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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

It costs only three tenths of one cent per hour ($0.0022) 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 18 Watts = $18.92 per year
  • Fan #2 - Average Ceiling Fan at 70 Watts = $73.58 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 $19 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 wattage of the light fixture can have a much greater impact on the cost than the motor. When calculating the cost to operate a fan with the lights on, you must add the wattage of the lights to that of the motor. The range of wattage for a ceiling fan light fixture is anywhere from 13 watts to 190 watts. FYI: Ceiling fans used to have up to 300 watts with a 5-light fixture using 60 watt bulbs, but the EPA began inforcing regulations that now limit the maximum wattage of the light to 190 watts. Here are the calculations if you leave you fan running with the lights on 24 hours a day for a full year:

  • Fan #4 - Super Efficient Ceiling Fan (Midway Eco 18 watts) with 52 Watt light = $73.58 per year
  • Fan #5 - Average Ceiling Fan (70 watts) with 160 Watt light = $241.78 per year
  • Fan #6 - More Powerful Ceiling Fan (120 watts) with 190 Watt light = $325.87 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 18 watts the fan motor uses for a total of 70 Watts. Fan #6 could be any number of less efficient ceiling fans with a light fixture that uses the maximim allowed wattage (190 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 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 Light Watts Cost of Electricity/kWh Hours/Day Days/Year
$ hours days
w/Lights ON
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 #9509 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:43:21 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF788VNB-72

    View  model CF788VNB-72
    CF788VNB-72 -

    QUESTION: I am looking at the Emerson Carrera Grande Eco 72 (DC Motor) Ceiling Fan Model CF788VNB, however regarding fan blades for an outdoor-damp location, would these blades tend to warp over a few years in a humid environment? I have had many outdoor fans, and they almost all end up with warped blades over time. Do you offer blades that would be less prone to warping, or are these already "resistant"? thanks!

    ANSWER: When you click on the orange button for blades, look for blades that say "(Outdoor Damp)". Emerson specially makes the damp rated blades from solid hardwood (instead of cheap plywood) that is treated to resist cracking and warping from being outside. They will hold up much better than what you have experienced and are in fact rated for use in outdoor damp locations by the manufacturer.

  2. Question #9508 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:37:34 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question

    QUESTION: I just bought a house with a Halsey ceiling fan and I want to add a light to it. The universal light kit only works sometimes! Where can I find Halsey light kits to fit models HC-HP and HG models?

    ANSWER: I am sorry to report that Halsey went out of business several years ago, so finding parts for them is difficult. It is not a brand that we ever sold, so we would not have any fixtures on hand that were made by them. If you email me some pictures of your fan, I may be able to determine what types of universal fixtures will fit...if any. Email pictures to:

  3. Question #9507 - Posted: 10/1/2015 4:33:29 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model EM-CF766VS

    View  model EM-CF766VS
    EM-CF766VS -

    QUESTION: The location I am considering was wired only for a light and no fan (1 wire pair). How do I tell which lights are compatible and which are not?

    ANSWER: Almost all of our ceiling fans with lights do not require a second hot wire, so they will work with a 1 wire pair...there are very few exceptions. If you give us a call, we will be happy to help you choose the best fan for your needs and make sure you can install it.

  4. Question #9504 - Posted: 11/22/2014 1:30:40 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Savoy House Model SV-14-325-FD-SN

    View  model SV-14-325-FD-SN
    SV-14-325-FD-SN -

    QUESTION: How far down from the ceiling does the Seaside fan hang when installed with the flushmount option?

    ANSWER: Thanks for your question: The Seaside fan from Savoy House comes with an 8" downrod as well as a flush mount adapter. The bottom of the fan cage hangs 16.3" from the ceiling when installed with the 8" downrod. Although the manufacturer does not specify the hanging distance with the flush mount option, after reviewing the installation instructions I have estimated that the flush mount option will reduce the distance by at least 6" to be safe...if not a bit more. That would put the bottom of the fan at about 10" from the ceiling.

  5. Question #9503 - Posted: 7/6/2014 9:23:16 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F820-CT

    View  model F820-CT
    F820-CT -

    QUESTION: I want to purchase the 36" Down rod DR536-CT (Cattera Bronze finish) $25.13 for the Santa Lucia Ceiling Fan I recently purchased from you. However, when I try to select it the website automatically adds the fan too. Please help

    ANSWER: Sorry you are having trouble ordering a downrod. Here is what you can do: Simply delete the fan from your shopping cart to order just the downrod or use this link to add the downrod to your cart by itself: Minka Aire DR536-CT Downrod.

