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Ceiling Fans Home / Reviews

Ceiling Fans - Reviews & Articles

Pubilshed June 5, 2009
by: Greg Tillotson
Qualification: Ceiling Fan Expert for over 20 years!

Email comments or questions to: info@hansenwholesale.com

Topic: Do Ceiling Fans Really Save Up To 40% On Your Energy Bill?

Maybe...and Maybe NOT...You better read the fine print!

A study published by the California Measurement Advisory Council was done to determine the Ceiling Fan usage habits of California residents in 2002. When asked if they raised their thermostat when they turned on their ceiling fans only 2% reported that they always did. 17% said they did sometimes, 72% said they never do and 6% had no response.

You can read the study for yourself, but it's rather detailed and boring in my opinion:

Experience has taught me that when the words "UP TO" are used in front of any claim, I'd better look for the fine print and read the disclaimer. When an ad for a retail product says "Up To 50% OFF" I can be relatively confident that the item I want is more like 10% OFF...if it is discounted at all.

The same holds true for the statement that "Ceiling fans can save you [up to] 40% on your cooling bills". Although it is quite possible, after reading the survey results above, it is not likely to be realized by most people...except for those who read this entire article which holds the golden keys to unlock these potential savings.

Golden Key #1: "The more you raise your thermostat, the less you will spend on your cooling bills."

Common Mistake: "If you run your ceiling fans and air conditioner at the same time and DO NOT raise your thermostat, you will save nothing. As a matter of fact, you will end up spending more money because you will be adding the cost of operating your ceiling fans onto the cost of running your air conditioner!"

Key to a different door: If you rarely ever use your air conditioning or you simply do not have an air conditioner, then using ceiling fans will not save you any money, although they are a very inexpensive way to make you feel cooler.

Golden Key #2: In order to acheive maximum savings with ceiling fans you need energy efficient ceiling fans with powerful high performance motors capable of moving enough air to keep you comfortable enough to raise your thermostat by about 10 degrees or not use your air conditioner at all. The more powerful and efficient your ceiling fans are, the more you will be able to raise your thermostat without sacrificing too much of your comfort level.

Golden Key #3: You need to turn off your ceiling fans when you are not in the room.

Ceiling fans cool you off by creating a wind chill effect, they do not necessarily change the air temperature (read exceptions below). Therefore, If you are not in the room where the ceiling fan is running, you will not feel the wind chill effect and you will have not cooling benefit, so it makes sense to turn your fan off when you leave the room in order to conserve energy.

Exceptions to Golden Key #3

Ceiling fans can also be used to destratisfy the air. Since hot air rises, the air in a room is usually cooler towards the floor and warmer at the ceiling. Destratisfying the air is often accomplished during the winter in rooms with high ceilings where a ceiling fan is run in reverse to draw the cool air up from the floor and force the warm air down from the ceiling. This helps mix up the air to even out the overall room temperature. The same thing can be accomplished in the summer if you have rooms upstairs that tend to be warmer than those downstairs. If you place a ceiling fan in the stairwell and run it in reverse, it will draw cool air from downstairs to the upstairs.

An additional exception to this rule is that leaving your ceiling fans on throughout the house while windows are open can actually help draw fresh air in from outside, which can help keep your home from being "Stuffy". This also works if the air temperature outside your home is cooler than the air temperature inside...kind of like destratisfying the air between indoors and outdoors. In this case, I am assuming that you are not operating air conditioning because you would not want to have your windows open.

More Considerations

There are other factors to consider when it comes to maximizing the energy savings you get from ceiling fans:

  • How often do you use your air conditioner (if you even have one)?
  • How much does it cost to operate your air conditioner?
  • What temperature do you normally have your thermostat set at?
  • How well is your home insulated?
  • How high are your ceilings
  • Are your air conditing registers at floor or ceiling level?
  • Do you get a lot of sunlight in your home?
  • How hot does it get in your climate?
  • How many rooms are there in your home?
  • Is your home a single story home or multiple floors?
  • Do you spend most of your time in one room?
  • Do you have high performance energy efficient ceiling fans?
  • Do you have ceiling fans in each room?

As you can see, there are many factors that need to be considered in order to determine how effective using ceiling fans will be for any given application. Every situation is different. I am confident there are a few engeneers who could perform a heat calc in your home and come up with some type of formula to calculate the estimated annual savings given various scenerios of your usage habbits and local climate, but I think you get the point.

So, the best you can do is simply raise your thermostat and install ceiling fans that move the most air using the least amount of electricity.

