When the air conditioner was invented in 1902, it rapidly rose in popularity to the point where nowadays, it’s present in almost every home. In the latter part of the 19th century however, fans (ceiling fans in particular) were the devices used to provide comfort in buildings. This changed with the advent of ACs. Today, fans are still used to provide cooling in homes, mainly because they don’t consume as much energy as air conditioners.
ACs are Expensive
Even the most efficient, latest models of ACs consume much energy when compared to other home appliances. This rises during the cooling season, when as much as a quarter of the energy bill goes towards the air conditioner. An average residence can consume close to 3000 KWh of electricity in running air conditioners each year.
Fans or A/C- A Revelation in Statistics
Nationally, a kilowatt-hour of electricity averages at 12 cents. A window AC running for 12 hours per day consumes about 335 kilowatt-hours each month, translating to around $40 in operational costs. A 2.5 ton residential AC consuming about 1300 KWh would cost about $150.
In comparison, a mid-size ceiling fan set on high for the same amount of time would cost about a penny each hour, which translates to about $3.50 each month. A fan operating at a higher rpm would cost about one dollar more. In most homes, the cost of powering a fan can be offset by replacing incandescent bulbs with their fluorescent counterparts.
Cooling VS Circulation
Up to a certain point, it isn’t really necessary to run an AC compressor for the house to be comfortable. This can instead be done using a fan. The effect of more circulation of air on a hot day is based on a similar principle as a chill factor on a chilly winter day. Fans supplement the action of both evaporation and convection to produce a cooling effect. A draught dissipates heat produced by metabolism then convents it away from the human body. In the meantime, the evaporative effect (perspiration) cools and dries the skin.
A Combinational Approach
In most modern houses, fans and ACs are used alongside each other to conserve energy and provide comfort. Though a ceiling fan doesn’t lower room temperature, the perception of a cooling effect for the occupants is raised. A room which feels cooler allows one to slightly nudge the thermostat to a higher setting. This goes a long way in reducing energy consumption. However, the fan needs to be turned off when the room isn’t occupied.