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The Green Scene “February”

Why Use Your Ceiling Fans?

fanI am somewhat of a newcomer to ceiling fans; for in the Midwest, where I spent most of my life, they were considered more an option in homes.  In Florida they are a necessary appliance.  Each time I return to Kansas for a visit I see more and more of them as a standard feature in homes.  I have come to enjoy the movement of air throughout my home making it a more comfortable setting.

I have never thought about ceiling fans quite this way but they are really appliances wrapped decoratively with unique housings in a variety of finishes and they often feature furniture grade blades and accessories making them a decorative addition to any room.

Consider the following ideas concerning the utilization of ceiling fans:

  • One of the myths about ceiling fans is that they lower the temperature in a room.  Actually, ceiling fans do not lower actual room temperature.  However, they do create a breeze, making room occupants feel cooler and more comfortable.  With a ceiling fan running, you can raise your thermostat setting by four degrees during the cooling season with no reduction in comfort.  Increasing the room temperature by even two degrees can cut your cooling costs by at least 4-6% and in some cases by as much as 8%.
  • Ceiling fans help in the winter when operated in reverse by pushing warm air down without creating a chilly breeze.
  • Ceiling fan light combo kits that have earned the ENERGY STAR® are about 50% more efficient than conventional fan/light units.  Shop for the ENERGYSTAR® labeled appliance!!!!  The savings will pay off!!
  • People often ask if they should leave their ceiling fans running all the time.  The answer is no, because fans cool people, not rooms.  Ceiling fans are less costly than air conditioning, but they still use electricity.  Running several fans 24 hours a day can add up quickly, especially if no one is home to benefit from them.  Run the fan only when someone is in the room.
  • If you are interested in using a ceiling fan in a bathroom or other humid location, make sure it is UL-listed with a “damp” rating.  If you are mounting a fan where it may come into direct contact with water (e.g., a porch or patio), be sure it has a UL “wet” rating.  These fans have features such as sealed or moisture-resistant motors, rust-resistant housing, stainless steel hardware, and all-weather blades.
  • Terms to be familiar with include:  Downrod Extension allows you to set the fan at the proper height from your ceiling for optimum performance.  CFM/watt Cubic Feet per Minute/watt measures air flow efficiency for ceiling fans; the higher the number, the more efficient the unit.  UL means Underwriters Laboratory, a testing site to insure quality and energy-efficiency.

This article is based on a UF/IFAS publication titled Energy Efficient Homes:  Ceiling Fans, FCS 3261.  The publication can be obtained at the EDIS website of http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu or by calling me at the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Office at 850-926-3931.  Turn to the publication to learn what features to consider, correct sizing for your room, motor and blade choices, sound levels and how to safely install a fan.  Go to the internet to get a copy or give me a call and I will get you a copy!

 

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