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Myth or Fact: Ceiling Fans Save Money

Which uses more electricity -- air conditioners or ceiling fans?

Florida’s balmy winters and year-round tropical climate make it the envy of our northern neighbors. But its scorching summers — and the higher energy bills that come with them—can make living in this slice of paradise a cause for concern for home and business owners. At FPL, we always provide our customers with tools and advice to keep their energy bills amongst the lowest in the nation, so today we’re tackling an age-old question: Is it myth or fact that you can save on energy costs by using a ceiling fan?

The answer: it’s a fact, but there are a few traps that could offset your savings.

A Ceiling Fan is Your Friend

There’s no need to build up any suspense; ceiling fans can absolutely be a useful tool in lowering your monthly energy bill. Circulating air from ceiling fans facilitates extra evaporation of moisture from your skin, so you’ll feel cooler at a given temperature with a fan than without one. But here’s the catch—ceiling fans don’t actually decrease the temperature of a room. In order to save money, raise the temperature on your thermostat by a couple degrees and thanks to the fan, you won’t feel the difference!

Of course, ceiling fans do use a relatively small amount of energy to function, so make sure to turn them off when you leave a room. Because fans don’t lower the temperature, they won’t do any good if you’re not around to feel their effects and turning them off when you leave can save you an extra $3 to $7 per month.

Do All Fans Lower Energy Bills?

While fans can help you stay cooler, it’s important to keep in mind that some are much better than others at lowering your energy bill. Ceiling fans that have been up there gathering dust are far less energy-efficient than modern ones. In fact, those heavy-duty fans from decades ago that still spin in many Florida homes can use up to 500 Watts on high speed! Buying a modern ceiling fan can cut the fan’s energy costs by up to 80 percent.

Another bonus of a modern fan is the ability to select the direction that the blades turn. In the summer, you’ll want the air to blow straight down for maximum comfort, meaning that the rotation should be set counterclockwise. A clockwise rotation should only be used during cooler months, as it draws air upwards and pushes the warmer air at the ceiling throughout the room.

Whether you’re using your fan for the comfort, the financial savings or both, if your fan is getting up there in years, it may be time to consider a change.

How to Optimize Your Air Conditioning (A/C) Use

Now that you have the scoop on how utilizing fans can lower your bill, it’s time to make sure you’re managing the A/C as efficiently as possible to maximize your savings. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep yourself and your wallet comfortable in the Florida heat:

  1. Don’t neglect those A/C filters! We know it’s easy to let these vital protectors slip your mind, but they should be regularly inspected and frequently changed, ideally around once per month.
  2. If you haven’t already, add ceiling insulation to your home and/or office to keep unwanted heat from slipping in through the roof and making your central air system work harder than it needs to.
  3. Always monitor your energy usage. We make it easy to control your energy usage and bill with our Energy Manager tool for homes and FPL Business Energy Manager for offices that allow customers to truly understand their bills and take action to lower them.

More Tools You Can Use

While ceiling fans are a practical tool to save money on your energy, don’t forget about FPL’s suite of digital tools you can access for free online! The FPL mobile app puts your entire account in the palm of your hand and allows you to monitor your energy usage from anywhere in the world with a cell signal. You can even pay your bill or transfer your service during a move with just a couple taps.

Our Energy Dashboard is also an invaluable arrow in your quiver for lowering your bill, as it tracks the days and times where you use the most energy and forecasts your future energy usage based on your history. Take control of your bill with these interactive tools today!