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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Ceiling Fans Can Help Keep You Cool

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the July 26, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Ceiling fans have returned to many homes. They are no longer just a nostalgic appliance but a prominent element in interior design and can help save energy. Ceiling fans move large quantities of air unobtrusively. They help move air uniformly with less noise than other type fans.

A ceiling fan will save energy only if it persuades the homeowner to turn the thermostat up and/or off in the air-conditioned summer home. Several research reports on comfort and temperature suggest moving air can make a room feel 6 to 7 degrees cooler. On a hot day this may mean an air conditioner could be set at 82 degrees F rather than 76 degrees F.

Ceiling fans deliver a down-draft that's a foot or two wider than the blade's path. When the fan is centered in the ceiling, the air column reaches the floor, spreads out toward the walls, and turns upward to be recirculated.

Ceiling fans should be placed in rooms with eight-foot ceilings to provide the needed seven foot clearance from the floor.

The most common fan has 52-inch blade sweep. Most fans have four or five blades and range in length from 29 to 62 inches. Ceiling fans are measured from the tip of one paddle blade to the tip of the opposite blade.

Some ceiling fans are designed to run in reverse, pushing hot air across the ceiling and downward in the wintertime. Other models accomplish the same thing be reversing the pitch of the blades. Since hot air rises, trapping cool air near the floor, a fan can help to break up these air layers.

If you are considering adding a ceiling fan to your home be sure to check that the fan meets the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) requirements for electrical safety. An internal circuit breaker helps protect against overloads on the motor.

Fans have a variety of optional features. Items to consider when purchasing a ceiling fan are: cost, size, CFM (cubic feet of air moved per minute), wattage, controls, reversible motor and/or blades, construction quality, material quality, mounting system, electrical requirements, optional features, safety standard, warranty and service.

Ceiling fans require a minimum amount of care and maintenance. The design and finish on the material determines the kind of cleaning needed.

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