Use Fans instead of AC to save Money

While doing some work at home in the middle of a hot summer day I realized I needed a solution to the fact that I was close to sweating.  We leave the upstairs thermostat at 78° F during the day, and I'm loathe to adjust my thermostat if I don't have to.

So I decided to use a fan.

You may be one of the lucky few who have read my aptly titled post "Be a fan of fans".  Since a fan just moves air around (it cools you by convection cooling) and doesn't compress a fluid (like your air conditioner), it uses less electricity.

For those of you with central air conditioning, you have two options: using the fan on your AC system or using a desk fan in the area you are working.

I first decided to see how my AC system's fan would work, which is basically just using the AC system without the compressor on.  I went to my Ecobee thermostat and turned the fan on my AC system.  When I got back to my desk (even though I could have turned the fan on from my laptop because it is controlled over the internet) I looked at my TED 5000 and noticed that the AC system's fan was using 2 kW!  This is a lot of electricity (I actually think this may be too much electricity, so I need to get this checked out)!

I turned off the AC system fan because it was using so much electricity, and I decided to pull the desk fan out of the closet.  I set it right next to my desk and turned it on low.  Guess how many watts it consumed.....30 Watts!  That is almost 67 times less energy than my central AC system's fan! And surprisingly, it kept me very comfortable; in fact, I was almost too cool.

If you have the opportunity to use a fan - desktop, ceiling, or a big ass fan (no seriously, that's what it is called) like the one in this post's picture - then use it and save a ton of electricity compared to your air conditioning.

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A fan actually is a bit more than a convection cooling and heat mixing device as it increases evaporative cooling of your body, too. A table fan placed right next to you will cool you much faster (and cheaper) than just moving air around with your AC fan.
My mini-split heat pump will use about 500 watts to cool my house (it is a small house, 960 sq/ft). Previously, I used to use a pair of window fans (about 75 watts each) to night flush while we sleep. So 150 watts for 10 hours (1.5 kw) but now the efficiency is high enough on the A/C, and the comfort is quite high - we'll just use the A/C for a few hours before we go to sleep (500w x 3 hours = 1.5 kw), then open the windows. So it's pretty much a wash in energy use, but the A/C will get the house much, much cooler. Keep in mind, this is in the NW, where humidity isn't an issue, and we've only ever had a nighttime low above 70 degrees once.

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