When I was a young backpacker traveling through India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand in the 1970s, I couldn’t afford air-conditioned hotels or restaurants. In these tropical conditions, I became quite accustomed to the benefits of Casablanca-style fans.
Although a fan can’t lower the temperature of the air, it can make people feel cooler. Moving air accelerates the rate at which perspiration evaporates from your skin. The evaporation process requires heat, so increased evaporation means that more heat is leaving your body.
Moving air also removes heat from your body by convection — at least as long as the air temperature is below 100°F or so. Once the air temperature significantly exceeds your body temperature, however, fans tend to raise rather than reduce your body temperature (unless you are very wet).
Fans use electricity and their motors give off heat, so it’s important to use them sparingly and appropriately.
Ceiling Fan Tips
- Buy an efficient model — ideally a Gossamer Wind fan. (Emerson Climate Technologies is the best current source for the Gossamer fan; Emerson sells the fan under the Midway Eco brand (model CF955BS).
- Choose a fan with a long enough down-rod. A ceiling fan works best when it’s located 7 or 8 feet above the floor.
- To make it easier to turn off the fan when you leave the room, the fan should be controlled by a wall switch, not a pull chain.
- Remember that ceiling fans make the most sense in a house without air conditioning; if your house has AC, resist the temptation to turn on the cooling.
- If no one is in the room, turn off the fan.
- Once the air temperature exceeds 100°F, turn off the fan and take a shower.
How much energy do ceiling fans use?
Ceiling fan energy use varies by…