Different types of fans serve different functions, but they can all help reduce your energy bills and keep the air in your home feeling fresh and comfortable.
There’s more to heating and cooling your home than setting the thermostat. Well-placed fans can work with (or in place of) your furnace and air conditioner to move air and maintain a comfortable room temperature. Find the right fan for your home.
Although a ceiling fan doesn’t actually lower the temperature in a room, it does generate a breeze that makes you feel cooler. And that means you don’t have to use as much air conditioning in the summer. Use ceiling fans in the winter to help save energy, too. Put the fan on a low speed and set the reversing switch for upward airflow. This pushes naturally rising warm air from the ceiling back down into the room.
Window fans cool your home by pulling cool, outside air in or pushing hot air out, depending on which way the fans are facing. Fans work best in windows that face the prevailing wind or are directly opposite. A reversible fan let you adjust to changes in the wind direction without having to turn the fan around. By placing two fans — one blowing in, one blowing out — in windows on opposite sides of a room, you can create cross-ventilation that moves air and makes you feel cooler. You can apply the same technique between levels in a two-story home: Direct fans to blow air out through upper-level windows while fans in lower-level windows pull cool air in. You’ll need to try different setups to see which ones produce the best airflow.
Where it’s not possible or practical to put fans in windows, portable fans placed on the floor near windows or doorways can help circulate air within a room or between rooms. These include box fans, stand fans, and desk fans. Fans with features such as multiple speeds, adjustable heights, and oscillation provide flexibility in directing airflow.
The tower fan's cylindrical air-moving mechanism saves space, and provides just as much air flow as other fans. These fans also offer remote control, variable speeds and oscillation options.
Misting fans combine airflow with moisture for a complete cooling experience. Indoor/outdoor, stationary and handheld battery-operated models are available.
High velocity fans are larger than average fans, in order to cover large areas with ease. Air movers refer to a specific group of fans for heavy-duty air circulation and fast drying. Usually, these are for industrial or commercial use where rapid drying is required.
If your home has an unfinished attic, it gets really hot up there in the summer. Roof vents allow some of this hot air to escape, and good insulation keeps the heat from seeping down into your home’s living areas. But an attic fan can move even more hot air out of your attic.
Attic fans are designed to draw cooler outside air in through vents in the soffits or gables and push hot air outside. Most are hard-wired, but solar-powered models are available, too. Many attic fans are equipped with thermostats, so they turn on and off automatically according to the attic temperature.
If you’re really serious about using fans to reduce your cooling costs, consider installing a whole-house fan. It works on the same principle as an attic fan, but is a much more powerful unit that pulls cool air in from open windows throughout the home and pushes hot air out through vents in the attic and roof. Normally mounted on the highest ceiling in the home, a whole-house fan can often replace air conditioning for much or all of the cooling season in moderate climates. A whole-house fan is most effective in the evening and early morning hours when outside air is coolest.
In addition to fans that move air throughout your home, more targeted fans remove odors and moisture from smaller areas. In the kitchen, an exhaust fan or hood in the cooking area gets rid of smoke and grease. In the bath, an exhaust fan removes moist air generated by bathing and showering.
Make sure your bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan is the proper size and air moving capacity needed for your room.