Updated: July 19th 2022
Keep things moving
Generally speaking, fans, whether referring to furnace blowers or ceiling fans, keep air moving in the house. When air is stagnant or still, that’s known as stratification, and it doesn’t make for a very comfortable home. Fans keep the air from stratifying by pulling lighter, warmer air up and pushing cooler, heavier air down.
During the summer in Central Iowa, the upstairs of your home is going to be warmer than the main level and the basement will be cooler still. If you keep the thermostat fan function set to “ON”, the fan on your HVAC unit will run continuously, which helps regulate indoor temperature and humidity levels by keeping the air moving inside the home. This will hopefully help limit those temperature extremes on each level.
Evaporate discomfort with fans
It’s important to remember fans can’t lower the temperature of the air, so we view ceiling fans as a supplement to your air conditioning system rather than a standalone method of cooling.
Fans can help a person feel cooler, though, because moving air accelerates the rate at which perspiration evaporates from your skin. Your body naturally has moisture on your skin to keep you cool. If you have air blowing across you, you have evaporation — evaporation, in turn, helps you feel cooler even at higher temperatures.
When shopping for a fan for your home, look for fans with bigger blades — these will give you a gentler air movement and they will be quieter than fans with smaller blades. Fans with large blades can also run at a lower speed, which will require less energy. Ceiling fans don’t cost much to run, especially on low speeds. Just turn them on and let them run.
Run fan the correct way in summer and winter
A general rule of thumb is to run fans counter-clockwise during the summer at a higher speed and clockwise during the winter at a lower speed. The counter-clockwise motion forces cool air down, creating a wind-chill effect that will make you feel cooler. The clockwise movement pulls cool air up and pushes warm air down.