Author Topic: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?  (Read 11747 times)

Kaplin261

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Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« on: October 02, 2015, 05:10:35 AM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

So the obvious here, turn ceiling fans off when not in the room(if you can remember). Maybe wire in a motion sensor? Ceiling fan motors create a lot of heat, this is counterproductive in homes that use AC systems. On average most ceiling fans consume 75 watts.

Bucksandreds

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 06:10:26 AM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

So the obvious here, turn ceiling fans off when not in the room(if you can remember). Maybe wire in a motion sensor? Ceiling fan motors create a lot of heat, this is counterproductive in homes that use AC systems. On average most ceiling fans consume 75 watts.

If one has a 2 story great room then definitely to distribute the air.  If not then probably not much savings.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2015, 06:23:28 AM »
I bought a decent fan on sale for 70$ and took two hours to install it myself.  It is installed above our bed in the bedroom.

I feel the savings comes from not having to turn on the AC.  Over the past two summers we've only had to turn on the AC a handful of times.  Largely due to the fact that the fan keeps us comfortable while we are sleeping.  Sleeping is really the only time the heat and humidity bother me, so this was definitely worth my time and money.

One could argue that you could get the same effect from a free standing fan, but for me it's not quite the same.  The ceiling fan does a much better job keeping you cool at night.

GuitarStv

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 06:50:57 AM »
We use our ceiling fan (installed above the bed) all summer while sleeping.  It makes warmer temperatures much more comfortable to sleep in, reducing the need for A/C.  We turn it off when we leave the room (if you are capable of turning off a light when you leave a room, I think you'll be able to figure out the fan).

I agree with Cromacster . . . ceiling fans to a much better job of moving air than standing fans.  They're quieter (important if you're planning on sleeping) and they're out of the way.

justajane

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 06:54:16 AM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

Just because the average is that high doesn't mean a Mustachian isn't handy enough to do it for much, much less. That's like saying that because the average kitchen remodel is 50K, wouldn't it be cheaper just to get rid of your kitchen and eat out all the time? ;)

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2015, 06:54:33 AM »
I've found a ceiling fan does save money. While it does generate some heat (I've never noticed it, personally, but I don't leave a fan running when I'm not in the room), the biggest benefit is moving the air around you. It creates a local wind chill, turning you into your own little heat sink.

Sizing the ceiling fan to the room would be the one concern. If you have an open floor plan with enough square footage, one ceiling fan may not be enough, in which case you're just wasting energy if you're not in its effective range but think you are.

I can comfortably keep the AC above 80 with a ceiling fan running. Without it, I'd need to keep it at least a couple degrees cooler, if not slightly less. Every degree cooler than outside seems to add about $10/month to the electric bill. A ceiling fan here in Florida would pay for itself in the first year.

Unless you got one of these Big Ass Fans that are made in the USA, then it'd be more like 4 years. But man do they look awesome.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2015, 07:06:46 AM »
One could argue that you could get the same effect from a free standing fan, but for me it's not quite the same.  The ceiling fan does a much better job keeping you cool at night.

I've never found this to be true- the ceiling fan does a much better job of making the whole room feel cool. But I have issues with air blowing ON me due to nerve damage, so I truly despise directed fans, and especially oscillating fans.

Not to mention they take up floor space, and I broke my ankle tripping over ours one night, so the medical bill cost more...

For the OP: Our fans cost $70-100 (some rooms got nicer fans), and were installed by us in under an hour, as long as you already have a light in the ceiling where you want it to go. (If you didn't, that would be much harder for the install.)

We are able to keep the A/C off for months at a time in weather where just a fan will do.

thd7t

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2015, 07:08:26 AM »
A human puts out about 100 W of heat, so the heat added by the 75 W motor isn't that bad.  In addition, the motors are pretty efficient, so little of that energy is converted to heat.  The real benefit of ceiling fans is that they distribute already conditioned air more evenly, reducing the frequency that your A/C has to run.  In 2008, data was showing that this could reduce cooling costs by up to 30%.  I haven't looked into this more recently, but the data probably holds up.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2015, 07:15:40 AM »
as long as you already have a light in the ceiling where you want it to go.

Not just a light. A fan box. This has more stringent requirements than just a regular light fixture.

ambimammular

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2015, 07:23:12 AM »
Yeah, don't buy the $200 fan then. We got all of ours off craigslist and paid between $20-$40 for them. DH put them in with me assisting. (They're freaking heavy before they're screwed in.)

