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Lighting / Ceiling Fans / What Does it Cost to Operate a Ceiling Fan?

What Does it Cost to Operate a Ceiling Fan?

Published by: Greg Tillotson
Webmaster for Hansen Wholesale
8/18/2010

It costs only three tenths of one cent per hour ($0.0029) to operate an energy efficient ceiling fan such as the Emerson Midway Eco (shown to the left) and about 3 to 5 times that for typical ceiling fans that are less efficient. Even the worst energy guzzling ceiling fans on the market will only cost you less than 2 cents per hour to run. These costs are virtually negligable, which explains why ceiling fans are such a great energy saving alternative to air conditioning.

Calculating the cost to operate a ceiling fan is a simply a matter of knowing how many watts the fan uses and multiplying that by the cost per kWh of electricity you are being charged by your utility company. This will give you the cost per hour to run the fan. The range of wattage between various brands and models of ceiling fans (without lights) is anywhere from 12 watts to 120 watts per hour. Based on that, here is how much it would cost to operate the most and least energy consuming ceiling fans on the market if either fan was left running 24 hours a day for an entire year. No one is likely ever to use their ceiling fan even remotely close to that many hours, but I am taking these calculations to an extreme just to show how cheap it is to run even the worst fan.

  • Fan #1 - Super Efficient Ceiling Fan at 12 Watts = $12.61 per year
  • Fan #2 - Average Ceiling Fan at 60 Watts = $63.07 per year
  • Fan #3 - More Powerful Ceiling Fan at 120 Watts = $126.14 per year

So, the most it can cost you to run a ceiling fan without lights is about $126 per year, which is equal to about $10 per month and the least it will cost you is $12 per year, which comes out to just $1 per month...which in either case, is amazingly cheap.

Ceiling Fans with Lights

The above calculations did not consider having a light fixture on the ceiling fan. The range of wattage for a ceiling fan including lights is somewhere around 76 to 360 watts, which is a much more dramatic difference. Here are the calculations for those numbers:

  • Fan #4 - Super Efficient Ceiling Fan with Lights at 76 Watts = $79.89 per year
  • Fan #5 - Average Ceiling Fan with Lights at 60 Watts at 180 Watts = $189.22 per year
  • Fan #6 - More Powerful Ceiling Fan with Lights at 360 Watts = $378.43 per year

The numbers for fan #4 above are those from the Emerson Midway Eco, which is the most efficient ENERGY STAR qualified ceilign fan on the market that comes with a light. The light fixture built-in to the Eco fan uses 4-13 watt Compact Fluorescent bulbs for just 52 Watts that is equivalent to over 100 watts of incandescent light. Add the 26 watts the fan motor uses for a total of 76 Watts. Fan #6 could be any number of less efficient ceiling fans with a 4 light fixture and uplight that uses incandescent bulbs. So the lighting would be around 240 watts and the motor at 120 watts for a combined total of 360 Watts.

So the conclusion I am hoping that you will make here is that the light fixture you choose for your ceiling fan is what will cost you the most in the long run. Keep in mind that these estimates above are for operating each ceiling fan 24 hours a day for 365 days...so you can cut those numbers by about 75% or more to come to a more realistic usage.

Ceiling Fan Operational Cost Calculator

The calculator that you see below can be found on all of our ceiling fan detail pages where the wattage for the fan is available. In this example, we have initially plugged in the specifications for the Midway Eco Fan which uses just 24 Watts of electricity on high speed with the light off, and 76 Watts with the light turned on. As you can see, the calculated cost to operate the fan with lights off is only $0.0029/hr. If you re-calculate it with the lights turned on, the cost increases by about 300% to $0.0091, but is still less than a penny per hour. So the first lesson to be learned here is that in almost all cases, the light fixture on a ceiling fan uses far more electricity than the fan motor itself. This fan will give us a good foundation for testing the range of costs between ceiling fans, which you can do by clicking the various buttons below the calculator.

What does it cost to operate this ceiling fan 24 hours per day?
Fan Watts Cost of Electricity/kWh
(Enter your cost per kWh or select your state)
Hours/Day Days/Year
$ hours days
w/Lights (52 Watts) Hourly Cost $ / Yearly Cost $

How to use our Ceiling Fan Cost Calculator

Basic Help: Our cost usage calculator shows you how much it will cost to operate the ceiling fan. By default, the calculator assumes that you will leave your fan running 24 hours a day for the entire year (which is not very likely to be accurate), so you will want to change the hours and days to be more in line with how often you think you will use the fan. The calculator also defaults to the average cost per kWh of electricity in the USA. You can change this to use the average cost of electricity in your state, although this may vary widely from city to city. For the most accurate calculation, manually enter the actual cost/kWh shown on your utility bill. The wattage of the fan is already included (if it is known), but you can change it if you wish to see how the wattage affects the cost.

Fans with lights: Calculations are performed without lights by default. If you add a light fixture to the fan, you can add the wattage of the fixture to the wattage of the fan to perform calculations with the lights on. In some cases, when a light fixture of known wattage is included with the fan, the option to calculate with or without lights will show automatically. The light fixture on a ceiling fan almost always uses substantially more electricity than the fan motor, so it is very important to take that into account when comparing the overall operational cost between various ceiling fans

CFM -vs- Efficiency: CFM is KING! It is more important to buy a fan with higher CFMs than it is to buy a fan that uses less electricity. The highest wattage consumed by the most energy guzzling ceiling fan on our website is about 120 watts. So if you input 120 as the fan watts and run our calculator, you will see that it still costs less than 2 cents per hour to operate the most energy guzzling ceiling fan in most states. You will get more savings with a higher CFM fan than a lower Wattage fan because if your fan moves more air you will be able to raise your thermostat to a higher degree. Raising your thermostat by 10 degrees can save you up to 40% on your cooling bills. Choosing a less powerful fan because it uses less electricity can be the worst mistake you can make because it will not cool you off enough to allow you to raise your thermostat to a high enough level without becoming uncomfortable. This is why CFM is so much more important to consider than Wattage.

The average kWh by state used by our calculator is derived from information published by the US Government Department of Energy as of May 2009. Your actual cost may differ from this. Again, refer to your utility bill for your most recent kWh cost.

What does it cost to operate a ceiling fan?
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Answers to Recent Ceiling Fans Questions Posted To This Page
  1. 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.

  2. 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).

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

    Ceiling Fans Question

    http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/default.asp

    QUESTION: what is best company of fans

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

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

    Ceiling Fans Question

    http://www.hansenwholesale.com/recommendations.asp

    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.

  5. 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.

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

    Ceiling Fans Question

    http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/sizes.asp

    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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    Ceiling Fans Question

    http://www.hansenwholesale.com/search.asp

    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.

  10. Question #9468 - Posted: 4/3/2014 8:01:15 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF875SPB

    View  model CF875SPB
    CF875SPB - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF875SPB

    QUESTION: I am looking for an Emerson crystal LX ceiling fan CF875SPB that I understand has been discontinued. Can you find one for me?

    ANSWER: It has been about 10 years since Emerson made that fan...so we ran out of stock many years ago. I am pretty confident that you will not find any dealers that have one. It was a nice looking fan with the illuminated crystal motor housing, but compared to fans made today, it did not move enough air (the motor was too small in order to accommodate the lights that lit up the crystal). Here is a link to view all of the flushmount/hugger ceiling fans that we currently have available: Flushmount Ceiling Fans.

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