Install a ceiling fan
By increasing air circulation, a ceiling fan makes you feel cooler and uses 98 percent less energy than an air conditioner.
Installing a ceiling fan can lower your cooling (and even air conditioners, and don't require harmful chemicals like CFCs and HCFCs, you can practice guilt-free cooling in your home or office.
How to install a ceiling fan
Installing a ceiling fan will require some mechanical and electrical know-how, and is generally classified as an intermediate do-it-yourself project. Follow these steps to get started:
- Choose a room: If you're installing only one ceiling fan, you'll want to be strategic about where you put it. Choose a room in which you can install it at least 12 inches from the ceiling and 7 feet from the floor, placed in the middle of the room. If your ceiling does not allow these minimum clearance requirements, you may need to look for a low-profile or hugger ceiling fan.
- Select a fan: When choosing which fan is right for you, consider:
Find how-to help online: For extensive instructions on installing a ceiling fan, check out one of these handy how-to guides online: Do It Yourself.com's Installing a Ceiling Fan, eHow's How to Install a Ceiling Fan, or Lowe's Installing a Ceiling Fan.
- You'll want one that's both energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you want an ultra-modern design or something more classic, look for an ENERGY STAR model. These wind-generators move at least 20 percent more air while consuming 50 percent less energy than typical fans.
- Check ENERGY STAR's guide to choosing the right-sized fan and the appropriate mounting system.
- Look for quality components. In particular, choose die-cast (rather than stamped) motor housings, motors with sealed bearings (rather than oil baths, which require more maintenance), precision engineering bearings, blades that are weighed and balanced prior to shipment, shock-absorbent internal components, and heavy-duty windings.
- If your room has sufficient light, choose a fan without a light fixture; otherwise, look for one that will provide illumination as well as air movement. If you need one with a light, be sure to choose a model that accepts CFL light bulbs to save additional energy and money. Even better, choose an ENERGY STAR-qualified lighted-ceiling fan.
- Watch for other convenience features that might be useful to you. For instance, you may want a fan with remote or wall controls. Just make sure the wall control will operate all components of the fan (light, speed, direction, etc.) separately. Programmable controls are another good option, allowing you to set the fan to automatically adjust speed as the temperature drops or rises.
- The pitch of the blade will contribute to how much air your fan moves. The higher the pitch, the more cubic feet per minute of air it will move. However, it's more important to choose a quality motor than higher-pitched blades.
- If you choose to mount a ceiling fan in the bathroom, you'll have to find one that has been listed with a "damp" rating; if it's going outside, it'll need a "wet" rating.
Find it! Ceiling fans
Installing a ceiling fan helps you go green because
- They require less energy than air conditioners.
- Harmful ozone-depleting chemicals like CFCs and HCFCs are not required to run a ceiling fan.
Fans can provide efficient, supplemental cooling to most buildings, offering energy savings (compared to using only air conditioning) close to 60 percent on milder days.
Using fans allows both renters and homeowners to raise the thermostat temperature by 4°F with no reduction in comfort, which saves energy and money.
- chlorofluorocarbon (CFC): A haloalkane compound containing chlorine, primarily used as a refrigerant. When this gaseous compound reaches the stratosphere, UV light liberates the chlorine from the molecule and it is then capable of breaking down up to 100,000 ozone molecules (O3) into O + O2. Freon is a trademarked term referring to CFCs used in refrigeration and cooling systems.
- hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC): A similar haloalkane compound where not all the hydrogen atoms are replaced by a halogen atom. These are typically used to substitute for CFCs, as the ozone-depleting capacity of these compounds is 10 percent less than that of CFCs.
- ozone layer: Part of the earth's atmosphere, the ozone layer contains relatively high concentrations of ozone (O3). Ozone acts like a blanket that protects the earth from damaging UV radiation, which has been linked to cancer.
- ENERGY STAR - Ceiling Fans
- About.com - Saving Energy
- US Department of Energy - Ceiling Fans and Other Circulating Fans
- Alliance to Save Energy - No-Cost Low-Cost Tips for Saving Money & Energy
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Ozone Depleting Substances
- ScienceDaily - Ozone layer
- US Environmental Protection Agency - What You Should Know about Refrigerants When Purchasing or Repairing a Residential A/C System or Heat Pump (see bottom of page)
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