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Ceiling Fans: 7 Things You May Not Know

Choosing the Most Energy-Efficient Fans for Your Residence

We’re in the thick of air conditioning season right now. So, how about we bust some ceiling fan myths and misconceptions? A video of a fan with blades that conceal on top of the fan when it is turned off sparked today’s topic. Although it appears brilliant, it is a foolish concept.

Anyway, here are seven ceiling fan facts that many people appear to be unaware of.

1. The Space Is Heated By Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan is, in fact, a cooling device. However, it adds heat to the room it’s in. Why? Because electric motors convert electrical energy to mechanical energy, the majority of which is lost as heat. The image below depicts a ceiling fan motor that is hotter than the room in which it is located. We know where that heat is going according to the second rule of thermodynamics: into the cooler chamber.

Ceiling Fans: 7 Things You May Not Know

No, it’s not a lot of heat, but keep in mind that when you use a ceiling fan, you’re actually adding heat to the room rather than cooling it.

2. Ceiling Fans Keep Individuals Cool

Ceiling fans are only effective in cooling when they move air over the skin. They help to cool our bodies in two ways: evaporative cooling and convective cooling. If the air movement provided by a ceiling fan does not come into contact with anyone’s skin, the environment will get warmer rather than cooler.

Ceiling Fans: 7 Things You May Not Know

3. A Fan’s Efficiency Measures How Well It Moves

Every new ceiling fan sold in the United States now comes with an effectiveness label. (In the case of fans, efficacy is the amount of air flow you obtain for the amount of electrical energy you put in.) It determines the cubic feet per minute of air flow per watt of electrical power (cfm). A good fan will produce more than 100 cubic feet per watt, whereas a bad fan may only produce 30 cubic feet per watt.

Check the label the next time you’re hunting for a ceiling fan.

4. With Ceiling Fans, Bigger Is Better

You might discover a correlation while checking those labels. The fans with the longest blades are the most efficient, while those with the smallest blades are the least efficient. That is why Big Ass Fans produces big ass fans. If you’re looking for air flow, you’ll want to avoid little short-blade fans like the one above, no matter how cute they are. However, if all you want is cute, go ahead.

5. Lowering The Speed Is More Efficient

When checking at fan efficacy labels, you’ll see that running the fan on medium produces more cfm per watt than running it on high, and still more on low than on medium. The only logical conclusion is to buy the largest fan you can put into the room while maintaining necessary clearances, and run it at the lowest speed that keeps you comfortable.

6. If You Have Air Conditioning, Ceiling Fans Are Unlikely to Save You Money

Ceiling Fans: 7 Things You May Not Know

However, once you have an air-conditioned home, the dynamics shift. The air blowing over your skin still feels wonderful, as does the air conditioner’s low temperature, low humidity air. The theory is that if people feel the breeze from the ceiling fan, they will raise the AC thermostat setting, but the data contradicts this.

A study of homes with ceiling fans which was conducted in 1996 led to the discovery that, despite the fans running for more than half of the day in the test homes, there was no difference in thermostat setpoints between homes with and without ceiling fans.

To summarize, you must set the thermostat to a higher setting for ceiling fans to save you money on your energy bills. Majority of individuals do not do this. When possible, switch to fans instead of air conditioning. Because of the humidity, this normally happens in the spring and fall.

7. You Can Be Decapitated By A Ceiling Fan

Some folks are apparently afraid of having their heads sliced off by a ceiling fan. It’s possible…but only if you replace the ceiling fan motor with a more powerful one (like a lawn mower engine) and replace the ceiling fan paddles with razor-sharp blades.

So relax! A (regular) ceiling fan isn’t going to chop off your head. However, by using one, you can save electricity and make your home warmer.

Oh, and that fan with the nesting blades is a foolish idea since it has two flaws: the blades must be short to fit on top of the motor, and the blades are meant for nesting, not circulating air. It’s fine if you don’t like the aesthetic of a ceiling fan. But, if it’s not going to move much air, why have something like this at all?

Ceiling Fans: 7 Things You May Not Know

What do you think?

Written by HVAC Contributor

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