They're a pain in the ass, but not difficult. DH says the biggest help was having a tray at the top of the ladder so he didn't have to stop halfway through to find the screw that fell into the carpet.

A heating/ac guy we had check the efficiency of our house said he leaves his running day and night. It brings the warm air down from the ceiling in the winter, and creates breezy airflow in the summer. He said the cost of running them was negligible. I don't know how accurate he was about this, but I thought people might like to hear the rationale behind it.

nereo

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2015, 07:50:29 AM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

I have no idea where you are getting this rather precise figure.  You can certainly install a ceiling fan for under $50, depending on your home and setup.

Quote
Ceiling fan motors create a lot of heat, this is counterproductive in homes that use AC systems. On average most ceiling fans consume 75 watts.
Again - I am not sure where you are getting this info.  All electrical appliances generate some heat, but I wouldn't say a properly functioning ceiling fan generates "a lot" of heat.  New ones are pretty efficient at not generating excess heat.  Also, it's important to understand that the stated energy consumption is when the device is running at maximum speed - it will use just a fraction at the lower speed settings.

So - do ceiling fans make economic sense?  Well it depends greatly on your home.  If you have a high-vaulted ceiling it's almost a no-brainer.  For smaller spaces the effect will be much less.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2015, 07:52:06 AM »
For me a ceiling fan makes it so I hardly have to turn the AC on in my house at all. So it definitely saves money.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2015, 08:00:31 AM »
as long as you already have a light in the ceiling where you want it to go.

Not just a light. A fan box. This has more stringent requirements than just a regular light fixture.

Thanks for correcting. I guess everywhere we've lived has always had this- as we've installed fans in all our houses and apartments (of various construction ages.)

Kaplin261

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2015, 08:01:26 AM »
as long as you already have a light in the ceiling where you want it to go.

Not just a light. A fan box. This has more stringent requirements than just a regular light fixture.

Correct. Also if your fan has a light, you will need a separate electrical switch to turn the fan on and off unless you are ok with using the pull chain.

Rosy

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2015, 09:06:42 AM »
In the living room we have a pretty palm leaf fan from Lowes. Installation cost: a couple of beers for a friend. Price originally $213. on clearance $96.
It saves us money, because it keeps the room comfortable without the need for AC in the rest of the house and we definitely need it for circulating air when we have company over, it is a small room.

In the bedroom we have the standard cheapie, cost $40 about 19 years ago. To me this one is a must have, because we live in Florida and if the AC ever goes out in midsummer, you wouldn't be able to sleep in the heat. It is right above the bed.
We also use this fan to dry a bedsheet or the laundry taken down half dry from the clothesline out back, because a rainstorm hit.

When I moved in there was also a huge fan in the dining area above the table - oversized and ugly and it is all you saw, because it is just a nook. Couldn't wait to get rid of that baby.

acroy

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2015, 09:27:25 AM »
ONLY if used instead of (or to facilitate a reduction of) AC.
For instance, if you can handle 82F with ceiling fan, but set AC to 78 without ceiling fa, then yest it's probably worth it.

It can assist with heat bills to, but to a lesser extent. It can be 'turned around' so it blows upwards, and forces the hot air near the ceiling to mix into the room.

Limitations of the ceiling fan:
- initial cost
- installation cost
- it is effective only when you are in the room. leave the room with the fan running, and might as well leave a 75W light running.
- increases heat transfer to/from walls/ceiling/floors and especially windows. Most folks don't realize this but it can be quite significant. In a still, 78F room the convection/conduction from a 100F exterior window will be lessened by the still interior air. Add a fan and it just increased the heat transfer. The energy transfer is worse in the winter as temp differentials (inside/outside) are often larger: i.e. 20F outside/65F inside = 45F differential.
- Every Single Watt the fan uses heats the house. Every single watt that goes into ANYTHING in your house ends up as heat. Fan, dishwasher, TV, doorbell, smoke detector, alarm clock. Thermodynamics, bros and sisters. A small amount of it you can carry out of the house (batteries). The rest: you pay for TWICE in the summer: once to power the gizmo, the 2nd to pull the energy back out of the house.

Have fun!

Bob W

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2015, 09:46:17 AM »
I doubt they would pencil out.  A $15 used box or stand up rotating type fan at the thrift store will do a better job and actually save money.   You can point these directly at you at high speed and basically live without ac altogether.  They only run when you are in the room. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2015, 09:59:31 AM »
I am surprised that so many people mention that they have trouble turning off a fan when they leave a room.  That's pretty silly.  Do you also leave your car running when you get out, your TV on when you finish watching a show, and the shower running after you get out?

