Homeowners who find their thermostat readout inching up in the winter and down in the summer—along with an increase in their monthly heating or cooling bill—should consider how ceiling fans can help. It’s easy to say that you’ll limit adjusting your thermostat when you’re not actually feeling the effects of a particularly hot or cold season. But when your teeth are chattering or you’re wiping sweat off your brow, it’s all too tempting to reach for the dial. How exactly can you maximize airflow and energy efficiency in your home with a ceiling fan?
Ceiling fans create a draft in the room by circulating otherwise still air for a wind chill effect. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can raise their thermostat by approximately four degrees without losing out on any comfort if they run a ceiling fan in the summer. In some climates, a well-placed fan provides enough cooling power to replace the air conditioning system. Many homeowners run their fans clockwise during winter to help reduce air temperature stratification. Installing an energy-efficient fan in each room is a fantastic way to optimize air flow and temperature throughout the entire house. You’ll want to look for the ENERGY STAR® label which indicates an average 20 percent increase in efficiency over standard models.
Blade pitch, length, and balance all affect a fan’s performance. Shallower 10-degree pitches move less air, while pitches of 12 or 14 degrees tend to move more, per Energy Star. Many people believe that blade count is the ultimate determining factor in airflow, but that’s simply not true. The number of blades primarily impacts the look of an overhead fixture. Read on to learn more about three common ceiling fan configurations so you can choose the model that looks and feels right for your home.
Three-bladed fans tend to bring a dash of retro fun to any room they inhabit. The off-kilter number of blades makes for an interesting visual concept, and may provide a welcome dash of minimalism to a busy room. Bonus: When it comes time to dust, wash and dry off the top of every fan blade in the house, you may thank yourself for the reduced number of surfaces. Consumer Reports recommends cleaning every fan in your home at least once per season, lest the spinning blades distribute dust around the home or lose their aerodynamic advantage.
Four-blade fans have an undeniable symmetry and balance to them. That’s likely why tried-and-true models like the Classic Original ceiling fan from Hunter Fans continue to stand the test of time in terms of efficient performance and traditional design concepts. Hunter Fans fuses tradition with the best of modern ceiling fan technology, like wobble-free AVT, the quick installation of EZ Hang, and Whisperwind motors for quiet rotation.
While the primary difference between a four-blade and five-blade fan lays in the appearance, more blades tends to equal more drag on the appliance’s motor. If you do choose a stately five-blade fan, you’ll want to make sure the motor is up to the task of combatting this extra drag. Five-blade ceiling fans tend to look at home in larger or more traditionally-styled spaces. Architectural Digest demonstrates a few refined ways to incorporate five-blade fans, including on a large back porch.
It’s ultimately up to you to choose the best blade count for your home based on the style and the specifications. Since it’s a wise idea to have a fan in every common room in your house, you have some freedom to mix and match as you see fit.