The Facts About Ceiling Fans
Choose a good-looking, energy-efficient fan, and use it correctly.
Synopsis: Nearly every home has at least one ceiling fan, and most homes have more than one. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about how to use ceiling fans and how to properly size a fan for the space where it’s located. In this article, associate editor Patrick McCombe examines the energy savings claimed by fan manufacturers and energy-efficiency experts. He also discusses how to properly size a fan and to choose among the hundreds of models available, including outdoor fans, architecturally appropriate fans, and fans with modern remote and wall-mounted controls. Photos of high-style fans demonstrate how such units can provide an exciting architectural element on their own. A comprehensive sidebar discusses how to safely mount a fan to the ceiling. Photo courtesy of the manufacturer.
There are 16.7 million ceiling fans sold every year in the United States. They are so popular that most homes have three or more. Most people say that they use their fans to stay comfortable and to save on air-conditioning and heating costs. People also routinely say that the fans keep their homes cooler. These widely held beliefs about ceiling fans are far less straightforward than most people realize.
When used incorrectly, ceiling fans actually can add to your utility costs instead of reducing them. The good news is that if you understand how ceiling fans work and know how to pick the proper fan for a space, these devices can indeed make you more comfortable and save you money on your utilities.
The first thing to know about ceiling fans is that they cool people, not rooms. Like all fans, ceiling fans make you feel more comfortable on a hot day because the breeze they produce speeds the evaporation of sweat from your skin. This evaporative cooling doesn’t work on inanimate…