There are physical limitations on how much air can be moved quietly by small portable fans because of the blade size.  Ceiling fans are out of the way and tend to have larger blades, so it's less of an issue with them.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2015, 10:02:55 AM »
I find the air flow of box fans to be miserable on my eyes.

Kaplin261

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2015, 10:06:40 AM »
I am surprised that so many people mention that they have trouble turning off a fan when they leave a room.  That's pretty silly.  Do you also leave your car running when you get out, your TV on when you finish watching a show, and the shower running after you get out?

There are physical limitations on how much air can be moved quietly by small portable fans because of the blade size.  Ceiling fans are out of the way and tend to have larger blades, so it's less of an issue with them.

There so quite, its not something you notice. When I leave a room I always turn the light off, not sure why that is more obvious. I would say the ceiling fan in our bedroom gets left on when we leave for work at least twice a week by forgetfulness.

nereo

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2015, 10:46:43 AM »

There so quite, its not something you notice. When I leave a room I always turn the light off, not sure why that is more obvious. I would say the ceiling fan in our bedroom gets left on when we leave for work at least twice a week by forgetfulness.
I suppose if forgetting is a problem you could install a timer on the switch.  They range from the very simple (the turn-a-dial switch that you see in lots of hotel bathroom 'heat lamps' to ones that you can digitally program for different times each day of the week.  They're dirt simple to install - just turn off the juice at the breaker first.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2015, 10:59:12 AM »

There so quite, its not something you notice. When I leave a room I always turn the light off, not sure why that is more obvious. I would say the ceiling fan in our bedroom gets left on when we leave for work at least twice a week by forgetfulness.
I suppose if forgetting is a problem you could install a timer on the switch. 

We did this for bathroom vent fans. It was just too easy to forget to go back after 20-30 minutes to turn one off after a shower (turning it off after we left the room didn't give it enough time to work.) 

Really really nice to have.  Ours isn't a turn-a-dial, it looks nicer than that, but it is set for time increments, not time of day, so it wouldn't really work for a ceiling fan.


bacchi

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2015, 11:53:26 AM »
- Every Single Watt the fan uses heats the house. Every single watt that goes into ANYTHING in your house ends up as heat. Fan, dishwasher, TV, doorbell, smoke detector, alarm clock. Thermodynamics, bros and sisters. A small amount of it you can carry out of the house (batteries). The rest: you pay for TWICE in the summer: once to power the gizmo, the 2nd to pull the energy back out of the house.

Eh? If every single watt heats the house, how would the blades spin?

nereo

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2015, 12:06:04 PM »
- Every Single Watt the fan uses heats the house. Every single watt that goes into ANYTHING in your house ends up as heat. Fan, dishwasher, TV, doorbell, smoke detector, alarm clock. Thermodynamics, bros and sisters. A small amount of it you can carry out of the house (batteries). The rest: you pay for TWICE in the summer: once to power the gizmo, the 2nd to pull the energy back out of the house.

Eh? If every single watt heats the house, how would the blades spin?

This would only be completely true if you treat your home as a 'black-box' where nothing can go in or out.  Eventually the spinning blades (and the friction they cause) would shift from mechanical to thermal energy.  Windows, doors & cracks  (which allow light, sound, air etc. to escape) change all that.
Also, we're talking about a rather small amount of energy, maxing out around 75watts.  That's less than the output of a single adult reading a book.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2015, 12:12:12 PM »
I bought mine for $200 and installed myself; I did buy one or two little doohickey to help with the process. I love it! Only one window in my bedroom and no desire to have a/c in there, plus no climate control. I found it helped keep air moving in summer and really made nights more tolerable.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2015, 11:23:43 AM »
From a Southerner: 

Yes, ceiling fans are a worthwhile purchase, especially for a bedroom.  The ceiling fan cools the room enough that you can skip running the air conditioner for a month or so in the spring ...and then you can run it at a higher (lower?) temperature throughout the summer.  Ceiling fans last forever and cost little to operate. 

Box fans are always in the way.  The dog knocks them over. 

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2015, 11:42:53 AM »
From a Southerner: 

Yes, ceiling fans are a worthwhile purchase, especially for a bedroom.  The ceiling fan cools the room enough that you can skip running the air conditioner for a month or so in the spring ...and then you can run it at a higher (lower?) temperature throughout the summer.  Ceiling fans last forever and cost little to operate. 

