generate excess heat and humidity. The exhaust fans pull that heat and humidity out of the home before it has a chance to circulate, which saves your air conditioner from the extra workload. While it’s true that exhaust fans do pull cooled air from your home at the same time, the reduction of heat and humidity more than makes up for this slight cooling loss. Keeping cool with fans is about knowing which fans to use at the right times, and you should always use exhaust fans when showering or cooking.
Box Fans – Ventilate Stuffy Areas
Keeping cool with fans in windows or perched on stands is also a possibility, especially if you’re working up a sweat. The cooled air in your home is drier than the outside air, and while this is what keeps you comfortable, you might still find yourself a little uncomfortable if you decide to walk on your treadmill for 30 minutes. A box fan creates moving air, and as the cooled air blows across your skin with increased force, it’s better able to evaporate the sweat. That’s why a box fan can make you far more comfortable when you’re working inside your home.
Cooling in a Pinch – Keeping Cool with Fans and Ice
When it comes to keeping cool with fans, there’s one trick that works better than any other – especially if there’s a room in your home that always seems to stay warm, or if you’re waiting for an HVAC technician to service your central air unit. This involves putting a large bowl of ice in front of a box fan and directing the airflow toward you. It’s basically the same principal as an air conditioner. The fan moves warm, humid air over the ice. Because the ice is cold, it creates a pocket of cool, dry air. As the air from the fan encounters the air around the bowl, it transfers some of its moisture (and therefore heat). This creates a cooling sensation on your skin, and it can truly work in a pinch.
If your energy bills are higher than you’d like, consider keeping cool with fans. Set your ceiling fans’ direction appropriately, make sure you’re using exhaust fans as needed, and consider using box fans to cool you down when you’re moving instead of turning down the thermostat. All of these will go a long way toward reducing your energy costs.