You may have heard that a ceiling fan can save you up to 40% on your energy bills in the summer. That's a lot of energy for a such a small, innocuous appliance. Ceiling fans are relatively cheap when compared to the investment of solar panels or an Energy Star refrigerator.
But a ceiling fan isn't magical. You can't just throw it up on the ceiling and wait for savings to arrive. You have to make sure that your ceiling fan is the proper size, that it is mounted correctly and that the blades aren't wobbly. A poorly installed ceiling fan can be an energy-waster instead of an energy saver. What follows is a list of tips and information that can help you choose the right ceiling fan, install it and maintain it properly.
Proper Fan Size
Room Size - Fan Size
- 75 square feet - 29-36 inches
- 76-144 sq ft - 36-42 inches
- 145-225 sq ft - 44 inches
- 226-400 sq ft - 50-54 inches
Source: Energy Star
Proper Mounting and Installation
Choosing the Appropriate UL-Rated Electrical Box Make sure that you use the appropriate UL-listed metal box, marked "For Use With Ceiling Fans." This outlet box is mounted above the ceiling and also is the point where the fan is attached. This box houses all wiring needed to operate and connect the ceiling fan. If you are replacing a ceiling fixture, most likely you will need to replace the electrical box.
Mounting the Ceiling Fan If possible, the ceiling fan should be anchored to a ceiling joist. In the case that the joist is not located in the center of the room, a special ceiling fan mounting bracket with spiked ends should be installed between joists. Keep in mind that ceiling fans can weigh as much as 50 pounds!
Balancing and Maintenance
If your ceiling fan becomes unbalanced, check all your connections. Make sure all the screws and wiring is tight. You can buy a balancing kit at most hardware stores or you can make your own.
Make sure to clean your ceiling fan. A dirty fan will wobble and reduce energy efficiency. It also aggravates allergies and asthma. Simply grab a step stool and wipe the blades down with cloth and vinegar.
Further Energy Efficiency
Ceiling fans should blow counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. Remember that fans do not cool the room, they cool you by moving air. When you leave a room, turn the fan off.
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