Box fans are always in the way.  The dog knocks them over.


So does the lady of the house when she goes to pee for the third time in the night. This wakes everyone, sets the dogs to barking, and, on bad nights, causes her to fall. Also about one time out of ten falling over breaks a fan blade off, rendering the fan useless (old fans on concrete floors make this worse). Plus they're loud.


Big fancy ceiling fans can be had for under $100, or plain white ones can be had for $50 or so.

BlueMR2

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2015, 01:39:34 PM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

So the obvious here, turn ceiling fans off when not in the room(if you can remember). Maybe wire in a motion sensor? Ceiling fan motors create a lot of heat, this is counterproductive in homes that use AC systems. On average most ceiling fans consume 75 watts.

Well, ceiling fans seem to go on sale in the Fall for 1/2 to 1/3 normal price...  My last one cost $30 (for a Hunter brand).  Seems like now's the prime time to buy.  Power consumption can be anywhere from 50 watts to 150 watts based on speed.  I've found that the low speed makes no difference.  Medium speed is the minimum to make it worthwhile.  Installation, well, I ran into problems with mine and it ended up taking a total of 6 man-hours.

Is it worth it?  I'm really not sure...  Ceiling fan plus whole house fan to pull in cool morning air DID mean less A/C usage and our electric was slightly lower.  However, not as much as I expected, and I just had to replace the whole HVAC system recently.  The new A/C unit draws half the power of the old one and the new HVAC fan draws about 1/3 of the old on in normal mode (but also draws some when idling vs. the old one that would shut off).  Still waiting to see how those numbers work out...

Gevans17

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2016, 05:14:31 PM »
yes. much cheaper than running central AC all the time

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2016, 10:04:31 PM »
Holy shit. I've installed about 7 fans in the last year (new house + rentals), some fairly nice, and none was over $100 retail. I do my own but a typical electrician can knock it out in a half hour or less so they don't charge much.
I run hot, and I find that a ceiling fan increases my temperature tolerance on summer nights by 3-5 degrees.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2016, 07:06:51 AM »
You're assuming everyone has aircon. :)

Ceiling fans do make warm spaces more pleasant and I wish I had a couple installed here. Instead I've got a tower fan that works OK. I find it nicer than the pedestal fans (the bases on those always fall apart).

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2016, 07:55:00 AM »
Didn't see anyone else mention this but not only does a ceiling fan save you money in the summer, but they also save a lot of money in the winter. If you reverse the direction so it is pulling air up instead of blowing air down, it mixes all that hot air that rises up to the ceiling with the rest of the air and your heater doesn't have to run nearly as often to keep the air close to the floor where we humans tend to stay, warmer.  I bought and installed two ceiling fans, one in the living room and one in our bedroom for less than $150 and they run almost year round.

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2016, 08:34:52 AM »
I'm a fan (ha!) of ceiling fans.  I've installed several; it's not hard as long as they have that hook to support their weight while the wiring, etc. is put in place.  Our house is a pretty crappy design for keeping cool in the summer since the master is upstairs and adjoins an attic that traps heat.  The fan above the bed makes it much more tolerable.  Since the thermostat is on the main floor, it's always hotter than the set temp upstairs in the summer, and we would need to crank the A/C to cool the upstairs more if it weren't for sleeping under a fan (when nights cool down, we put freestanding fans in the windows).  The energy consumption seems to be negligible compared to running the A/C. 

In the winter we run the ceiling fan on the main floor in reverse most of the winter to mix the warm air, particularly with the fireplace running.  Since this keeps the thermostat from clicking on and off so frequently, I'm confused as to why anyone would keep the fan on only when in the room.  That seems like it would negate most of the benefits of running the ceiling fan.

GuitarStv

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2016, 09:26:46 AM »
Didn't see anyone else mention this but not only does a ceiling fan save you money in the summer, but they also save a lot of money in the winter. If you reverse the direction so it is pulling air up instead of blowing air down, it mixes all that hot air that rises up to the ceiling with the rest of the air and your heater doesn't have to run nearly as often to keep the air close to the floor where we humans tend to stay, warmer.  I bought and installed two ceiling fans, one in the living room and one in our bedroom for less than $150 and they run almost year round.

YMMV on the 'winter fan' thing.  In my experience, having a fan on in the winter doesn't make anything feel warmer.

Fishindude

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2016, 11:30:35 AM »
It won't save you money, it will make the room more comfortable.

