If you’re unable to invest in an air conditioner during the summer, you might want to consider using fans throughout your house to keep cool.
Fans are generally cheaper to buy and install than AC units. Plus, they are better for the environment because they use less energy.
All that energy adds up: AC costs homeowners about $29 billion each year, according to the United States Department of Energy (DOE). Fans are far more energy-efficient and cost-effective.
But fans only work effectively when you use them correctly. Below, a simple guide on how to use the different types of fans properly to keep cool at home.
Window fans are installed in open windows to draw cold air in and push hot air out, and can be set up to cool an entire house. Here are three tips for how to use window fans most effectively.
In order for window fans to cool your home, the outdoor temperature must be lower than the indoor temperature. That’s going to be at nighttime or early in the morning.
Important: Don’t run a window fan during the hottest part of the day because it will draw in the hot afternoon air, making your home warmer, not cooler.
Window fans are installed with a fitted sheet metal mounting that slots into an open window and seals around the edges. So, you don’t have to worry about opening or closing that window.
However, other windows in your house should remain closed during the hottest part of the day and – when safe – open at night and early morning.
Window fans work best when you use more than one to create a crosswind, which pushes the hot air out and draws the cool air in. To do this, setting the fans up in the right location is crucial.
Quick tip: Ideally you should have an equal number of fans pulling cool air in as pushing hot air out. However, if you have an odd number of fans, then it’s generally better to have more fans pulling cool air in.
If you live in a multi-story home, place the inward-blowing fans on the lower floors where it’s cooler and the outward-blowing fans on the upper floors. This method will rid your home of the warm air rising to the upper stories.
“So bringing air in low on the north side and pushing it out high on the south side is ideal,” says Kipnis.
Ceiling fans circulate air in the room by pushing it down. However, they can not lower the temperature like a window fan or AC unit. But they can still cool you down.
That’s because their breeze creates a slight wind chill effect that can help sweat evaporate from your skin, which cools you down. So, it’s not your home that it’s cooling, but rather your body.
Below are four tips for using ceiling fans to stay cool.
In the summer, make sure your fan is rotating counterclockwise. This will push the air straight down and create that wind chill effect.
Make sure you turn ceiling fans off when leaving the room because they cool people, not rooms. It’s a waste of energy to have them switched on if there is no one there to feel the wind chill effect.
If you are looking to buy a new ceiling fan, look for the ENERGY STAR® label since fans that earn that label are up to 60% more energy-efficient than non-certified fans.
You can also purchase smart ceiling fans, which reduce energy costs by as much as 4% to 11%, according to US General Services Administration data.
Smart fans work by turning themselves off at optimal temperatures and by sensing when the room is empty. They also save energy by adjusting fan speed in response to temperature and humidity changes.
If you have a ceiling fan in the same room as an AC unit, it helps blow colder, air-conditioned air throughout the room. This can cut your energy consumption and reduce how hard your air conditioner has to work.
“You could set your AC unit four degrees higher, combine it with a ceiling fan, and feel just as cool,” says Kipnis. “And the key thing with AC is that it dehumidifies the air which is what helps make the fan even more effective.”
It’s worth noting that all ceiling fans work more effectively in dry air, “Because the sweat on your skin evaporates more quickly than if the air was humid, so you feel cooler,” says Kipnis.
Tower fans are narrow, tall, and portable, meaning they easily fit into the corner of most rooms. They create airflow by oscillating from left to right.
Again, they work by creating a wind-chill effect rather than lowering the temperature of the room.
If you’re really struggling to stay cool, for instance, during the peak of the day when it’s hottest outside, place a bucket of ice in front of your tower fan as a homemade AC unit. The ice cools the air pushed out by the fan, which then circulates around the room.
Another method for creating a homemade AC unit using your fan is described below:
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