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08

2023

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06

What is the difference in electricity costs between using a fan or air conditioner in the summer?

Ricardo Chong


What is the difference in electricity costs between using a fan or air conditioner in the summer?

Summer is here and you may be wondering how to keep cool and comfortable without breaking the bank. You have two options: using a fan or an air conditioner. But which one is more cost-effective and energy-efficient? In this article, we will compare the electricity costs of using a fan or an air conditioner in the summer, and give you some tips on how to save money and energy while staying cool.

How much electricity does a fan use?

A fan is a simple device that circulates air by spinning blades. It does not change the temperature of the air, but it creates a breeze that makes you feel cooler by evaporating your sweat. A fan can also help distribute the cool air from an air conditioner more evenly in a room.

The amount of electricity that a fan uses depends on its size, speed, and type. Generally, smaller fans use less electricity than larger ones, and ceiling fans use less electricity than floor or table fans. The speed of the fan also affects its electricity consumption: the faster it spins, the more electricity it uses.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a typical ceiling fan uses about 75 watts of electricity on high speed, while a typical floor or table fan uses about 100 watts on high speed. To calculate how much it costs to run a fan for an hour, you need to multiply the wattage by the electricity rate in your area. For example, if you pay 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), running a ceiling fan for an hour would cost 0.75 x 0.12 = 0.009 dollars, or less than a cent. Running a floor or table fan for an hour would cost 0.1 x 0.12 = 0.012 dollars, or about a cent.

How much electricity does an air conditioner use?

An air conditioner is a complex device that cools and dehumidifies the air by using a refrigerant cycle. It has two main components: an indoor unit that blows cool air into the room, and an outdoor unit that expels heat and moisture from the refrigerant. An air conditioner can lower the temperature of the air by several degrees, but it also consumes more electricity than a fan.

The amount of electricity that an air conditioner uses depends on its size, efficiency, and settings. Generally, larger and older air conditioners use more electricity than smaller and newer ones, and central air conditioners use more electricity than window or portable units. The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which is the ratio of cooling output to electricity input over a typical cooling season. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner.

According to the DOE, a typical window air conditioner uses about 900 watts of electricity on high setting, while a typical central air conditioner uses about 3500 watts of electricity on average. To calculate how much it costs to run an air conditioner for an hour, you need to multiply the wattage by the electricity rate in your area. For example, if you pay 12 cents per kWh, running a window air conditioner for an hour would cost 0.9 x 0.12 = 0.108 dollars, or about 11 cents. Running a central air conditioner for an hour would cost 3.5 x 0.12 = 0.42 dollars, or about 42 cents.

What is the difference in electricity costs between using a fan or an air conditioner in the summer?

Based on the above calculations, we can see that using an air conditioner in the summer costs much more than using a fan. For example, if you run a window air conditioner for eight hours a day for 30 days in July, you would spend about 25.92 dollars on electricity (0.108 x 8 x 30). If you run a central air conditioner for eight hours a day for 30 days in July, you would spend about 100.8 dollars on electricity (0.42 x 8 x 30). On the other hand, if you run a ceiling fan for eight hours a day for 30 days in July, you would spend only about 2.16 dollars on electricity (0.009 x 8 x 30). If you run a floor or table fan for eight hours a day for 30 days in July, you would spend only about 2.88 dollars on electricity (0.012 x 8 x 30).

Of course, these are rough estimates that do not take into account other factors such as the size and insulation of your home, the outdoor temperature and humidity, and your personal comfort level. However, they show that using a fan instead of an air conditioner can save you a lot of money and energy in the summer.

How to save money and energy while staying cool in the summer

Using a fan instead of an air conditioner is one way to save money and energy while staying cool in the summer, but there are other ways as well. Here are some tips to help you reduce your cooling costs and your environmental impact:

  • Set your thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. The DOE recommends setting it to 78°F (26°C) when you are home and awake, and higher when you are away or asleep. You can save about 10% on your cooling costs by raising your thermostat by 7-10°F (4-6°C) for eight hours a day.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically according to your schedule and preferences. You can also use a timer or remote control to turn on and off your air conditioner or fan as needed.
  • Use natural ventilation to cool your home when possible. Open windows and doors to create a cross breeze, or use an attic fan to draw out hot air from the upper floors. However, close windows and doors when the outdoor temperature is higher than the indoor temperature, or when the humidity is high.
  • Use shades, blinds, curtains, awnings, or other window coverings to block out direct sunlight and heat from entering your home. You can also plant trees or shrubs around your home to provide shade and cooling.
  • Avoid using heat-generating appliances such as ovens, stoves, dishwashers, dryers, or incandescent lights during the hottest part of the day. Instead, use microwaves, toaster ovens, crockpots, or grills to cook your food, or eat cold or raw foods. You can also air-dry your clothes, or use LED or CFL lights that produce less heat and use less electricity.
  • Maintain and clean your air conditioner and fan regularly to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. Replace or clean the air filters at least once a month, and check for leaks or damage in the ducts, coils, fins, and refrigerant. You can also hire a professional to service your air conditioner once a year.
  • Upgrade your air conditioner or fan if it is old, inefficient, or inadequate for your cooling needs. Look for models that have a high SEER rating, an Energy Star label, or other features that indicate energy efficiency and quality. You may also qualify for rebates or tax credits for buying energy-efficient cooling equipment.

Conclusion

Using a fan or an air conditioner in the summer can make a big difference in your comfort level and your electricity bill. While an air conditioner can lower the temperature of the air by several degrees, it also consumes more electricity than a fan. A fan can create a breeze that makes you feel cooler by evaporating your sweat, but it does not change the temperature of the air. Depending on the size, type, and settings of your cooling device, you can save a lot of money and energy by using a fan instead of an air conditioner in the summer.

However, there are other factors that affect your cooling costs and your environmental impact, such as the size and insulation of your home, the outdoor temperature and humidity, and your personal comfort level. Therefore, you should also follow some tips to reduce your cooling costs and your environmental impact, such as setting your thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature, using natural ventilation and window coverings to block out heat, avoiding heat-generating appliances during the hottest part of the day, maintaining and cleaning your cooling equipment regularly, and upgrading your cooling equipment if necessary.

We hope this article has helped you understand the difference in electricity costs between using a fan or an air conditioner in the summer, and how to save money and energy while staying cool. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

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