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If you want to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout summer at your house, do you use an air conditioner or a ceiling fan?

Due to increasing electricity costs and the that fact that your air conditioner may be the largest contributor to your energy use at home, very few people can happily leave their air conditioner running 24hours a day. 

Did you know that a ceiling fan is a very economical way to help cool a home? A ceiling fan works the same way as a breeze does; by cooling you through the movement of air over your skin, this allows your skin to breathe and cool you down.  

The benefits of ceiling fans;

Ceiling fans are environmentally friendly, with most ceiling fans using only about as much power as a 60 watt light bulb which equates to less than 1 cent per hour to run. Although note that when buying fans, check how much power the motor uses as an inefficient fan motor can undo much of the greenhouse gas savings.  

They are inexpensive to purchase and run in comparison to air conditioners. To purchase a ceiling fan will cost you $70-$200 to purchase and 1c/hour to run. 

Ceiling fans can move air much more quietly and are more efficient air movers. In most situations ceiling fans are quieter than air conditioners which rely on small fast moving internal fans to distribute the air which create more air turbulence which is a major source of noise. 

Ceiling fans don’t dry out the air. By using an air conditioner to cool the air you also reduce the amount of moisture it can carry and as such you lower the humidity in a room.  Whilst this can be an acceptable side effect in a humid environment, it also causes the drying out feeling that leaves your eyes, throat and skin dry and sore which is why many of us prefer to sleep under a ceiling fan.

Ceiling fans can be reversed for winter. Most people don’t think to turn on a ceiling fan during winter, but you can use a ceiling fan with a reversible switch, which pushes the warm air down from the ceiling, warming up your room and reducing your heating costs. This warm circulating air also reduces condensation on your windows. 

Ceiling fans are fantastic in open spaces or spaces where there is a lot of mixing of air between the inside and outside, for example outdoor entertaining areas. Air conditioning is in-effective in comparison unless it is running on the higher settings which in turn would consume a large amount of electricity and become costly.

Ceiling fans and air conditioning are natural partners providing different but complimentary roles. When using an air conditioner to reduce the temperature and humidity in conjunction with a ceiling fan to move the chilled air, providing a natural breeze your cooling effectiveness is greatly improved. When using you ceiling fan and air conditioner together you are also able to set the thermostat on the air conditioner at a slightly higher temperature, whilst still maintaining your same level of comfort but reducing your energy consumption.

“Effective circulation can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler, and reduce air conditioning bills by up to 40%.”


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We all enjoy having a cool house during a hot summer’s day, but how can we achieve this without the large increase in energy usage?

You can keep the cool air inside your house by sealing up any gaps and cracks in external walls, floors and the ceiling. Weather-seal your external doors using draught stoppers or  alternatively door snakes at the bottom and weather stripping around the frames. 

Keep your shutters, curtains and outside window shades closed to cut out the summer sun and therefore keeping the heat out and the cool air in.

External windows and doors should be closed when you are cooling your house. Enter and exit your home quickly as an open door on a hot summer's day will allow a great deal of heat to enter into your home.

Opening your windows overnight can help to substantially cool your house, if it doesn't pose a security issue.

Insulating your home can be a long-term solution to keeping your house cooler in summer
Also try to dress more appropriately for the climate, wearing natural fabrics in summer such as cotton or linen which will help your body keep cool.

Only use cooling when and where it is needed, so make sure that you are only using it when you are home and close the doors to unused rooms.

 Use fans instead of the air-conditioner where and whenever possible as fans are much cheaper to use than air conditioning (1-2 cents per hour to run compared to 30 cents for a typical split-system air-conditioner). Although they don’t cool the air they only move it about to produce a breeze.

Ensure that your air conditioner is the right size for the room. If it’s too small, it won’t do the job and if it’s too big it will result in reduced efficiency, higher running costs, inconsistent temperatures and excessive wear and tear.

Your air-conditioner temperature should be set to 23°-26° during summer. According to SavePower, lowering the temperature of your air-conditioner by just one degree can cut your power use by 15 per cent.

Get a programmable thermostat or a timer on your air conditioner so that you can come home to a cool house without running your air conditioner all day.

Make sure your air conditioner is functioning as efficiently and inexpensively as possible by cleaning the filters monthly and having an annual professional cleaning and check-up.

If you already have a solar power system, run your air conditioner while the sun is shining to offset the cost of peak electricity rates and maximize your savings.

If you expect a hot day, turn on the air conditioner early, rather than wait until your home is already hot.

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