Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Fan of All Seasons

In my readings I came across this article about ceiling fans which reminds me sometimes the best solutions are low-tech solutions. Ceiling fans are a great way to both save on energy costs and effective in circulating both hot and cold air around a room. Not just limited to the dusty long-bladed fans you see in deep South movie gas stations, ceiling fans are now a designer item, with fans to fit every decor, ceiling height and room size.

Obviously you get energy savings by using a ceiling fan instead of a room or central air conditioning unit, but did you know you can also use a ceiling fan to more effectively heat or cool a room while using a central heating or cooling unit?

That's right. By using a ceiling fan to circulate air, you also mix the air temperatures and even the temperatures out both vertically and horizontally. So a ceiling fan used properly (ie, you have to reverse the direction or change the fan blade angles) can be the difference between huddling near a heating vent and being comfortable anywhere in a room. And your energy bill comes down because you don't have to jack up (or down) the thermostat to reach every corner in the room.

For us city dwellers, the reality is that in pre-war buildings there is often no wiring in the ceilings for overhead lights, which is a prerequisite for ceiling fans. I'd encourage coop and condo owners considering making this upgrade to do so as it would have a double effect:  a more comfortable home AND a positive effect on home value (if I had a nickel for every prospective tenant or buyer who walked into a prewar and said "there's no overhead light in this room ?!?").  I include my own art deco era living room here (although, NYC newbies, I've managed for 12 years with torchiere floor lamps). The high ceilings were just made for them.  Don't like 'em?  Spring for the overhead wiring. No one ever said living in New York was easy (and if you can make it here....)

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