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Ceiling fans can help you feel cool while saving money

Consumer Investigator, Lauren Verno separates fact and fiction when it comes to your ceiling fan.

The official start of summer was Sunday but we’ve been dealing with higher temperatures for a while now – along with higher electric bills.

Consumer Reports says the right ceiling fan can help cool you off and reduce what you owe to the power company. While fans don’t actually lower the temperature in a room, they cool you off by creating a draft that moves air over your skin.

The best part is that ceiling fans cost very little to run and, when used with your air conditioner, you can actually raise the thermostat by about 4 degrees and feel just as cool.

MORE: Consumer Reports guide to ceiling fans | Best setting for your central air conditioning

Fan size

  • The most popular fan size is 52 inches, which are best for large rooms, from 225 to 400 square feet
  • A fan that’s 42 to 44 inches is effective in rooms from 144 to 225 square feet

Consumer Reports says if your room is borderline in size, opt for the larger fan and simply run it at a lower speed.

And keep this in mind too: Fans with the Energy Star label are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units.

Fan installation/care

When it’s time to install, if you’re replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, check to ensure the electric box can support the weight.

To optimize the power of your fan, Consumer Reports appliance expert Paul Hope says to place it at the perfect height.

“Hang your fan high - they work best when the blades are 7 to 9 feet above the floor and from 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. If your ceiling is really high, use a down rod to bring it to the right height,” Hope explained.

Your fan is going to gather dust and even pollen. To keep it clean, Consumer Reports says to lay a sheet beneath the fan, to protect furniture and floors. Wipe the blades and housing gently with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

And remember, since fans cool people and not rooms, always turn them off when you leave.

For additional savings, choose an LED or CFL light intended for ceiling fans. They will last longer, use less energy and save you money. Consumer Reports says LEDs are more efficient than CFLs, and CFLs are more efficient than halogen lightbulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the least efficient of all and are being phased out.