Everyone knows what a ceiling fan is, but if you’re going to buy them for your home you’ll want to know what they really do.
Sure, we know they spin and generate a cooling breeze, but they do a lot more than that. From moving air, to helping to tie the look of a room together, ceiling fans are an investment on a lot of levels.
We’ve done a lot of research on ceiling fans, so we feel confident that we can help you better understand them. By the end of this article, you should have an idea of just what they are and what they can do.
What do Ceiling Fans do?
There are two purposes that ceiling fans serve: circulating air and adding decoration to the room it’s in. Let’s take a look at both purposes.
Most of us know that ceiling fans circulate air in a way that creates a cooling breeze during hot, muggy weather. However, you should know that ceiling fans don’t cool rooms off. They cool people off.
They cool people off by creating a breeze of air that is just a little cooler than your body temperature. When it comes in contact with your skin, some of the heat flows to the air. The air warms up a bit, but is promptly replaced by new, cooler air, and the process repeats.
During the winter, a ceiling fan can help keep warm air flowing. Heat rises and it will pool at the highest point of the room. When you reverse the flow of your fan, rather than blowing air down, it sucks cool air up.
The cool air displaces the warm air, pushing it to the sides and down the walls into the part of the room where people are. The result is a more even level of warmth in the room, which also helps the thermostat get a more accurate measurement.
But ceiling fans also serve a visual purpose. Most ceilings are open, blank, and usually white. So, a ceiling fan or two can break that up.
Ceiling fans also come in a range of colors and different styles. You can get fans with metallic blades that look like feathers, or modern blades of jet black.
They also come in different sizes, so you can choose one that will fit well in your space. In addition, different fans have different numbers of blades.
When Should You Use a Ceiling Fan?
Knowing when to run a ceiling fan isn’t a very difficult thing to figure out. They use very little electricity, and keeping the air flowing in a room is beneficial, even when people aren’t using it. So, it doesn’t hurt to overuse one.
That said, there are some quick tips that will help you make the most of your ceiling fan.
We recommend consulting your ceiling fan’s owner’s manual to get an idea of how long to leave your fan on. Some fans can run for long hours without an issue, while you might want to keep close tabs on others.
In general, we don’t recommend running your ceiling fans for a very long time without people home. That will use electricity and it won’t provide much of a benefit.
Some people go as far as to say that you shouldn’t run a fan unless there’s a person in the room. However, that isn’t always the case because people can drift from one room to the next.
Do Ceiling Fans Make a Difference?
Ceiling fans operate for around a penny an hour, whereas an air conditioner can cost a third of a dollar per hour. In terms of cost, they can definitely make a difference.
The trick is knowing where the savings are no longer matched by performance. If the weather is too hot, then a fan won’t do much good. That is especially true if the ambient temperature is higher than 90 degrees, which largely negates the cooling effect of a fan’s breeze.
Ceiling fans can also make a significant difference during the winter when spreading out warm air. The warm air pools at the top of the ceiling. Then, the fan sucks up cool air from the floor and displaces it.
The warm air flows down along the walls and back down into the room. As a result, the room is more evenly heated, including the area around the thermostat. That could cause it to turn on less frequently, which would help lower your heating bills.
Do Designers Hate Ceiling Fans?
Ceiling fans have traditionally been designed more for function than for decoration, so it should be no surprise that interior designers have traditionally hated them.
Fans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors these days. It should also be of no surprise that interior designers continue to mostly hate them. However, when used right, they can help a room’s appearance. But, too often they aren’t.
In general, interior designers tend to like fans that are bland and blend into the room, rather than those that serve as a focal point. You don’t want your guests constantly looking at the ceiling, especially if you’ve spent a bunch of money on furniture.
Is a Ceiling Fan Worth it?
There are a couple of different ways to look at whether a ceiling fan is a good investment. There is how it looks and there is whether it is a cost-effective way to circulate air.
In terms of appearance, a ceiling fan can help break up empty ceiling space. It can add a little color and motion. Done right, it can accentuate the look of the room overall. Done poorly, it’s an eyesore and a distraction.
Where a ceiling fan earns its keep is that it’s a cost-effective way to circulate air.
If the weather isn’t so hot that you need an air conditioner, a ceiling fan can keep you feeling cool for just pennies an hour. Ceiling fans can also help keep warm air circulating during winter, reducing utility costs by ensuring your thermostat gets a more accurate reading.
Ultimately, the choice is a personal one. You’ll need to make it based on cost estimates, but also on whether it adds value to how your rooms look. It’s a subjective decision and there isn’t one right or wrong answer.
Ceiling fans are versatile appliances that not only help you keep your home more comfortable, but that also play a role in decorating whatever room they’re in. They do all that for just a few cents per hour when turned on.
Althought all ceiling fans used to looked the same and were of the same basic size, today you can find them in a range of sizes. They also come with a variety of blades. You can find fans with one blade or eight, or some that have a retro look or something modern.
We hope this introduction to what ceiling fans do has given you a better idea of their potential. If it did, we’d love to hear about it in a comment. You can also share this article on your social media networks.