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How Much Electricity Does a Fan Use

How much electricity does a fan use

The energy usage for running an air conditioner can be very high, but depending on where you live, it may be a necessity.  Some people wonder if it is cheaper to use a fan instead? 

Of course, the price of what you pay depends on the electricity used.  How much electricity does a fan use?  They all use different wattage, but the most common is the ceiling fan and it uses 15 to 90 watts per hour. While an HVAC uses 500 to 1400 watts per hour or 3000 to 5000 watts per day, depending on how long it runs. 

The fans can be big savings on your electric bill!  However, you also need to use the fans correctly and having fans that are energy efficient is important. 

In the warmer months, you may need to stick with the central air conditioning just so everyone is comfortable. Once the temperature and humidity drop, however, it may be a good time to switch to a fan or use a combination of both! 

Let’s take a look at why energy efficient is important for your electric bill, and the different types of energy efficient fans and their watts used. This will help you figure out the electricity usage and what fan works best for you and the climate in which you live.

Why Choose Energy Efficient Fans

Energy efficient fans will lower your electric bill as they are constructed with savings in mind.  However, they do cost a little more upfront but you will see the savings over time. 

These types of fans often have blade designs, motors, and LED/CFL lighting that keeps the energy usage down. There are different types of these fans, depending on what you like and also where you live.

Types of Energy Efficient Fans

Ceiling fan
Ceiling fan

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans come in all shapes and sizes and fit various rooms.  However, the size of the blades on the fan makes a difference in the amount of electricity used.  These types of fans are made to cool off people, not rooms. 

In hotter months, it may be necessary to also run the HVAC unit along with the fan.  The good news is that running the two together will allow you to save money as you can probably leave the temperature on the air conditioner 4 degrees higher than you could without the fan.  They should be installed in every room that needs cooling.

Size of Ceiling Fan Matters for Electricity Usage

Fans that are 36 or 44-inches will cool the smaller rooms, while the 53 inch is better for larger rooms.  Also, a larger blade can provide better cooling in a room at a lower velocity than a smaller blade. Make sure the fan fits in the room and it doesn’t take over the room, as this won’t be very appealing.

Quieter Fans and Energy Efficiency

Quieter fans that don’t make noise when on will be better than ones that are cheap and loud.  Think about the people who will be in those rooms with the fan and what will make them happy.

A fan that has the Energy Star rating will rotate and move air 20% more efficiently than those that don’t.  It is also 60% more energy efficient if it is Energy Star rated than those that are not and consumes less energy.

A ceiling fan with lights can also increase the wattage usage.  However, using LEDs instead of standard light bulbs can help in that area.

Warmer and Cooler Months and Direction of the Blades

In the warmer months, the ceiling fan should go in a counterclockwise direction to make it cooler in the room.  This will allow the air to blow straight down and possibly allow you to keep your central a/c unit 4 degrees higher as mentioned above! 

Then switch it to clockwise for the winter months as this will allow it to push the warm air that comes from the ceiling, back to the floor. This is also a good time to make sure there are no drafts in the home so you are not losing the warm air to the outside and no cold air is coming in.

Depending on the model of your fan, you can change the direction by a remote, an app, a switch, or a chord that is on the base.

Of course, there are disadvantages to ceiling fans:

  1. They only cool the person in the room where the fan is and not the actual room or other places in the home.
  2. Running the fan when no one is in that room wastes electricity.  It is necessary to follow up with family members about the importance of turning it off when not in the room.

Calculating the Electricity Usage of a Ceiling Fan

If you have a new fan, it will say on the box how many watts the fan uses. But, if the fan is already installed on the ceiling, you will need to safely climb up a ladder to read on the base the wattage. You can also consult an owner’s manual, or research the manufacturer and model online (thank goodness for the internet!)

Another way to see if you are saving money is to take a look at your electric bill.

  1. Take the total amount of the electricity bill and divide it by the kilowatts used. This will give you the amount you pay per kilowatt for electricity.
  2.  Now you will be able to take a look at where in your home you are wasting electricity.
  3. Watch the bill to see if using energy efficient fans over the next few months as mentioned above is lowering your electric bill (and it should be!).
  4. If you think it is not lowering your bill, it may not be your fans after all and you may want to contact a professional to see what else in the home is using a lot of energy.

You can also follow the steps above for any type of fan you might purchase, including those listed below.

Whole House Fan and Electricity Usage

These fans are larger, 120 to 600 watts depending on the size of the fans motor, and provide relief to the whole house instead of just a room.  They cool down the house and provide ventilation for the attic.  Just like ceiling fans, they use less wattage than central A/C.

However, there are a few disadvantages to take into consideration:

  1. Noisier than an A/C unit
  2. If not properly ventilated, they can bring in carbon monoxide and other toxins to the home
  3. Need vent covers in the winter
  4. Professional installation is necessary so it is not a DIY project
  5. If you live in a hotter or humid climate, it might not be a good idea

Window Fan and Electricity Usage

Window fans use 35 to 100 watts of electricity and is set up in a window.  They bring in the fresh air from the outside to cool down the home and are easy to install.  Additionally, many fans can be used in a home to keep it cool.  However, there are disadvantages:

  1. The area surrounding the window fan must be blocked so it is efficient
  2. Multiple fans are necessary for a home and they are noisy
Tower fan
Tower fan

Tower Fan and Electricity Usage

This type of fan uses 48 to 100 watts of electricity to run, depending on the speed of the fan. Placement can be in any room in the home, they circulate the air already in the home around the house, and are affordable. 

However, there are disadvantages:

  1. Takes up floor space
  2. Can trap the dust and dander that is in the home
Smart fan
Smart fan controlled by phone

Smart Fans

Of course, we can’t forget that we are in a technology age and there are Smart fans as well.  Fan speed can be adjusted and can turn off when reaching optimal temperatures.

They are high energy efficient and you can program them for what you need from your phone.  You can also connect this type of fan to the smart devices you use in your home already.

Disadvantages of Smart Fans

  1. Cost more than ceiling fans
  2. Need to understand how to link apps to get the settings you want


If you can find energy efficient fans that work for your home, you will save money. Often, you may need to combine the fan with the central a/c in the warmer months, but you should see a drop in your electric bill and electricity usage.

Do you have questions about energy efficiency in the home, or fans and the watts used? Reply below so we can hear what is on your mind and also if you have other information or hacks you have found, let us know!

The Rivertown Team

Author The Rivertown Team

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