Does A Ceiling Fan Really Cool A Room?

Ceiling fans do not really cool a room. Instead, the fan creates a wind chill effect which makes the occupants feel cooler. The air movement caused by the fan accelerates the heat loss from our body which causes us to feel cooler as much as by 4 degrees.

Moreover, the use of a ceiling fan actually increases the room’s temperature even though the change is insignificant and hard to notice. This increase in temperature is due to the release of heat from the motor, light, and other working components of the fan.

However, using a ceiling fan along with air conditioning can let you set the thermostat at a higher temperature without feeling any discomfort at all, thanks to the above-mentioned wind chill effect of the fan.

If you are curious how a ceiling fan make us cooler without reducing the room temperature, start reading the science behind its working;

A ceiling fan installed in a kitchen

The science behind ceiling fans

Your ceiling fan will not change the temperature in your room, but it creates a breeze that maintains your body cooler. The breeze from the ceiling fan will break the layer of heat that surrounds your body and increases the heat loss of your body. The stagnant layer of hot air that surrounds your body during those hot summer days is what keeps you feeling hot and uncomfortable. When a ceiling fan blows air over you, this layer of heat will be replaced by cooler and fresher air. 

But the main reason for cooling is this; The blowing wind from the ceiling fan accelerates the heat removal from your body by convection or a natural process known as evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is simply a technical term for sweating. Sweating removes heat from your body by means of evaporation, and this process is accelerated when using a ceiling fan.

Why do we feel cooler in the breeze created by a ceiling fan

The sensation of reduced heat comes directly from the accelerated heat dissipation from the human body due to the increased air circulation. As soon as you feel the cool breeze on your skin, the layer of heat surrounding you will start to dissipate and your body temperature will decrease. 

In order to get the effects you want from a ceiling fan, it is also important to invest in one that is big enough for your room and comes with enough blades. For instance, a three-blade fan will create a stronger breeze than a five-blade fan. However, if you have a small room, a five-blade fan might be all you need. (Refer: 3 blade vs. 5 blade fan)

The best way to use a ceiling fan

While running a ceiling fan is a no-brainer, it helps to understand how and when to run them. Ceiling fans can be used in summer and winter but in a different way and for a different purpose. Continue reading to learn how to make the most out of them!

Using a ceiling fan in the summer

Most people rely on their ceiling fan to cool them off during those hot summer days. It is recommended to use your ceiling fan counterclockwise during the summer days as this will direct the cool air towards the floor. This creates the wind chill effect that is responsible for cooling down our bodies when under the fan.

Ceiling fans can also be used along with air conditioning during the summer months. The fan’s additional cooling feeling helps set the temperature at a higher setting without causing discomfort to the occupants. Studies show that using a ceiling fan along with air conditioning can reduce energy bills by as much as 40%.

How to use the ceiling fan in the winter

You might be surprised to find out that a ceiling fan can turn out to be a very efficient asset during the winter too. The secret to using your ceiling fan in the winter is to set it for a clockwise rotation and maintain a low speed. If you do that, the cool air will be pushed towards the ceiling, letting you enjoy a warmer air at your level. (Refer: Ceiling fan directions for winter and summer)

According to statistics, by using your ceiling fan this way during the winter, you can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill.

Turning off the ceiling fan

Since running a ceiling fan doesn’t lower a room’s temperature, there is no point in running it when there are no occupants in the room. So it is best to turn off the fan. This helps to reduce electricity usage as well as gives the fan a longer lifetime.

Using a ceiling fan outdoors

You can use ceiling fans in outdoor areas to escape from the scorching heat. However, you should use the right UL-rated fan for this purpose. Wet and damp rated fans are used in outdoor areas as they can withstand moisture and wind.

Additional reading:

Other uses of ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are also great for ventilating rooms, whether it is your living room, bedroom, kitchen, or any other part of the house. With windows opened, a ceiling fan helps to circulate air from outside and distribute it throughout the room while removing the stale air indoors. While exhaust fans are better at this job, they are not usually used in most living areas of the house. Adding an exhaust fan incurs additional costs as well. Ceiling fans can provide enough ventilation in most indoor spaces.

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As you can see, ceiling fans can be a great investment all year round and if you use them wisely, you can actually reduce your bills. It is important also to check your product’s instructions since different ceiling fans will come with different features that will help you use them to the best of your interest. 

Charles John

Experienced HVAC technician with 8 years of experience in the industry. Capable of handling all sorts of heating and cooling equipment as well as proficient in operational management, construction-related techniques such as preventative maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and AutoCAD

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