Ceiling Fans & AC Systems

Can you remember a time when your home didn’t have an air conditioning system? If you live in Florida, and you’re under the age of 50, probably not. Thanks to Willis Carrier, who secured a patent for his “Apparatus for Treating Air” in 1902, air conditioners have been a staple in American homes since the late 1960s. Today’s models, due to standards set by the Energy Department in 1992, are more efficient, quiet and use about 50 percent less energy than earlier air conditioning systems. Even so, you probably still spend quite a bit on your electric bill each month to keep your home comfortable and would love to save more money, yes?

Fan or No Fan

It’s not uncommon to find fans in nearly every room of Florida homes and apartments. But, are they really necessary anymore, and more importantly, do they actually save you money? The answer may not be as black and white as it may seem.

If you’ve read “5 AC Mistakes to Avoid,” you know that fans do not cool rooms, they cool people. So technically, fans aren’t really reducing the temperature in your home. They may, however, help reduce your energy bill if you do the following while running your fans:

  • Increase your thermostat by at least 10 degrees in the summer (this can reduce your bill by about 10%)
  • Turn off fans when you leave a room
  • Adjust fan rotation per season – In the summer, use high speed in a counterclockwise (air pushing down) motion. For winter months, set to low speed in a clockwise (pushing air upward) motion.

It’s important to use high-performance, energy-efficient models to get the best results. You should also make sure your fan blades are set to an angle of 12 degrees or higher; anything less isn’t really going to make a difference.

How Much Can I Save?

Although you may be able to reduce your electric bill by using ceiling fans, you might not actually be saving any money. To explain this, we’ll need to do a little math.

Let’s assume you purchase four (4) mid-range fans at $150 each. That’s an investment of $600 (not including tax). Next, we’ll take an average electric bill for a 1200 square foot home in Jacksonville, Florida; that’s around $250. If you raise your thermostat the suggested 10 degrees while using fans, you’ll save approximately 10 percent off that bill per month – or $25. To determine how long it will take for you to pay off your initial investment of $600, divide by $25, which is 24 months (2 years).

Seems pretty good, right? Not so fast. Now, you’ll need to factor in how much it takes to run the fans. We’ll assume that at least half of the fans are running at some point throughout the day. On average, the cost per Kilowatt hour in Florida is $.11, so your monthly cost is around $19.27 for all fans. Deduct that from your $25 monthly savings and it’s now only $5.30 saved per month. When you divide the $600 by that amount, those two years now stretch to 9.43 years before you’ll actually see any real savings from your fans.

Does this mean you shouldn’t use your fans? No. We are simply pointing out that you should be realistic on how much of an impact ceiling fans will have on your overall savings. The best way to ensure your energy bill is as low as possible is to install an energy-efficient air conditioning system and keep it maintained with bi-annual tune-ups to ensure it runs at peak performance for many years to come.

For AC installations and tune-ups in the North Florida area, contact Cool Connections at (904) 908-5252. Our friendly, professional staff is ready to help.

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