Do you love running your fan, but are worried it might be increasing your utility bills a lot?
That’s quite a common concern! In fact, thousands of people worldwide worry about this and weigh paying a little extra every month vs sweating uncomfortably throughout the day.
It’s estimated that about 80 million American households have at least one ceiling fan, which makes sense. Especially in humid, hot places, like Florida.
To help you enjoy your ceiling fan without having to worry about going over your monthly utilities budget, I’ve prepared the calculator below. In it, you’ll find several options you can tweak to fit your appliance’s specifications. Hopefully, by the end of this article you’ll have a much clearer idea of what running your ceiling fan is costing you.
Keep reading to stay fresh!
How I’ve Estimated Ceiling Fan Running Costs
Unlike other appliances, ceiling fans aren’t awfully complicated. Typically, all they need to work properly is a motor, well-oiled bearings, some wiring, and adequate use.
However, while they’re simple in operation, determining how much power they’ll be drawing can be tricky, as there are many elements that contribute to this. Things like blade diameter, power settings, the electricity rates in your state, as well as efficiency certifications play a key role in the overall monthly costs.
This is why I’ve collected data from over 600 fans from EnergyStar’s database.
One of my main findings was that, when set to low, ceiling fans use as little as 5W per hour (or .005 kWh); however, this can be increased by the fan’s blade diameter.
That being said, even if you had the largest commercial fan diameter available on the market, you typically don’t have to worry about running costs when it comes to your ceiling fan. There are other appliances, such as heaters, that use a lot more power every month.
If you’re truly interested in a significant decrease in your electricity bill at the end of the month, you might want to start there.
How to Lower Your Ceiling Fan’s Running Costs
I hope I’ve given you some reassurance with the previous section. But even if I did, you might still want to reduce your appliance’s power consumption. There are many small actions you can implement to achieve this.
Here’s a recap of the most significant ones.
#1 Use Alternative Cooling Solutions
You might be wondering what I mean by this, and I understand your confusion.
When I say alternative cooling solutions, I don’t mean adding an Air Conditioner to the equation, as this will only drive up your electricity costs. What I’m recommending is to look for ways to create airflow in your home for free.
There are many ways in which you can do this, such as keeping the blinds closed during the day, opening your windows, reassembling your furniture for better airflow, and much more. There are other alternatives that are just as effective, but these do require investing money.
Some of them are insulating your home, making your own heat-blocking curtains, repainting your roof with a lighter color, and caulking any cracks.
By implementing any or many of these steps, you’ll have a cooler home without having to turn on your ceiling fan.
Talk about savings in the long run!
#2 Look For EnergyStar Rating Fans
Modern appliances are designed carefully and with energy efficiency in mind. If you were to compare an older ceiling fan to a brand-new one, chances are that the newer model would consume a lot less power than its competitor.
That being said, even among great products, there are some that offer better performance than others. Ceiling fans with EnergyStar ratings are a great option for people that want to maximize the bang for their buck.
If you’re not sure what this is, I’m happy to explain. In a nutshell, appliances with EnergyStar ratings have been tried and tested and have been found to work great while using the least amount of resources possible.
Now, don’t get too excited. This efficiency rating is not magic. I do recommend checking out ceiling fans that are EnergyStar approved because they can, in fact, help you save money, but don’t expect it to lower your fan’s power draw by 50%.
Here’s a chart to help set some expectations.
#3 Keep the Fan Well Oiled and Clean
Proper maintenance is one of the key elements to ensure that your ceiling fan is working as expected and not drawing excess power. Keeping your appliance well-oiled and clean can go a long way in increasing the energy efficiency and lifespan of the unit.
How so? Great question!
Ceiling fans spin their blades by using a motor that relies on well-oiled bearings that allow for circular movement without too much friction. When there’s enough oil and there’s no debris or dust buildup, the appliance can avoid overheating and overtaxing itself.
But when you haven’t applied oil and/or cleaned the unit in a while, you’re bound to have some problems. The harder your ceiling fan’s motor has to work to spin the blades on the bearing, the more power it will draw over time.
So, if you want maximum energy efficiency, please make sure to clean the appliance often and apply oil to the bearings at least once a year (or as often as your manufacturer recommends in the User Manual).
#4 Test Different Settings
Sometimes, we tend to use appliances the way we think they should be used rather than the way they’re designed to.
Let me elaborate.
There’s a very good chance that you’re using your appliance at much higher speeds and settings than you actually need to stay fresh and cool. You could likely get the same results you’re getting now while dialing things down a notch or two.
I recommend you take 10–15 minutes to tweak your ceiling fan’s settings and see how you feel with each change you make. If you notice that, while using lower settings you’re still comfortable, keep things running at that level and watch the savings come.
If you notice that the appliance is not working differently, although you’re changing the settings, or if you see that it’s spinning too fast or too slow, you might have stumbled upon a different issue. In that case, you’ll want to look closer for abnormalities.
#5 Make Sure the Fan Is Balanced
Lastly, let’s make sure that your fan is properly balanced. You might be wondering why this is so critical, and the answer is very simple – design and efficiency.
Not unlike other appliances with moving parts, ceiling fans are meant to work with perfectly-balanced blades, as this provides the least amount of friction on the bearing and air resistance on the blades themselves.
This is why you just can’t replace a broken ceiling fan blade with another model of a different size-weight.
An unbalanced fan blade could cause your appliance to work harder than it’s supposed to, resulting in higher power consumption, overheating, and an overall reduction in lifespan.
If you’re not sure how to check for balance or how to correct it once you’ve noticed it, make sure to call a professional for help.
That about sums it up!
Knowing how much you’re paying every month to run your appliances is key to maximizing efficiency and savings. And while ceiling fans will not burn a hole in your pocket, it’s still understandable that you don’t want to waste electricity.
I hope this piece has helped you better understand the running costs you can expect from your ceiling fan, as well as the actions you can take to lower them. In many cases, something as simple as checking for oil, making sure the appliance’s blades are balanced, and looking out for energy-efficiency ratings can go a long way.
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I wish you nothing but the best!