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How Does a Ceiling Fan Help My AC System?

During summer months, Alabama homeowners turn to their HVAC systems for cool relief. However, many homeowners also use ceiling fans to help keep them cool in the summer, but do ceiling fans help AC systems work better? When used correctly, your ceiling fans keep air moving and help your HVAC system keep your home feel cooler and use less energy. The team at Douglas Cooling & Heating explains the many benefits of using your ceiling fan in tandem with your HVAC system throughout the year.

The Function of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans do not create cool air but can help with the movement of air. Think about it this way: a hot summer day always feels worse when there is no breeze. The same is true for your home. Stagnant air can make you feel hotter than you actually are. Ceiling fans help with the circulation of air in your home and depending on which way the fans are spinning, can be used to help with the comfort of the air in your home in different seasons.

Do Ceiling Fans Help AC System Performance?

In the summer months, ceiling fans help your air conditioning system by reducing the cooling load in your home. As the blades of the fan rotate counterclockwise, they move air downward toward the spaces where we sit, sleep, and live.

This creates a wind chill effect and moves air across your skin. The breeze evaporates moisture from your skin which makes you feel warmer. When a ceiling fan is used, you can raise the thermostat setting by up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit without any reduction in comfort. Therefore, your AC unit gets a break and lessens the odds of requiring air conditioning repair service. This is a great way to help save on energy bills in your Birmingham area home.

Adding to this, ceiling fans also improve the overall circulation of air within a room. By doing so, they ensure a more uniform distribution of cool air, reducing hot spots and cold zones. This means your central air conditioning system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the space.

It’s also worth noting that ceiling fans are incredibly energy-efficient in their own right. They use significantly less electricity compared to an air conditioner, making them a cost-effective way to stay cool in the summer.

Lastly, by reducing the workload on your air conditioning system, a ceiling fan can extend the lifespan of the unit. Less strain on the AC means fewer breakdowns and repairs, saving you money and hassle in the long run.

So, not only do ceiling fans help the AC system, but they also contribute to energy conservation, cost savings, and the longevity of your HVAC equipment.

Do Ceiling Fans Help Heating, Too?

In the winter, you can use a ceiling fan in combination with your heating system to keep your home more comfortable. Ceiling fans work to evenly distribute the air in the room. In the fall, grab a ladder and look for a switch on the base of the motor on your ceiling fan. Flip the switch to make the blades of your ceiling fan rotate in the opposite direction. When your fan spins clockwise, the fan’s blades draw warm air up toward your ceiling, and the rotating motion pushes this air out toward the edges of the room before circulating back to the ground. With air warmer pooling naturally at the top of a room, this air distribution helps the whole space feel warmer by pushing it back down to reach your body.

You benefit from more of the warmth produced by your heating system. This can reduce the amount of heat needed by helping you benefit from the warm air already produced by your heating system and can reduce the stress on your system. A less stressed system means a lower chance of needing heating system repairs.

Clockwise or Counterclockwise – Which Way Should My Ceiling Fan Turn?

Adjust the ceiling fan blade direction for each season to create the desired warming or cooling effect. Fans have a switch, typically located on the base, to adjust the direction of blade rotation. It is important you select the correct direction for each season to achieve the desired effect. Changing the rotation of your ceiling fan blades is simple, as most models are equipped with a switch on the unit to switch the direction.

In the summer, your ceiling fan blades are set to rotate counterclockwise; in the winter, the blades should be set to rotate clockwise. Ceiling fans shouldn’t be used in the same direction in the winter as they work in the summer. Otherwise, you’ll get the undesirable windchill effect indoors when you’re trying to stay warm.

Don’t Use Ceiling Fans with Your HVAC If…

Whenever a room is unoccupied, you should turn the ceiling fan off. The warming benefits the ceiling fan produces are realized by those in the room. When there’s no one in the room, there’s no need to waste electricity operating the fan. Ceiling fans don’t save energy if they operate in unoccupied rooms.

One exception to this rule exists a ceiling fan located at the top of a two-story stairwell or foyer. As heat rises to the second floor, the ceiling fan moves the stairwell’s heat down to the first floor to add warmth. If you have a two-story foyer or great room which feels cool while upstairs feels warm or stuffy, try a fan. An existing lighting fixture can easily be swapped out with a fan or a fan with lighting.

Using ceiling fans wisely throughout the summer can be a great complement to your HVAC system. Ceiling fans can help you feel cooler indoors and allow your HVAC system to operate less for great energy savings. Be sure your ceiling fan blades are rotating counterclockwise in the summer and you turn off your ceiling fans when a room is unoccupied!

How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

  • Ceiling fans work best in rooms with ceilings at least eight feet high. Optimal ceiling fan installation places blades seven to nine feet higher than the floor and 10 to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Blades should not be closer than eight inches from the ceiling and 18 inches away from the surrounding walls.
  • Choose a ceiling fan appropriately sized for your room. Larger fans are capable of moving more air than smaller models. For rooms of 225 square feet, ceiling fans with a diameter between 36 and 44 inches are sufficient.
  • Larger rooms need a fan with a diameter of 52 inches or more. In rooms longer than 18 feet, multiple fans should be used for the best results.

When It Comes to HVAC Systems – We’re Huge Fans!

These ceiling fan best practices give your HVAC system a needed break this winter and help it operate more efficiently. For more energy-saving tips, schedule service from Douglas Cooling & Heating today.

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