Emerson has just introduced a ceiling fan that is over 300% more efficient than other fans. This new fan represents a breakthrough in ceiling fan technology and performance and has the potential to revolutionize the entire ceiling fan industry.

Research shows that using ceiling fans can actually increase your cooling bills

Okay, that sounds contradictory to what everyone else is saying about ceiling fans. And what does that have to do with this new Emerson fan that is supposed to revolutionize the ceiling fan industry. Well, before I can tell you how that will take place, I need to put a rest to some misnomers that are going around regarding how using ceiling fans can save you a boat load of money.

As a ceiling fan retailer, over the years I've run across many ads making the claim that ceiling fans can save up to 40% on your cooling bills. I've even run such ads myself...and to this day, we promote this very idea on our ceiling fan website. Although the statement is true, apparently there is some fine print that needs to be made bolder in order for most consumers to realize such savings.

A study done by the IOU (California Investor Owned Utilities http://www.calmac.org.newpubs.asp/) shows that in most cases the savings are dramatically less and that in some cases they are negative. There are several factors that contribute to the lack of savings achieved, but the most significant being that most consumers simply do not raise the thermostat on their air conditioner enough to make a difference. The first rule of thumb when trying to save money with ceiling fans is to raise your thermostat by 5 or 10 degrees. For maximum savings, you would not use your air conditioner at all.

So what the study found is that not only do some people seem to run their ceiling fans and air conditioner at the same time without lowering the thermostat, they also tend to leave their ceiling fans on all day...even if they are not in the room where the fan(s) are.

Now if you have a home with 5 or 6 ceiling fans in it and you leave them on all the time, you are getting no benefit from those fans and just adding to your energy consumption. If on the other hand, you only use a ceiling fan in the room which you are in and turn your air conditioner off or raise the thermostat by 10 degrees, you can in fact save substantially on your cooling costs.

Choosing the right ceiling fans will have more impact on your energy savings

So, the idea that you can feel just as comfortable in a room with a ceiling fan if you raise your thermostat by 10 degrees is hogwash in many cases. The amount of comfort you are going to get from any ceiling fan is directly proportional to the CFMs that the ceiling fan generates (Cubic Feet of Air moved per Minute) amount of air that the fan in question generates.


US Government EPA Ceiling Fan Website. You can find the spreadsheet on that page. Even more, you will find a picture of the Emerson Eco on that page as well...even though the Government is not allowed to sponsor or promote any particular brand or model.

U.S. Requirements for Ceiling Fans and Ceiling Fan Light Kits:

Federal Energy Policy for Ceiling Fans:

Study of how people use ceiling fans in California
CA Statewide Investor Utility Ceiling Fan Study

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Answers to Recent Ceiling Fans Questions Posted To This Page
  1. Question #9487 - Posted: 4/21/2014 10:11:58 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model MF-F888-ORB

    View  model MF-F888-ORB
    MF-F888-ORB - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=MF-F888-ORB

    QUESTION: Is there a possibility of a 6" downrod? If not, are we able to cut the 12"?

    ANSWER: The Minka Aire Slipstream comes with a 3 1/2" and a 6" downrod in the box, it does not include a 12" downrod (which would be sold separately).

  2. Question #9483 - Posted: 4/18/2014 9:57:58 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF1ORB

    View  model CF1ORB
    CF1ORB - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF1ORB

    QUESTION: Does this fan have the option of having larger blades?

    ANSWER: The Cornerstone is designed by Emerson to be a 52" fan...they do not make any other size blades.

  3. Question #9482 - Posted: 4/15/2014 9:07:09 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Casablanca Model CA-55061

    View  model CA-55061
    CA-55061 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/casablanca/model.asp?ProdNo=CA-55061

    QUESTION: The add shows a 4 speed wall control with a lite control. Is that included in the price of the 55061 Casablanca fan?

    ANSWER: The Panama Gallery fan does include the 4 speed wall control at the price published on our site. The optional 99020 hand held remote control is also included FREE for a limited time. (That offer may have expired by the time other visitors read this posting).

  4. Question #9481 - Posted: 4/11/2014 8:28:36 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question


    QUESTION: what is best company of fans

    ANSWER: Here is a link to an article that talks about "Who Makes The Best Ceiling Fans".

