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Which is Better to Keep Cool: Ceiling Fans or AC?

July 1, 2020

Air conditioning is one of the modern-day inventions that everyone in Los Angeles is grateful for. The A/C is convenient and keeps your home at comfortable temperatures all summer long. But most homes in Southern California are equipped with ceiling fans as well. Which begs the question: if you start to feel uncomfortably warm in your home, should you turn on the fan or lower the AC? 

Use Air Conditioning for Convenience

Using your air conditioner is certainly the convenient choice. It’s already built into your home and has refrigeration technology to keep you cool. Just set the thermostat to your desired temperature, and your AC does the rest. The air conditioning system will turn on and off to maintain the indoor temperature. 

If you spring for a smart thermostat, you can set your HVAC system on a programmed schedule. Some models even allow you to change the setpoint from your smartphone or smart speaker. 

So, using the air conditioner is definitely the most convenient option if you are feeling warm. Unfortunately, this method uses the most energy.

Use Ceiling Fans for Lower Energy Bills

Ceiling fans use significantly less energy than an air conditioner. Research from the State of California Air Resources Board concluded that you can reduce your HVAC energy usage about 5% per degree Fahrenheit by using the ceiling fan instead of the AC. 

Similar studies have indicated that you can raise the temperature setpoint on the thermostat by up to 4 degrees, and if you turn on the ceiling fan in the room you won’t feel any difference

Using a ceiling fan is a choice that you have to make. Just like a light bulb or water faucet, you need to turn it on and off. It’s important to remember that room fans work by creating a wind chill effect. In other words, a ceiling fan running in a room with no one in it is just a waste of energy (you could say the same about air conditioners too, which is why we love ductless). So when you use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning to keep cool, you must make it a habit to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. 

Combining Ceiling Fans and AC to Keep Cool and Comfortable

If comfort is your priority, you’ll benefit most from using a combination of the ceiling fan and your air conditioner. 

We already know that ceiling fans can reduce the need for air conditioning – but it likely will not eliminate it. During the hot summer season, a ceiling fan alone may not keep the indoors as comfortable as you might like. Using a ceiling fan together with high efficiency air conditioning is your best bet. 

Ceiling fans offer personal comfort; family members in the living room can have the ceiling fan off, while those sleeping in the bedroom can turn the fans on. This way, no one has to snuggle under a blanket in the middle of summer. 

Try increasing your thermostat setting by 2 degrees and using ceiling fans when you begin to feel warm. We bet that you will be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable you feel – and delighted by the energy savings on your next utility bill. 

Need More Cooling Help? Brody Pennell is Here For You. 

If your air conditioner and fan is not keeping up with your cooling needs, there may be a bigger problem. An air conditioner that isn’t providing enough cooling is a very common AC repair. Our knowledgeable techs can find the problem and solve it, fast!  Call us at (310) 896-4911.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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