  6. Question #9502 - Posted: 7/6/2014 9:17:41 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question

    QUESTION: Do you happen to carry Hunter fan light fixtures that have a triangle base. These are not held in by screws but by a clip system. Thank you, John

    ANSWER: I am sorry to report that we do not have any of the Hunter light fixtures you are looking for. Hunter only made the triangular fixtures for a short period of time and they discontinued them several years ago (too many problems). It is unlikely that you will be able to locate one anywhere. If you can email me some pictures of your fan along with the model number (located on a label on top of the fan housing), I may be able to come up with an alternative that will fit. Email your pictures to:

  7. Question #9501 - Posted: 7/4/2014 1:41:29 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF788ORB-B78WA

    View  model CF788ORB-B78WA
    CF788ORB-B78WA -

    QUESTION: How powerful is the fan? It will be used in an upstairs room that gets quite warm? Thank you

    ANSWER: Regarding the Emerson Carrera Grande Eco, it is one of the most powerful and efficient fans we sell. The Emerson ECO fans are some of our most highly recommended fans overall. You will certainly be happy with the airflow compared to fans of lesser caliber. Here is a link where you can Read More Aabout the Emerson Eco Fans.

  8. Question #9500 - Posted: 7/3/2014 1:55:05 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Modern Fan Model VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC

    View  model VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC
    VEL-HUG-BN-50-NK-NL-NC -

    QUESTION: Hello, First off, I love all the consumer information Hansen Wholesale provides. I'd love a clarification on something. You say that hugger fans don't work as well as regular ceiling fans. This makes total sense. However, why would the Modern Fan Velo Hugger be rated at the same 6650 CFM and 5.54 MPH wind speed as the regular Velo? (Is it because the blades are installed as low as possible on the hugger fan, thus negating the height benefits?)

    ANSWER: You are exactly correct. When installed with a standard downrod, the regular Velo hangs down the same distance as the Velo Hugger, so the airflow is the same.

  9. Question #9499 - Posted: 7/2/2014 11:30:33 PM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Savoy House Model SV-58-819-5WA-37

    View  model SV-58-819-5WA-37
    SV-58-819-5WA-37 -

    QUESTION: Hello! Per the information on the site, the new DC motors, the Emerson K55XL, and other "induction" type motors are considered best quality. If that's the case, how do fans with smallish non-special motors (Say, Savoy House Indira, with 153 x 22mm motor) earn a 5 rating?

    ANSWER: There are exceptions. A 5 rating is not just based on the motor inside the fan, but the overall consideration of the quality of the components and performance. Most 153mm motors are only 12mm to 15mm tall and tend to be overworked. The motor used in the Indra is 22mm tall, which is very unusual. This is a special motor that Savoy House had designed for this fan and the performance and quality of the motor are excellent. The 3-blade Indra produces a whopping 8517 CFM and runs very smooth and quiet. The entire fan was designed to produce maximum airflow while reducing noise. The blades have a very special aerodynamic design and the fan runs perfectly quiet. When I saw this fan introduced at the lighting show in Dallas, I was very impressed. Overall, one of the best fans I have rated in years. A DC motor would have been nice...but was not necessary to earn a 5 in my book.

    Here is a link to the Savoy House Indra.

  10. Question #9496 - Posted: 6/19/2014 10:09:09 AM

    Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F513-WH

    View  model F513-WH
    F513-WH -

    QUESTION: Hi, I have 4 rooms I'm thinking of installing fans. One is 10x14, 2 are 13x14, and a fourth is 23x15. For the first 3 I was considering Minka Aire F513. For the largest room I was thinking about Minka Aire MF-689. Will these be adequate? Thanks, Tom Kelley

    ANSWER: The Minka Aire F513 New Era fans will be great for the 3 smaller rooms. For the larger room, a single ceiling fan will not be should install 2 fans. If you install 2 fans, then the F689 Kola-XL 60" fans would be a great choice. If you can only install a single fan, then I would recommend an even larger fan (up to 84") such as the Fanimation Odyn. Here are links to those resources: Large Ceiling Fans or The Fanimation Odyn. Please call us at: 1-800-201-1193 and we will be happy to discuss all of your options and help you make an educated decision.

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