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ceiling fans

A ceiling fan is the most effective circulating fan there is. Circulating fans include table and pole-mounted floor fans, but these other types can’t compete in terms of circulating room air for wind-chill cooling. Basically, ceiling fans create a nice draft that makes anyone in the room feel cooler — up to four degrees cooler, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In the winter, ceiling fans can be used to keep warm air from rising and pooling. That means you can typically set back the air conditioning or furnace, increasing/decreasing the thermostat by four degrees without feeling any less comfortable.

Ceiling fans use less energy than an A/C and can be used on their own with ventilation on temperate days. Even on the hottest days in the Baltimore area, ceiling fans can increase the effectiveness of your home cooling system. You can turn off a ceiling fan when leaving a room, since you won’t be there to feel the wind chill.

Save Money Year Round With Ceiling Fans

In summertime, run the ceiling fan counterclockwise and you should feel a cool breeze directly under it. In winter, reverse the spin — there's usually a switch on the central body of the fan — and run the fan on low in the clockwise direction. This forces warm air that has risen to the ceiling down, allowing you to lower the thermostat setting. In the winter, reverse the fan blades to keep heated air from rising and sitting at the ceiling. This will help keep you warmer and reduce heating bills as well.

Choosing the Right Ceiling Fan Size

If your room is long — more than 18 feet — plan on installing more than one fan. Small or medium fans will cover areas of four to six feet in diameter, but if you want to cool a 10-foot area, use a larger fan. For a room of 225 square feet or smaller, use a fan with a diameter of 36 or 44 inches. Anything larger would overpower the room décor, waste energy and make too strong a draft.

In a room larger than 225 square feet, choose a 52-inch or larger fan. Larger fans turn more slowly to provide the same amount of cooling as smaller ones. This may be desirable if you have a desk with lots of papers on it in the room. They may be more likely to stay in place with a larger fan, depending upon where the desk is in relation to the fan.

Ceiling Fan Placement

Ceiling fans are most effective if blades are 7 to 9 feet above your floor and 10 inches to a foot below the ceiling. If your ceiling is 14 feet high or domed at the center, for example, you may need an extension for the fan’s center rod so that it hangs no more than 9 feet from the ground. Don’t allow fan blades closer than 8 inches to the ceiling, and they must be at least 18 inches from any wall for proper function and air circulation.

Tips for Installing and Mounting Ceiling Fans

  • If you’re replacing a plain overhead lighting fixture with a ceiling fan, you'll most likely need a new metal electrical outlet box (mounted above your ceiling) to connect the fan. Choose a UL-listed box labeled for use with ceiling fans.
  • Anchor the fan to a ceiling joist or use a spiked ceiling fan mounting bracket between nearby joists.
  • If the fan becomes unbalanced and the blades wobble, check all screws and connections to be sure they’re tightly fastened and lined up. Measure distance from each blade to the ceiling using a yardstick. Try carefully bending any wobbly or uneven blades back into place. A balancing kit is usually included with balancing clips and blade weights to help you fix the problem.

Buying a Ceiling Fan: Features to Consider

  • Listen to the fan in action before purchasing in order to avoid a noisy surprise. You can also check the noise ratings to compare.
  • Generally, more expensive fans last longer and run more quietly because they're better engineered overall.
  • For the highest level of energy efficiency and utility cost savings, choose a ceiling fan with the Energy Star label. They're about 20 percent cheaper to operate than standard, unlabeled ceiling fans on the market.
  • Consider a convenient remote control for the ceiling fan. If one isn't included, you may be able to add one.

For more information about ceiling fans or other home comfort concerns, contact Griffith Energy Services, Inc.

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