Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beat the Heat-Part 1

July 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Going With the Flow: Ceiling Fans

No matter where we live, most of us are challenged with beating the summer heat to keep our homes cool.  And regardless of the locale, season or weather, we can all use tips for reducing our energy costs.

Most of us have ceiling fans in some, if not all, of the rooms in our homes.  They are such a common fixture, that we are surprised when we don’t see them in a home.  As we shared last month, it is believed that you can reduce your cooling costs by 14% when you turn your thermostat up by two degrees and run your ceiling fans (according to www.energystar.gov).

Direction: In warm weather, flip the fan switch so that the blades turn counterclockwise.  This will create a column of downward flowing air, especially when set on high speed, creating a cooling effect.  In cold weather, reverse blade direction to clockwise, and set the speed to low.  Hot air rises and accumulates in your ceiling, and your fan will push the air down along your walls.  It rises up again, heating your rooms evenly, and thus shortening the time it takes your heater to work.

Blade Pitch: When purchasing a ceiling fan, blade pitch is important.  This is the angle of the blades when compared to the horizontal. A good quality fan is typically pitched at 12-14 degrees. Lower quality fans may have a blade pitch as low as 8-10 degrees. The higher the pitch, the more pressure the fan blade applies to the air in front of it as it turns, and the more air is forced downward–the cooling effect.  Unfortunately, when you’re shopping, you’ll rarely find blade pitch listed on ceiling fan boxes.  The best indication of pitch is to test the fan in the store.  Most home improvement stores will have samples of their fan inventory installed and running.  Remember, the most attractive or most expensive ceiling fan may not be the best one, if it won’t create a breeze.

Number of Blades: The number of blades in a standard home ceiling fan is typically four or five.  As the number of blades increases, the quieter the fan will be, but it also circulates less air.  However, advancements in overall residential ceiling fan design, balance, and low-drag blade shapes and pitch ensure that ceiling fans with a non-standard number of blades still do a good job.

On or Off? While some believe that you should turn your fans off when leaving a room, others believe that keeping them on at all times keeps the air circulating in your home.  Do what makes sense to you!

If you don’t have any ceiling fans, or yours are not working properly (e.g. loose blades or balance is off causing the wobble effect), consider making an investment in a repair or a purchase to reduce your cooling and heating costs.  Whether your ceilings are sloped or flat, whether you want it installed inside or out, or whether you need a long downrod or a short one, The Fix-It Professionals are ready to help you repair or install ceiling fans.

Check back next time for Part 2 in our Beat the Heat series — Going With the Flow: Attic and Whole House Fans.

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