Save Energy and Money During Fan Season
When is fan season, exactly? We all know air-conditioning season because it coincides with the hottest days of summer. Fan season lasts a lot longer.
In fact, you might be running your room fans through the end of September or even longer. Floor fans offer homeowners great performance when it comes to circulating air in a hothouse. They’re efficient and powerful, and tall models like pedestal fans can move air at a height that disperses heat as it rises. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the magic number to keep in mind is 78 – that’s the thermostat number you should set once spring weather gives us a preview of what summer will be like. It sounds high on its own, but it’s an energy-efficient setting that’s comfortable with the use of electric fans. Using electric fans in tandem with air conditioning has proven to be an energy-saving move for consumers.
By cooling a room with air conditioning until it reaches a comfortable temperature, then running fans after the air conditioner is turned off, the fan breeze will continue to keep a room cool and use less electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using window-safe box fans consumes minimal energy and can effectively cool a room. Turning them outward, so that they exhaust hot air from the home, is especially effective.
When choosing a floor fan, you should consider where you’ll locate it and how large an area you want to cool off. Although they typically come with three speeds, a floor fan that’s run at its highest speed will provide faster rotation of its blades and greater air circulation. A stronger fan breeze is able to cool an area that encompasses several rooms. This is a good rule to follow throughout late spring into summer and early fall. Whenever you’re cooking dinner at the stove, running the dishwasher, or drying clothes in a laundry room that’s on the same floor as other rooms, you’ll heat up your house. Sending a fan-driven breeze through the heated area will bring the temperature back to a comfortable level.
If the fan head is equipped to rotate vertically or horizontally, homeowners can focus the breeze in a given direction. That’s particularly helpful when certain spots in your house become hotter than others, or if you’re busy in one part of the house where heat is building up. Aside from heat from ovens, stovetops and countertop appliances, this is the room that tends to bring everyone together for eating, socializing and other activities. Add body heat to the mix, and the kitchen is a room in deep need of a cooldown. Range hood exhaust fans can focus more on stovetop ventilation than full kitchen heat exhaust. That’s why consumers ought to consider adding a window or box fan to the array of appliances because it can siphon hot air from a room that can get uncomfortable very quickly on a summer day.
Rooms that are often adjacent to the kitchen – dining, living and family rooms – may absorb the heated runoff from the cooking area. Generally, they’re larger and may have higher ceilings, but hot air can stagnate in these rooms without a fan to circulate air. For this purpose, pedestal fans are a good choice. Large areas are served well by the tilting heads of these fans that can move air throughout the space, or pick up an outdoor breeze and distribute it into every corner. For bedrooms, the timers and remote controls available on many tower fans are particularly helpful. You can use a remote to turn off the fan without getting out of bed or a timer can be set to run a certain amount of time before you drift off to sleep.
Often the choice of a fan comes down to how much space it will take up and how much noise it will make. The quietest fans work best in bedrooms where they may be run throughout a hot night and can’t disturb someone who’s sleeping. A general rule of thumb regarding fan noise is that the larger and faster the fan, the more noise it will make. When noise is a factor, homeowners should consider where the fan will be used, how much area it has to cover and what activities take place there.
Looking for some other ways to save money during fan season? Consider this month-by-month guide to cutting down on costs and energy usage.
April and May: The Spring Cleaning
As milder weather gradually takes hold in the country’s colder regions, your thoughts may be turning to spring cleaning. Beyond airing rugs, clearing clutter and washing down walls and floors, spring cleaning is also a good time to evaluate your home cooling equipment needs before the hot, sultry days of summer are upon you and your family.
This is when you should be taking your window and portable fans out of storage to see that they’re in good working order with electric cords undamaged from previous seasons. If not, investing in new fans for home use now will allow you to have them up and ready when the hot weather hits.
Spring cleaning time is also a great opportunity to make sure your electric fans are clean and ready for spring and summer use. There are different cleaning instructions for different types of fans in your home. It’s best to consult your user manual for specific instructions, or you can visit our How-to Videos page for more instruction about the proper use and care of your Lasko fans.
The same types of checks and preseason maintenance are also good for your home’s air conditioning units. Check air filters in window units and central air systems so there won’t be any clogs later in the season. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that running air conditioning with clean filters can save homeowners from 5 to 15 percent in energy consumption. In addition, test all settings before summertime to make sure they’ll be operating at optimal levels when they’re needed most.
During the in-between seasons in spring and fall, there are bound to be unseasonably warm days when air conditioning isn’t needed, but using a fan will come in handy to cool down a room quickly. Box fans are particularly effective in circulating air to create a cooling wind chill.
Airflow is everything when it comes to cooling down your home as quickly and efficiently as possible. For people who don’t have central air, the inclination is to situate window units around the house to reduce summer heat, room by room. But that may not be the best use of your energy dollars.
Instead, use several fans throughout your house to pick up the air-conditioned air and effortlessly carry it throughout your home. This extends the use of a single window-unit air conditioner, saving you money in both the cost of additional units and in energy consumption. You might still need additional air conditioners on other floors in your home, but you might be able to make it with one unit on each floor, as fans have a far greater ability to move air around your home than air conditioners.
It also helps to have windows that are well-sealed when air conditioners and fans are working in tandem. Just as heat can leak from a home in winter, the same gaps may allow hot air from outside to seep into your home in hot weather and force your appliances to work harder.
June, July and August
During the worst dog days of summer, consider how your fans could help spread the cool of your air conditioner. Instead of running multiple window A/C units, set up a series of fans from room to room to create a breeze throughout the house and encourage airflow.
You can also cool your home by blocking direct sunlight during the day. Keep blinds and shades drawn to preserve the cool interior, then, at night, open all your windows to get the evening breeze.
Stay cooler and save energy at the same time by taking cool showers – or shorter warm showers. Rather than running the oven or electrical kitchen appliances to make hot breakfasts, lunches and dinners, try making more no-cook meals like fruit and yogurt parfaits and salads with plenty of fresh produce.
Get your home ready for cooler temperatures with a home energy audit. Have a specialist come by – you can contact your local utility company for references, and they may even foot the bill – and make sure that you’re home is free of drafts and properly insulated. You may still be using your box fans to stay cool in the heat of the day, but soon it’ll be cold enough to break out a space heater in the evenings.
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