In most homes, those without vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans can lower your energy costs in the winter. With the price of natural gas and other forms of energy surging, this savings can be substantial. To derive this benefit from your ceiling fan, you must first ensure that your ceiling fan can run in reverse (clockwise). If this is the case, please keep reading. If not, you may want to consider buying a ceiling fan that is able to run in reverse. Most of the ceiling fans sold by manufacturers, such as Fanimation Fans and Casablanca Fans, are built to be able to run in reverse.
At this point you may be asking yourself, how does a fan with the ability to run in reverse save me money in the winter? The answer isn’t perfectly intuitive but makes sense when explained. During the winter, houses with central heating systems exhaust warm air into rooms. This warm air quickly rises and pools at the top of the room against the ceiling. Many central heating systems actually exhaust the warm air right at the top of the ceiling in the first place. This warm air builds at the ceiling and eventually fills its way downward to the center of the room, where you are laying on your couch watching television. By the time the warm air makes its way to you though, the air at ceiling level is much hotter. Many BTUs are wasted heating the ceiling of your home where nothing lives but maybe a spider or two.
Ceiling fans offer a straightforward method of manually forcing the warm air at the top of the room to the bottom and center of the room where thermostats monitor room temperatures. By forcing this warm air down to the thermostat, the thermostat will not trigger the heating system as often, thus, saving you money. The air at living level will be warmer with less energy being used. Keep in mind that in most houses central heating systems can cost you between $5 and $30 per day during the winter, where as ceiling fans cost pennies per day to run.
So why does your ceiling fan need to run in reverse? Why wouldn’t I just run my ceiling fan forward? Well, the problem is that even though you’d still save energy costs by running your ceiling fan forward, you personally would feel cooler because ceiling fans work by moving air over your skin at high speeds. The key word here is feels. The air is not actually colder. The air just feels colder. This is the same principal as a wind chill effect. I’m sure if you live in the Northern half of the country, you’ve heard weathermen talk about how it’s actually 10 degrees out, but due to the wind chill factor, it’s going to feel like it’s negative twenty degrees. This is the reason that you do not want to run your ceiling fans forward to save energy costs during the winter.
You want to run your ceiling fans in reverse. By running your ceiling fans in reverse, the hot air pooling at the top of the ceiling will be forced to the outer edges of your rooms and then be forced down along the walls to the floor. After the air hits the floor, it will travel toward the center of the room and then back up through the ceiling fan once again. This will help equalize the temperature of the entire room, saving you energy costs.
Now, you may be asking yourself, I have a two story home, how does that effect this tactic? The second story of your house will likely always be hotter because hot air rises. Yes, warm air does travel up to the second level through escapes, such as a staircase. For the most part though, the first and second floors operate as separate environments with central heating piping hot air into both. Running your ceiling fans in reverse on both floors will cause a warming effect on both levels and more specifically in individual rooms. If you have a ceiling fan in your bedroom, you may find it possible to run it in reverse, shut your door causing a self-contained environment and turn your home thermostat lower at night.
The only time this method may not help lower energy costs much is when you have a large room with vaulted ceilings where the ceiling fan hangs on an extended rod in the middle of your room. In this case, the air forced upward may fall short of the full path upward, to the outer walls and then down them, netting a null effect.
Hopefully CeilingFantasia.com has saved you some hard earned cash with this blog post. If you do not have a ceiling fan that can run in reverse, Casablanca Fans, Ellington Fans, Fanimation Fans, Hunter Fans, Minka Aire Fans, Monte Carlo Fans and Westinghouse fans all offer ceiling fans that can run in reverse.