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Fan vs. AC: Which Is Better for Cooling a Room?


Fans have been part of human history for more than 5,000 years. People in both ancient Greece and Rome used fans for ceremonial purposes. They also used them to make life more cool and comfortable.

Meanwhile, modern homes typically use some type of air conditioner to cool the temperature of a room.

There are many people who argue about the benefits of using a fan vs. AC. In this article, we will explore the advantages of both and determine the best course for cooling your home.

Using a Fan vs. AC

Energy-efficient, easy and inexpensive to operate, and super portable, fans can be a great way to cool off. Here are some other advantages of using a fan in your home:

  • Fan vs. AC cost is less expensive to own and operate
  • Fans are easy to move around your home, apartment, dorm or office so you can cool specific areas quickly
  • Modern fans come in a wide range of styles to match your decor
  • Ceiling fans vs. ac are a cost-effective way to cool an entire room

The disadvantage of fans is they don’t actually cool the air. While they may provide some temporary comfort, they can’t prevent heat-related injuries. Fans move room temperature air across your skin at a high rate.

That makes you feel cooler, but the temperature of the room doesn’t actually change.

To really make a room cooler, you should consider an air conditioner.

Whether you decide on a central air conditioning or portable AC units, you should expect to spend significantly more than you would for fans. Despite their higher cost to purchase and operate, they do have some benefits, such as:

  • Air conditioners replace the warm air in a room with cooled air.
  • Larger homes, or homes with multiple levels are easier to cool with air conditioners.
  • AC cools a room much more quickly than a fan, or even multiple fans.

What’s the Difference in Cost?

Fans, especially ceiling fans, are very cost-efficient. A typical ceiling fan uses a paltry 30 watts of electricity to operate.

That’s barely a penny per hour and less than $2 per month. If you can keep your home feeling comfortable with a ceiling fan, you’ll save thousands of dollars each year.

Make sure you maintain your ceiling fan light if it’s not working properly – this can save you a lot of cash in the long run.

Air conditioners use nearly 20% of the energy in the average home. In warmer climates, they can account for more than half a home’s energy consumption. An average ac cost per month can range from $100 to $500, depending on the size of your home and the region in which you live.

Fans are more cost-effective to operate. Air conditioning is more effective in cooling a room or an entire home. What is the right choice?

Use Both Fans and AC

One common way of finding the right balance is to use ac and fans together. If you live in a temperate area where outside temperatures aren’t consistently above 90-degrees, you can balance ac vs. fan power consumption by using a fan and ac together.

Using air conditioning with a fan is always an excellent way to save money. Because the fan makes you feel cooler as it evaporates sweat, you can be comfortable at a higher room temperature in an air-conditioned room.

Raising the temperature on your ac thermostat saves about 4% of your energy use.

If you increase your home’s temperature from 70-degrees to 78-degrees, you can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs. And by using a fan to circulate room air, a 78-degree room is still very comfortable.

One way to better control the airflow in your home, and keep rooms more comfortable is with ceiling fans. Some ceiling fans include remote controls, Wi-Fi apps, and voice control so you can make them part of your smart home.

Fans Aren’t Just for Summer

What might come as a surprise to you is a fan isn’t just useful for making you feel cool on a hot day. If you have ceiling fans, it’s a good idea to keep the fan running during the winter. This isn’t because you want to make the room cooler, but because a ceiling fan can actually make a room warmer in the winter!

Take a look at your ceiling fan. Do you see that little switch on the side of it? That switch controls the direction of your fan blades.

When the switch is in one position, the fan blades turn in a counter-clockwise motion to force air downward. This keeps the room feeling cooler.

If you move the switch to the other position, the fan blades turn in a clockwise motion and draw air up. And since hot air rises, the upward airflow from the ceiling fan recirculates the warm air trapped near your ceiling. You can lower your heating costs in the winter by using your ceiling fan!

Your ceiling fan can help provide whole-house comfort all year round.

Find a Balance

The age-old debate of using a fan vs. AC may never come to an end, but hopefully, you’ve learned more about the benefits of each. Fans cost less to operate, but air conditioning is more effective at cooling large rooms and whole homes.

For most people, using a combination of both can help keep your home comfortable year-round. This approach can also save you a lot of money each year.

For more great information and inspiration for your home, keep reading our blog and exploring our site. Our featured DIY’ers and talented designers are continually sharing great ideas to transform your house into the perfect home.

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