Air Conditioning vs. Fans… or Both?

Although the air conditioning vs. fans debate has raged for decades, air conditioning seems to be winning. About 90 percent of homes had air conditioning in 2018, nearly double the percentage of homes with air conditioning (47 percent) in 1973.

To be fair, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison because the two technologies are designed to do different things. Air conditioning cools the air, while fans simply move the air.

Also, keep in mind that air conditioning helps you control air quality while cooling. This is important for the elderly, young children, and people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. For many families, the health benefit is as important as the comfort benefit.

Fans can create a cooling sensation, but only if you’re directly in front of the fan. Blown air promotes moisture evaporation or cools perspiration on the skin, but the fan itself doesn’t cool the air.

The warmer the room and the more direct sunlight it receives, the less effective a fan will be. When it gets really hot, fans can actually do more harm than good.

When a room gets hotter than 95 degrees, a fan blows air that’s warmer than your body’s ideal temperature, which can actually increase your body’s heat stress and cause heat exhaustion more quickly.

Today’s environmentally conscious consumer might be drawn to fans because they use about 1 percent of the energy of air conditioning. However, there are many ways to reduce consumption, from turning up the thermostat to installing high-efficiency system.

Using Air Conditioning and Fans Together

The best way to reduce your air conditioning unit’s energy consumption and cool your home quickly is to run it in tandem with fans. It may seem redundant to use electricity to power both, but this will actually make your air conditioning system run more efficiently. Plus, a fan typically costs about one penny per hour to operate.

A fan blowing the cool air created by your air conditioning produces the same kind of wind chill that heavy winds produce when it’s cold outside. Run your ceiling fans counterclockwise to create a cool downdraft. If you don’t have ceiling fans, you can place fans near air vents to achieve the same effect.

When you use air conditioning and fans together, you can raise your thermostat setting by as much as four degrees and feel just as cool. As a general rule of thumb, every degree translates to about 3 percent energy savings, so you’ll get cooler faster and save money on your monthly utility bill!

For more than a quarter century, homeowners in Princeton, West Windsor, and throughout Mercer County have turned to Tindall & Ranson for heating and air conditioning installation and service. Now is the time for spring maintenance! Contact us to schedule a service appointment for your air conditioning system and find out about our care-free maintenance plan.

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