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“Can I Use Both Air Conditioner and Ceiling Fan Together?” [FAQ]

Posted 05-23-14 in Air Conditioning

Here’s a question we hear often from those who brave the humid Atlanta weather: “Should I run my air conditioner with a ceiling fan?”

Answer: You can— and should— run your A/C and ceiling fan together. Doing so can help lower your cooling costs each month, but only if you’re using them right.

Here’s what we mean.

How to use an A/C and ceiling fan together

According to Energy.gov, “If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.”

So let’s assume you keep your central air conditioner at 76 degrees when you’re home. If you turn on your ceiling fans, turn your air conditioner up 4 degrees to 80 degrees. The ceiling fan will keep you just as cool, at a reduced cost.

How much it reduces your utility bills depends on how much you typically use your air conditioner or ceiling fan.

Here are base hourly costs according to ceilingfan.com:

  • Central air conditioning runs about 3 kilowatts and costs about 36 cents/hour
  • A ceiling fan runs on only 30 watts and costs about 1 cent/hour

As you can see, anytime you’re using the fan and decreasing the use of central cooling, you’ll be saving money.

Side note: This energy use calculator tool tells you how much your appliances are costing you each month and year.

Why you need to raise the thermostat

Now, you may be thinking, “Why do I need to turn my air conditioner up when I turn on my ceiling fan? Doesn't the fan make things cooler in my home?

Nope!

A ceiling fan does not lower the temperature in your home. It only makes you FEEL cooler because it’s moving air over your skin, carrying the heat away from your body. This is the wind chill factor you hear on the Weather Channel so often.

So it’s doing nothing to lower the temperature in your home, meaning your A/C will run just as long whether the fan is on or not.

This also means you shouldn’t leave your ceiling fan when you’re not home.

Summary

We hope this answers your question. To summarize everything:

  1. Turn on your ceiling fan only when you’re home and in the room where the fan is running.
  2. When your ceiling fan is on, turn your thermostat up 4°F. You’ll be just as comfy!

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Coolray is your Atlanta-area home comfort expert with specialists in heating, air conditioning, air quality and plumbing. Have more questions? We’d be happy to help – just contact us online.

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