Do Ceiling Fans Help Air Conditioning?

June 13, 2020

A ceiling fan does not provide the same air quality improvements as an air conditioner. However, it may be able to help your system run a bit more efficiently. Here are some things to know about cooling down your home with ceiling fans.

Do Ceiling Fans Lower the Temperature?

A ceiling fan does not actually lower the overall temperature in a room, but it can definitely make a space feel cooler. Ceiling fans primarily work through something called a wind chill effect. Essentially, the moving air across your skin helps to evaporate sweat at a faster rate. This can help to lower your body temperature a little.

Ceiling fans can also help to make a room seem cooler by redistributing air. Usually, hot air rises, while cool air settles in the lower part of a room. A ceiling fan can help to pull cold air higher up, so it circulates around your face instead of your feet. These effects all combine to help cool you down even if the room temperature remains high. If a space is actually around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a ceiling fan can help it to feel closer to 76 degrees. Though ceiling fans do not physically cool air, they still help your AC to do its job of keeping you comfortable.

Will Running a Ceiling Fan Reduce Cooling Costs?

Running a ceiling fan will not automatically lower your electric bill. In fact, running a fan constantly while keeping your AC set at a low temperature can actually use more power. The energy-saving costs from fans come from their ability to make a warm room feel cooler than it actually is. This gives you the option of setting your thermostat to a higher temperature without feeling hot. ENERGY STAR reports that homeowners who turn up their thermostat by a couple of degrees and run their ceiling fans to stay comfortable can cut their air conditioning costs by 14%. If you are concerned about cooling costs, just remember to turn off your fan when a room is empty.

Can a Ceiling Fan Help Your AC to Circulate Air?

A fan’s main job is moving air around, so it can help with hot spots in your home. Usually, an air conditioning system circulates air throughout the house on its own. However, poorly designed ductwork or strangely placed AC registers can lead to spots in your residence where warm air collects. Installing a ceiling fan in these areas can help to mix up the air better, so you get a more even temperature throughout your home. How much a ceiling fan will assist with air circulation depends on the fan’s size, the fan’s power, and the room’s size. Keep in mind that ceiling fans can only circulate air within a single room. Therefore, they cannot handle whole-home circulation like an air conditioner can.

Does a Ceiling Fan Handle Humidity?

An important yet often overlooked job for an air conditioner is handling humidity in a house. A fan can help a little with humidity. The breeze encourages moisture to evaporate, so your home does not feel damp and soggy all the time. The drying effect of a ceiling fan is not quite as powerful as an air conditioner. Unlike an air conditioner, a ceiling fan cannot physically remove moisture from the air. Just running a fan by itself will not keep humidity from being a problem. However, having a ceiling fan running alongside an air conditioner can help to get rid of humidity faster after events like a rainy day or a long shower.

Will a Ceiling Fan Improve Air Quality?

One area where ceiling fans cannot assist your AC at all is in your actual air quality. An air conditioner is constantly filtering the air as it pulls it through the unit. Ceiling fans do not have the same sort of filtration system, so they cannot trap dust, pet hair, dander, and dirt. In fact, a ceiling fan can actually make your air quality worse by kicking up debris. This is one of the reasons you should not rely on ceiling fans alone for keeping your home’s air comfortable.

Ultimately, a ceiling fan can help you to stay cool, but it cannot do everything an AC unit can. If you want to improve your indoor air quality, Vastola Heating & Cooling is happy to help with AC installations, repairs, and maintenance. We can also assist Erie County residents with their heaters, ducts, and generators. Another important service we offer is indoor air quality assessments and solutions. Learn more about our many climate comfort services by giving us a call today.