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 ($0.0029) 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.
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.
Answers to Recent Ceiling Fans Questions Posted To This Page
- Question #9405 - Posted: 10/21/2013 8:30:16 AM
Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F518-WH
F518-WH - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=F518-WH
QUESTION: If purchase fan, is it necessary to buy either RCS212 or WCS212 controls? There is only one switch on the wall to control fan. Without these optional extra controls, can I operate the light and fan separately? Thanks.
ANSWER: The Minka Aire Concept fans come with a hand held remote control for operating the ceiling fan. Your switch on the wall provides power to the fan. So in order for the remote to work the switch simply needs to be in the on position. You do not need to purchase any additional controls to operate the fan as it comes. If you wish to operate the fan from your existing wall switch, you would purchase the WCS212 wall control which converts it into a wall operated remote with the same functions as the hand held remote that comes with the fan. You would not need any extra wiring for the WCS212 to work. With the wall control installed, you can use both the included RCS212 remote control and the WCS212 wall control to operate the fan.
- Question #9404 - Posted: 10/7/2013 12:59:01 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Emerson Model CF205BS
CF205BS - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/emerson/model.asp?ProdNo=CF205BS
QUESTION: The comments list an optional near flush adapter. My ceiling is 104 inches. Please advise.
ANSWER: The flush mount adapter is only recommended for ceilings that are lower than 8 feet. I would not suggest using it on your ceiling since it is over 8 feet high. When you use the flush mount adapter on any ceiling fan, it reduces the airflow of the fan because the blades get closer to the ceiling and the air cannot flow around them as freely as it does with a standard installation. Fans perform best when the blades are at least 12" from the ceiling.
- Question #9399 - Posted: 7/16/2013 7:07:52 PM
Ceiling Fans Question
QUESTION: My husband just purchased a Turn of the Century fan- Karlyn, model 355-0463. It is already installed but is too small and provides very little noticeable airflow. Can longer blades be used on this model?
ANSWER: Unfortunately you cannot buy larger blades for the fan that you own. Even if you could, it would not move more air, it would likely move less and eventually burn out due to the overloaded stress larger blades put on the motor. The Turn of the Century fans are very low end ceiling fans and have small motors in them that simply cannot perform. Fans like this are sold at places like Menards where people expect to find low prices and are not aware of the huge differences there are between various brands and models of ceiling fans.
Although we do not sell or recommend Turn of the Century fans, I took a moment to look at the specifications for the fan you and it is only designed to produce a maximum of 2169 CFM of airflow (Cubic Feet per Minute). This is extremely low when it comes to ceiling fans where the average airflow is closer to 5,000 CFM, and what I consider a good fan, will produce more than 6,000 CFM. Fans that produce higher airflow have much larger more powerful motors...and yes, probably larger blade spans.
I would suggest you spend some time looking through our website because our first and foremost concern is that our customers are aware of the amount of airflow each of the fans we sell can be expected to produce. If you start looking through our fan search results, you cannot miss the performance graphs that tell you exactly what you can expect from each fan. If you click on one of the graphs, you can read details about what to look for in a ceiling fan and how to compare them.
The 2169 CFM that your fan produces is ridiculous and I always feel for those who shop at home centers and unknowingly end up with a fan that does not move air.
- Question #9397 - Posted: 7/13/2013 3:57:06 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Hunter Model HU-53062
HU-53062 - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/hunter/model.asp?ProdNo=HU-53062
QUESTION: I am wondering if you still carry a Hunter Model # 21543 ceiling fan. Looking for a high CFM, white, 52" ceiling fan with a 4 light kit that will accept 60 watt bulbs. Please email me with info.
Hunter no longer manufactures model 21543 and the fan has not been available for quite some time. I highly recommend you consider the Casablanca Panama ceiling fan. The Panama is one of the best performing high quality ceiling fans ever made and has been the industry standard for nearly 20 years. The Panama is a customizable fan that does not come with blades or lights, so you choose them separately to design the fan to fit your needs. The 4-light fixture options are one of the few that still come with standard medium base sockets that can accept 60 incandescent bulbs, although they ship with CFLs. Most 4-light fixtures from other brands either use candelabra base bulbs or plug-in type CFLs (to meet government regulations).
Casablanca recently introduced a special tool on their website that allows you to customize your fan and see how it looks before you buy it. Here is a link to that tool. Any of the fans you see on that site will be equivalent to the Panama, which is one of the choices. When you are finished building your fan, click on the checkout button and it will put your selected options into our shopping cart where you can finalize your purchase. We also have a promotion that will give you a FREE Casablanca Remote Control worth $80.00 when you buy any of the Custom Casablanca fans.Custom Casablanca Ceiling Fans
Here is a link to view the Casablanca Panama directly on our website where you can also select components individually but you cannot see how the completed fan will look, just the individual components:Casablanca Panama
BTW: The Hunter Studio Series ceiling fans are a lower end Hunter fan and they move only about half as much air as the Casablanca Panama...although the price is about half that of the Panama as well.
- Question #9396 - Posted: 7/13/2013 3:27:38 PM
Ceiling Fans Question
QUESTION: Dear reader,
The fans from Casablanca are awesome and I would very much like to order two of these.
I'm living in The Netherlands and my question is if it's possible to get them in 220V instead of 110V. When this is not possible I would like to know if a power converter can help.
Your help is much appreciated and I would like to thank you in advance for your time an help.
ANSWER: Unfortunately Casablanca does not make any of their fans for use with 220V applications. They are only made for export and are only for sale in the USA.
- Question #9395 - Posted: 7/13/2013 2:49:40 PM
Ceiling Fans Question - Minka Aire Model F510-WH
F510-WH - http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/minkaaire/model.asp?ProdNo=F510-WH
QUESTION: what is a three wire installation? I want to replace a ceiling light in my bathroom with a fan because I cannot install an exhaust venting one. Would this work? Or, do you have other suggestions?
ANSWER: A 3 wire control requires 2 hot wires...meaning 2 separate power sources. It would be the same wiring required to have 2 separate switches in a wall. Unless the location for your fan was pre-wired in this manner (which is rarely the case), you will have to hire an electrician to run an additional hot wire to the fan. The best option is to purchase the wall control model WCS223 because it only requires a single hot wire, which is what most people already have.
The information we had on our website was not accurate and the optional WCS223 was not showing on our site. There is also a remote control option RCS223 which will work with the Spacesaver and does not require a wall control at all. If you have an existing light switch that supplies power to the fan you can just leave it in the on position and use the remote control. I have updated our website with this information...and thanks for asking your question since it brought this to my attention.
FYI: When Minka Aire came out with the Spacesaver fan I made it quite clear to their executives that it was a mistake to not simply include the WCS223 or RCS223 control since most people would have to pay an electrician to run an additional wire ( at a cost of anywhere from $150 to $300) to use the cheaper 2 wire control they opted to include. Their response was that they wanted to keep the price of the fan below $200, so they chose to include a much less expensive control. Bad decision in my opinion because the 3 wire control can rarely be used. Otherwise, the Spacesaver is a great little fan and a good value at just under $220.00 once you add the WCS223 control...much better than hiring an electrician to run extra wires!