Question: How much electricity does a ceiling fan use?
Ceiling fans are extremely efficient and can cost as little as 2 or 3 cents per hour to operate. Compare this to about 50 cents per hour for central air and you can see there is a lot of money to be saved by using ceiling fans. Of course these numbers will vary depending on your location, but it puts the proportonal cost of running air conditioning versus ceiling fans into perspective.
Certainly you will save the most money if you do not run your central air at all, and instead run a ceiling fan in the rooms in which you spend your time. However, this is not always a practical solution since ceiling fans do not actually reduce the temperature in your home, they only give you a wind chill effect if you are in their close proximity. So in very warm climates, using just your ceiling fans may not give you the comfort level you are used to with air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning, ceiling fans will at least give you a good level of relief…particularly if you open some windows in your house to allow for maximum air circulation.
The ideal solution for saving energy with ceiling fans while maintaining your maximum comfort level, is to operate your central air and ceiling fans at the same time. The trick is to raise your central air thermostat by 10 degrees. What you will find is that your comfort level remains the same, but your air conditioner runs up to half as much…which is where you will pick up a substantial savings on your cooling bills.
However, before you go running off to by ceiling fans for every room in your house, it is important to know that there are vast differences between ceiling fans…they are not all created alike and some will perform better than others!
The motor inside a ceiling fan is what makes or breaks it, just like the motor inside a car is the driving force behind it’s performance. There are several different types and grades of motors used in ceiling fans, some being more powerful than others, and some more “Energy Efficient”. The largest most powerful fan motors on the market are made by Emerson (K55 motor) and Casablanca (XLP motor). These motors cost the most to operate (which means they are not considered as energy efficient), but will actually give you the most bang for your buck because they move substantially more air than fans with less powerful (more energy efficient) motors.
The Emerson K55 and Casablanca XLP motors run at about .9 amps, which is equivalent to the cost of operating a 100 watt light bulb. Other less powerful motors may use as little as .5 amps, which means they will cost almost half as much to operate, but they will also move much less air…which means you will need to run your air conditioner at a lower thermostat setting.
I say this because there is a lot of buzz about “Energy Efficient” ceiling fans going around nowadays, which can be somewhat misleading. Although the “Energy Efficient” ceiling fans will cost less to operate, you may find that they do not keep you cool enough to warrant the miniscule annual savings you get from them compared to the most powerful “Non-Efficient” ceiling fans that move more air and allow you to run your air conditioning the least.
Finally, you will find that most of the light fixtures you find on ceiling fans actually use more electricity than the fan motor itself. Consider a 4 light fixture with 60 watt bulbs in it. That will use a total of 240 watts, whereas the most powerful fan motor only uses the equivalent of 100 watts. So you may do well to consider fans with less wattage to the light fixture, or fans with fluorescent or halogen bulbs that are energy saving. You can also put those new compact fluorescent bulbs into a 4 light fan fixture and reduce the cost of the light by up to 75 percent.