High on our list of ways to help lower the cost of staying cool in a Texas summer is ceiling fans. A ceiling fan doesn’t lower a room’s temperature, but it does make it easier for people in the room to stay cool. It’s the power of “wind chill”: when a breeze moves over your body, it takes away the heat envelope around you from heat escaping through your skin. When this envelope is removed, it allows for more heat to leave your body so you feel cooler than the air around you.
How much a difference can a ceiling fan make in hot weather? It can make a space feel up to 10°F cooler. So a 90°F day can already feel like a more bearable 80°F day, and that means having to run the AC less often.
Now here’s the fun news we put in the title: ceiling fans can help in winter, too. For a place with mild winter temperatures, it doesn’t take much help to get you comfortable—and that means heating in Houston, TX that costs less.
“Wait … how does that work?”
What you probably thought when we said ceiling fans can help in cooler weather is, “How can making me feel cooler benefit when I’m already cold?” The answer is that it can’t—but your ceiling fan can work in two modes, and one of them is beneficial in colder conditions.
Take a look at your ceiling fan right now. Examine the base below where the blades are. You’ll see a toggle switch. When your fan is shut off, toggle that switch to the opposite position. Now turn on the fan and look at it from below. You’ll see that the fan blades are no longer spinning counterclockwise, which is their normal direction, but clockwise. This is “winter” mode for the fan.
How is this mode different? In standard mode, a fan draws air upward from the room and forces it across the ceiling and then down the walls, which creates a circle of current resulting in a cooling breeze. When the blades spin the opposite direction, the fan starts to push down air from the top of the room. This isn’t effective at creating a breeze through the space (aside from standing directly under the fan), but what it does is move heat from the ceiling and pushes it downward. Heat rises, and the reason it can often take a long time for a heating system like a furnace to get a room evenly warmed up is because the heat moves to the ceiling first and gathers there, where it doesn’t do you much good.
When the ceiling fan is pushing air downward, it speeds up the process of warming a room and more evenly distributing heat. Even when the heating system isn’t on, the natural heat created by people and appliances rises toward the ceiling, and a fan pushing that back down helps to create a warmer environment. It’s that easy!
We have plenty more tips to help you enjoy an energy-efficient winter, as well as the heating service to keep your furnace, heat pump, or other system in top shape.
Comfort can cost less! Work with AC Comfort and we’ll help you get your heating bills under control.