Using a fan to cool your home is energy efficient and you can enhance the effect of air conditioning with the use of fans. When choosing fans or A/C, always check for efficiency ratings.
With summer here, you may think its time to turn up the air conditioner. Or is it? We love our air conditioning. A comfortable temperature is essential for every home.
If your home is too hot in the summer and your cooling bills are out of control, you probably need an air conditioner or fan. For some it is not even a luxury anymore to have air conditioning, it is required in homes, offices and even your car.
What’s more effective at cooling indoor living spaces? A whole house air conditioner? A room air conditioner or an electric stand fan or window fan? Lowes has the perfect choice for fans or air conditioners.
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Window Air Conditioner
Perfect for cooling smaller rooms, and today there are many energy-efficient models. Air conditioners now have many features to make them even more convenient. Portable air conditioners can also allow you to turn down your central A/C unit and only cool the room you’re using to save you money and energy cost.
Average cost is around $179 for a 5000 BTU window air conditioner. Always look for the ENERGY STAR label.
Top Pick: Frigidaire 6,000-BTU 250-sq ft 115-Volt Window Air Conditioner. Item 530382. $189.
Central Air Conditioner Units
Whether you’re a new homeowner or looking to make an upgrade, a new central air conditioner is an investment and requires a lot of research. Central AC units are manufactured in very specific sizes ranging from 1.5 – 5 tons of cooling capacity. central air for a 2,000-square-foot home costs $2,500 to $4,000. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the 1990’s.
Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older AC systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. The minimum SEER rating allowed today is 13. Also look for the ENERGY STAR label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 13 or greater.
Lowes Portable Fans.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Window fans, tower fans, oscillating fans, stand fans and box fans. This is the least expensive way to cool your home. With many models costing less than 2 cents per hour to run, Lowes fans provide high-performance air flow for a great value. Fans also feature quiet speeds, easy-carry handles, and no-tools-required assembly. The room temperature will not drop like air conditioning however.
A summer fan basically keeps moving the air around so it feels somewhat cooler. On days when the temperature is only in the lower 80’s, fans are a great way to cool off your home. Its when the temperature gets warmer is when fans lose their appeal. Most fans will cost between $15 and $45.
Top Pick Portable Fan: Utilitech 20-in 3-Speed High Velocity Fan. Item 416724. $44.98
Top Pick Box Fan: Lasko 20-in 3-Speed Box Fan Fan. Item 95021. $16.96
Top Pick Oscillating Fan: Lasko 18-in 3-Speed Oscillation Stand Fan. Item 333651. $32.88
Top Pick Window Fan: Pelonis 9-in 3-Speed Window Fan. Item 667618 $44.98
While some people choose to use a fan to keep spaces cool and well-ventilated, others can’t live without air conditioning. So what should you choose? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. An AC cools indoor spaces by changing the temperature. Air conditioners basically turn hot air into cold air. They transform the air in the house. Whether you choose a free standing option or you choose to install a window version, an AC unit will certainly get the job done.
Fans are different. They don’t necessarily cool the room. They’re primary function is to get the air moving and reduce room stuffiness. Use fans to draw cool evening and morning air into a home and hot air out. They’re easy to move around the room too, so you can set it up virtually anywhere. A fan simply moves the air. Below we compare the cost of operating air conditioners and fans to help you determine which you prefer.
How much does it cost to run a fan or air conditioner?
- a window AC unit runs on 1.2 kilowatts and costs 16 cents an hour
- a central air unit, runs on about 3 kilowatts and costs about 38 cents an hour
- a ceiling fan or stand fan. Use only about 30 watts and cost about 2 cents per hour
Here are other inexpensive, effective cooling tips:
– Set the thermostat a few degrees higher. For each degree upward, you save 2% to 3% on energy costs. Try setting at 74 or even 76 degrees. A lower setting just makes it run longer and use more energy.
– Shade. On summer days, its tempting to open up the blinds and let the sun shine in. Sunlight, especially coming from a window facing south or west, turns a room into a greenhouse and traps heat inside. A darker room will stay cooler.
– Turn Off Lights. Incandescent lights creates heat. Turn off lights when they’re not in use. Better yet, replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s), which use 75% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs.
– Cook Out. Fire up the grill. Also try salads and sandwiches.
– Using Appliances. Run clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers during the cooler evening or morning hours.
Keeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn’t just about comfort. High temperatures can result in illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with an illness, as they may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
During summer, you sweat more, and you have to replenish the water in your body. Drink a nice cold glass of water, and keep a bottle with you always. Put a wet washcloth in the refrigerator so you can chill your face with a cold towel when temperatures start to rise. A cold washcloth around the back of your neck can also be soothing after a stressful day in the summer heat. Avoid soda and coffee. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
If you don’t have central air, turn on a fan to distribute cooler air throughout the house and set a fan near a window. If its hotter inside then outside, face the fan towards to window, blowing the air outside. Used properly, ceiling fans have a cooling effect, too. Set the fan on reverse, so it looks like it’s moving counterclockwise as you are standing under it. Ceiling fans move cool air around, which helps make air conditioning more efficient and creates a cooler home.
Have a great summer!
By Victoria Stone