You can buy ceiling fans all day for $100 range.   Take down the existing ceiling light and install a ceiling fan, very easy for anyone with basic handyman skills.

thd7t

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2016, 02:22:14 PM »
It won't save you money, it will make the room more comfortable.

You can buy ceiling fans all day for $100 range.   Take down the existing ceiling light and install a ceiling fan, very easy for anyone with basic handyman skills.
You should replace the light box with a fan box, particularly if the fan is over 35 lbs., otherwise, yeah.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2016, 02:35:06 PM »
I am surprised the whole house fan hasn't come up.  In my opinion it blows the ceiling fan out of the water - although requires a little more thought and time to utilize properly.

http://energy.gov/energysaver/cooling-whole-house-fan

thd7t

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #37 on: January 19, 2016, 02:55:00 PM »
I am surprised the whole house fan hasn't come up.  In my opinion it blows the ceiling fan out of the water - although requires a little more thought and time to utilize properly.

http://energy.gov/energysaver/cooling-whole-house-fan
There have been some threads on those and I am really interested in one, but I live in a really humid area.  Apparently, that reduces their efficacy.

Dicey

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2016, 04:22:52 PM »
I read somewhere that a ceiling fan makes the air feel six degrees cooler. Also that if there is no human in the room to feel that six degree effect, the fan is just wasting energy. We are huge fans of fans(!) and have them in our house and rental properties. They really cut down on the need for A/C. If you have high ceilings, reversing them to push the warm air down in the winter is a really neat trick to save on heating costs as well. Again, does nothing if humans are not in the room.

It's not a terribly difficult DIY project if there is existing wiring. You Tube is your friend. Also there are switches available in stock at the box and hardware stores with controls for both light and fan in a single slot, so pull chain access and extra switches are not necessary.

JLee

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2016, 07:59:13 PM »
I doubt they would pencil out.  A $15 used box or stand up rotating type fan at the thrift store will do a better job and actually save money.   You can point these directly at you at high speed and basically live without ac altogether.  They only run when you are in the room.

I'm not a huge fan of those (no pun intended). They pull more power than you'd expect (IIRC mine were 90-100w on high) and won't circulate air too well through an entire room (they'll just push it around in the lower level)...and the cheap ones are loud.

csprof

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2016, 11:28:42 PM »
My research shows the average cost for installation and the cost of the ceiling fan is $243

So the obvious here, turn ceiling fans off when not in the room(if you can remember). Maybe wire in a motion sensor? Ceiling fan motors create a lot of heat, this is counterproductive in homes that use AC systems. On average most ceiling fans consume 75 watts.

If you're in a cooling-dominated climate, don't get an entirely average ceiling fan.  While a Big Ass Fan isn't for everyone (but if you're buying them, send me one too!), something like an Aeratron or one of the more efficient TroposAir or Slinger models will run 5-33W.  The Slinger's about $299 for the fan alone, and it definitely takes a while to recover the capital expense vs. the power savings, but they're also a lot more quiet (less obtrusive, you're more likely to run them).  I'm a fan of spending a little extra for energy efficient appliances (oh gack, I didn't mean that pun):  there's something very pleasant in having a low and predictable monthly utilities invoice, and in having low-guilt comfort. :)  It also gets you better-positioned if you think about options like solar, or if your A/C dies and you decide to downsize it to a smaller unit because of all of the awesome insulating and air-sealing you've done to your house during your projects.

As others noted, 75W isn't that much, particularly compared to an AC.  A typical AC with an EER of, say, 10, would use an extra 7.5W to cool off the heat produced by your fan.  Yawn-zers compared to the hundreds of watts it takes already.  But dropping it down to a 30W model gives you even a little more headroom for running AC-free.

*Quiet* ceiling fans in bedrooms are one of the best things ever.

Check the CFM/W (cubic feet per minute per watt) ratings when you're shopping.  Energy star is a minimum start, but you can get much better.

zephyr911

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2016, 10:46:49 AM »
I know nobody set out to quibble here, but these seem like trivial distinctions.

It won't save you money, it will make the room more comfortable.
If you don't have AC, the above is correct. If you do, you can use it less (save money) and achieve the same comfort level pretty reliably. Two sides of the exact same function, so why argue over it?

YMMV on the 'winter fan' thing.  In my experience, having a fan on in the winter doesn't make anything feel warmer.
I wouldn't expect it to feel warmer, I'd expect the thermometer inside the thermostat to see the exact temperature it expects without requiring as much heat generation, because the heated air is more efficiently allocated, and more of the heat comes back to the point of origin. So, less furnace cycle time.

