Ceiling Fans and Energy Efficiency

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ September 4, 2009

In improperly installed or poorly maintained ceiling fan may become more ornamental than useful. You may have selected your kitchen, bedroom, or living room fan based on appearance, choosing it for blade design or lighting options. But unless you're just going to turn it on when company comes, you should make sure that your fan is not costing you more to operate than the potential energy savings it can bring to your home.

Let's say you've included quotes for having a fan installed when renovating a bathroom. According to Home Energy Magazine, a standard ceiling fan with a light fixture uses about 300 kwh/year to operate, while a certified Energy Star model fan uses less than half of that amount without compromising light and airflow capabilities. Makes sense to help distribute your HVAC load with an appliance that also runs efficiently.

Do You Need Lighting in the Ceiling Fan? If your main reason is to curb heating or air conditioning costs, you may not need to buy a ceiling fan with a central light. It's the light itself that draws the most power during operation and it generates heat. Halogen and incandescent bulbs typically use the greatest amount of energy.

The government's Energy Star website provides downloads of tools to help you select the most energy-efficient fan based on the size of your kitchen or bathroom, on your regional heating and cooling requirements, along with installation tips. The agency also has suggestions in choosing the correct fan mounting system for your room: standard, extended, sloped, or flush mounts.

Fan Adjustments: Working Out the Wobble There's nothing glamorous about a wobbly fan. The noise or visual flutter in the spin can drive you to distraction. Worse, a wobbly fan can have a shorter effective life as well as use additional energy to run without providing circulation.

If you're installing the fan in your bathroom or kitchen--or having someone do it for you--be sure the unit is fastened securely to a mounting box in the ceiling. This is a pivotal part of the procedure. Most manufacturers balance the fan blades before shipping, but there's no guarantee your unit will come that way.

A good method of diagnosing the fan is to run it without the blades installed to see if it still wobbles. If it runs smooth, you'll need to balance the blades. Be sure to ensure that all the set screws and mounting screws are tight. Then measure the distance from the top of each blade to the ceiling. Adjust each blade as necessary until all of them are true and even.

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