The Heat is On! The Ceiling Fan vs. The Air Conditioner
When it comes to giving us relief from the heat in summer, anything that may even marginally make us cooler is a welcomed addition, but standing in front of the opened fridge is not exactly the most efficient solution. As you may already know, the current two most common cooling solutions in the market are ceiling fans and air conditioners.
The real questions need to be asked: What is better, a ceiling fan or an air conditioner? Most of us know that the cost of running an air conditioner far exceeds the cost of running a ceiling fan, however would a ceiling fan really do the job as the mercury soars above 30°C?
We can see that this debate has people divided, and where you sit depends on a number of factors. Geographical location will play a big part in which side you are on, anyone in a more tropical area will usually require the assistance of an air conditioner more than those living in regions with a cooler climate.
Which is Better?
This is not a black and white answer unfortunately. It will depend on what amount of cooling you require for your room to be your definition of a comfortable level. Ceiling fans are equally as good for the environment as they are for your bank balance. They are cheaper to run than air conditioners, and they have a lower upfront cost.
Below is a comparison chart from Save Energy Save Money, showing the life time cost of an average ceiling fan vs. an average air conditioner:
You can see that an Air-Conditioner will cost you more over its lifetime than a ceiling fan, making ceiling fan the more financially viable option. The biggest drawback to air conditioners would be the cost to not only purchasing them but running them as well.
Pros: Air Conditioner
Air-conditioners have been around in some form or another for nearly 100 years. This technology has advanced quite dramatically in the last decade making them more efficient to run and quieter during operation. Nothing quite cools a room like an air conditioner when the temperature soars up to 38 degrees. For those people who live in a warmer climate, air-conditioners are more of a necessity than a luxury, a way of life most in that situation couldn’t live without.
On those unbearably hot days, it is a case of grabbing a few family board games, cramming everyone in a single room, closing all doors and windows in that room, and cranking the beloved air-con up to max. There are many different types of air-con out there, the window A/C units are perfect for cooling a single room, but if you’re using them to cool your whole home it’s simply inefficient and you’ll end up over working the unit reducing its life span and increasing its energy usage.
Those who invest in ducted air-con experience a whole new level of comfort, with their whole house able to be cooled and warmed as needed. You can even get ducted air conditioning that keeps a different temperature in each room. This obviously comes with the energy price tag to boot, however on those hot, hot days, it may be worth it if it’s in your budget.
Pros: Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a staple in most Australian homes, most rooms these days are fitted with a ceiling fan or maybe even two. Ceiling fans often come with a reverse function for winter operation, which allows you to work the fan on reverse pushing all that warm air down, making them quite versatile, no matter the weather.
Ceiling fans are easy to use, require very little maintenance, and cost next to nothing to run, making them the most popular choice to cool you down on a warm summer’s day. For most, sitting under a ceiling fan can make you feel around 5 degrees cooler.
You can operate your ceiling fans 24/7 and be rest assured that you won’t end up with as massive of a power bill as you would doing the same with air conditioners.
Why Not Have Both?
It makes sense, where possible, and if your budget allows to have both ceiling fans and air-cons installed, both options working together can be a great solution when operated effectively. The air conditioner pumps out the cool air, and the ceiling fan pushes the cool air around the room, also circulating the warm air back down to be re-cooled by the air conditioner.
Working them both together will mean you can have the thermostat on the air-con set to a higher temperature, and the ceiling fan can be used to push that air down making you feel cooler. This will help dramatically reduce your energy bills. You can also set the timer for the air conditioner to turn off after a short period of time and let the ceiling fan circulate the cool air overtime.
What's Right for Me?
It’s up to you to decide what cooling option is best for your home. In cooler regions, where high temperatures are not an issue, the need for an air conditioner is redundant. Simply buying a ceiling fan will satisfy all your needs. They won’t break the bank when you purchase them, and they will keep your energy bills down. Those living in areas where the temperature exceeds your comfort level, we would always suggest going for the option of both a ceiling fan and a higher-temperature setting on air-con, if your budget allows it.
Author Bio: Julie Moore is Co-founder & Director of Save Energy, Save Money, Australia’s first energy and price comparison website. With over 10 years’ experience in the corporate world Julie ensures Save Energy Save Money provides you with the energy information you need to make informed decisions. Helping to contribute to a more sustainable Australia.