Summer is well underway and people across the state of Texas and the rest of the country are trying to figure out how to stay cool without having their monthly energy bills go through the roof. Many of us rely on air conditioning. In Texas, air conditioners account for 18% of home energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Fans can also help us keep our cool — literally. Cooling with fans properly can either eliminate the need for air conditioning entirely as a cost-effective alternative, or help reduce the amount of time you use air conditioning, which in turn can help lower your energy bill. Ceiling fans generally cost less than one cent an hour to run. By contrast, Michael Bluejay, aka “Mr. Electricity,” says that air conditioning can cost up to 70 times more to run than a fan.
The issue is that many of us actually assume we know how to use fans. Stick them in a window or attach them, in the case of ceiling fans, to the ceiling, and we assume we’re good to go. Maybe yes, maybe no. Here are some ways to make sure you know how to use fans smartly.
The reality is that successfully cooling with fans is admittedly a little more complicated than simply pushing a button on an air conditioner. Window fan direction, for instance, matters when figuring out the best way to cool a room. How to use a whole house fan, meanwhile, is a mix of art and science. Here’s what you need to know about how to use fans to lower an energy bill.
In order to understand the benefits of a whole house fan, it’s important to understand the difference between whole house vs. attic fans. Whole-house fans are large, vented fans that mount in the ceiling on the upper floor of a house between the living space and the attic. Attic fans only cool the attic. They pull cooler outside through attic vents and push hot air outside. Attic fans also lessen the effectiveness of your air conditioning, Bluejay says, by drawing cool air from the living space into the attic if the attic doorway isn’t well sealed.
Here are the best ways to achieve all the benefits of a whole house fan:
Let’s start our “how to use fans” guide with ceiling fans. Versatile in their use, ceiling fans can cool a room by themselves or be used with air conditioning to potentially lower energy costs.
Window fans are another option for cooling with fans in the summer. Bob Vila, a well-known home improvement TV host, offers some tips for the best ways to use window fans successfully.
Two final points to keep in mind for how to use fans to lower an energy bill:
If all else fails, you can still pick an air conditioning unit to use in specific rooms.
Hurricane Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 storm with winds reaching 130 mph and water rising as high as 13 feet. The damage was widespread with more than 46 deaths, 32,000 displaced, 40,000 homes damaged, and a projected financial cost of at least $48 billion.
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For anyone who’s survived a Texas summer, you know it’s full of accidental seat belt burns, that feeling of relief when the temps are supposed to “only get into the 80s,” and sweating more than you ever thought possible. In fact, sometimes you wonder if spring is just a myth, since the weather seems to