BTW, I just added up the cost of all three (3) ceiling fans after my last move and it was less than the average single fan quoted in the OP...

Dee18

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2016, 12:03:40 PM »
One thing to consider:  they stir up whatever is in the air--dust, pollen, animal dander--which creates misery for allergy sufferers.

ooeei

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2016, 12:26:59 PM »
In our small apartment (700sqft) in Houston, the ceiling fan noticeably keeps the air better distributed, especially with guests over.  In our old apartment without one, when we had 1-2 guests over and were all hanging out in the living room, it got hot no matter how low we turned the AC.  If you walked into our bedroom it'd be freezing.  Maybe our apartments have just had bad vent placement, but evening out the temperature in the apartment is a big plus to me.

zephyr911

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2016, 12:32:01 PM »
One thing to consider:  they stir up whatever is in the air--dust, pollen, animal dander--which creates misery for allergy sufferers.
...keep your house clean??

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2016, 12:50:10 PM »
Has anyone played with the Nest/Big Ass Fan combination? 

http://www.bigassfans.com/big-ass-fans-introduces-integration-nest-learning-thermostat/
http://www.securitygem.com/nest-big-ass-fans-big-ass-price-tag/

I can see the potential especially in a larger vaulted main room but the up front costs are not to be taken lightly.  In ways I like the idea of a smart house but there are much lower hanging fruits for me now in terms of energy efficiency and even down the line a 5 year ROI for a fan?!?!?

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2016, 11:37:19 AM »
YMMV on the 'winter fan' thing.  In my experience, having a fan on in the winter doesn't make anything feel warmer.
I wouldn't expect it to feel warmer, I'd expect the thermometer inside the thermostat to see the exact temperature it expects without requiring as much heat generation, because the heated air is more efficiently allocated, and more of the heat comes back to the point of origin. So, less furnace cycle time.

Wouldn't that only work if the fan was in the same room as the thermometer?

zephyr911

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2016, 12:52:50 PM »
Wouldn't that only work if the fan was in the same room as the thermometer?

I would think the longer and more complicated the route the air travels from vent to return, the higher the chance for the warmest air to stall along a ceiling and end up having less of an effect, while cold drafts take its place and end up at the return. Making sure it all gets mixed up means less of it sits somewhere and bleeds off its heat to the outside.

csprof

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2016, 06:28:01 PM »
Has anyone played with the Nest/Big Ass Fan combination? 

http://www.bigassfans.com/big-ass-fans-introduces-integration-nest-learning-thermostat/
http://www.securitygem.com/nest-big-ass-fans-big-ass-price-tag/

I can see the potential especially in a larger vaulted main room but the up front costs are not to be taken lightly.  In ways I like the idea of a smart house but there are much lower hanging fruits for me now in terms of energy efficiency and even down the line a 5 year ROI for a fan?!?!?

I adore the efficiency and design of BAF, but:  (a)  The energy ROI is something like 50 years, ignoring the aesthetics.  (b)  The integration with Nest is pretty trivial ("Hey, wanna lower your temp setpoint?").  For someone who's on top of things and knows how to adjust their thermostat already, it's not a big win - it's a nifty gadget.

The motion and temperature sensing part of SenseME is pretty nice, though.  You can DIY it using conventional home automation widgets (or turn the fan on yourself), but my experience with them thus far has been so-so when you want to do things that integrate multiple sensors ("Turn the fan on IF movement AND temperature > 72 ...").  Not having to think about it means it's more likely to be used, and that's a good thing -- I'm about to switch my manually-controlled bathroom exhaust fans to humidity sensor switches for exactly this reason.

BlueMR2

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Re: Will a ceiling fan really save you money?
« Reply #49 on: February 04, 2016, 10:07:44 AM »
Didn't see anyone else mention this but not only does a ceiling fan save you money in the summer, but they also save a lot of money in the winter. If you reverse the direction so it is pulling air up instead of blowing air down, it mixes all that hot air that rises up to the ceiling with the rest of the air and your heater doesn't have to run nearly as often to keep the air close to the floor where we humans tend to stay, warmer.  I bought and installed two ceiling fans, one in the living room and one in our bedroom for less than $150 and they run almost year round.

YMMV on the 'winter fan' thing.  In my experience, having a fan on in the winter doesn't make anything feel warmer.

Same here.  Using the ceiling fan in the Winter made no difference whatsoever.  Well, other than wasting some more electricity...