  5. Question #9480 - Posted: 4/8/2014 1:41:59 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question


    QUESTION: how big of a fan will I need for a room this big 20 feet wide 30 feet long and 26feet hith

    ANSWER: Your room is too large for any single ceiling fan. I would recommend 2 60" to 72" fans and you will most likely need to purchase two 6 foot long downrods and a downrod coupler for each fan so you can join the downrods together to create 12 foot long downrods. If you can only install a single ceiling fan, I would suggest using an 80" fan. Please call us so we can go over your options and help you select the best fan(s) for your application. Call: 1-800-201-1193. You can also email pictures of your room to gregt@hansenwholesale.com.

  6. Question #9477 - Posted: 4/8/2014 1:33:05 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Casablanca Model CA-55021

    View  model CA-55021
    CA-55021 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/casablanca/model.asp?ProdNo=CA-55021

    QUESTION: will a 1994 wall for a intelertouch and rods work with a new fan ?

    ANSWER: No, the inteli-touch system is antiquated and not compatible with new Casablanca fans. Casablanca has also changed their mounting hardware and downrods, so the older downrods will not work either.

  7. Question #9473 - Posted: 4/4/2014 8:12:01 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question


    QUESTION: We have a small office, 9 feet by 11 feet. We just put in a wall to wall, floor to ceiling built in cabinet. The ceiling fan, which centered in the center of the ceiling, is not now. It is closer to the built in and it seems more air is being pushed toward the built in. Is this the effect of the built in? Can anything be done to push more air to the desk, which is opposite the built in?

    ANSWER: The built in cabinet is likely impeding the natural airflow pattern of the fan, which can cause it to move less air. Several options: 1) Relocate the fan closer to the desk. 2) Buy a larger fan. 3) Buy a more powerful fan of the same size. The amount of airflow a fan is capable of producing is measured in CFM (Cubic Feet of Airflow per Minute). You will find it easy to compare the CFM between all of the fans on our site (where CFM is available). Give us a call and we will be happy to go over these options in more detail. If you can email me some pictures of your room, I will be happy to take a look and see if there is anything else I can suggest. Email pictures to: gregt@hansenwholesale.com

  8. Question #9472 - Posted: 4/3/2014 8:30:36 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF955WW

    View  model CF955WW
    CF955WW - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF955WW

    QUESTION: Is it possible to use dimmable CFL bulgs in Midway Eco and will remote allow them to dim?

    ANSWER: Unfortunately the Emerson Midway Eco remote does not have a dimming function, so although you could install dimmable CFL bulbs, you would not be able to dim them. As I have mentioned previously, the lack of dimming capability is the only complaint we get about this fan...and rightfully so. This is a problem for virtually ALL ceiling fans with lights from ALL brands that meet Energy Star requirements. If you really need dimming capability and are looking for a ceiling fan that has a DC motor, I would suggest you consider the Casablanca DC Stealth. The DC Stealth does not meet Energy Star requirements because it incorporates a 100 watt halogen bulb, but it does have a super efficient DC motor. Casablanca chose to go that way in order to meet the needs of people looking for a high quality contemporary style ceiling fan with a super efficient DC motor and a dimmable light. Here is a link to the: Casablanca DC Stealth Model 59105 in White.

  9. Question #9470 - Posted: 4/3/2014 8:17:20 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF787ORB-72

    View  model CF787ORB-72
    CF787ORB-72 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF787ORB-72

    QUESTION: Model CF787ORB comes with a 4 speed wall control. How does it reverse the fan blades direction ? It is located at 20feet off the ground

    ANSWER: The Emerson Carrera Grande has a manual reverse switch on the motor housing. Because your ceiling is so high, reversing the fan manually is obviously not going to happen. Emerson makes a special remote control transmitter and receiver that is capable of reversing the fan. This remote can be installed as a wall control and also be used as a hand held remote. Here is a link to the components: SR650-RC212. They also have another remote only option with a receiver that cannot be used as a wall control. Here is a link to that system: SR600-RC212. Although the receiver is not shown in the picture, it is included in the model that we are selling.

    Keep in mind that in order for these to work, you must install the receiver unit in the canopy of the fan when you install the fan. If you do not install it then, you will have to get up there to do it later...so be sure to purchase these components along with your fan. Also, rather than using the links above to purchase these parts, you can simply add them to your original fan purchase by clicking on the orange button labeled "Controls" below the picture of the fan on the main product details page...or just give us a call and we will make sure you get everything you need.

  10. Question #9469 - Posted: 4/3/2014 8:02:18 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question


    QUESTION: Where can I find a replacement globe for my harborside breeze Wakefield ceiling fan?

    ANSWER: Harbor Breeze ceiling fans are sold only by Lowes, so you will need to contact them to see if they can supply you with the globe you need.

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