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What's cheaper - multiple fans or AC?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. We have AC, but I am trying to see how low our electric bill can go this month and have not turned it on.

But, we do have multiple fans running - the ceiling fan in the kitchen and two box fans. the box fans generally run 24/7 and the follow us through our apt. so we don't get too hot where we happen to be (bedroom or living room), I turn the ceiling fan off at night when we aren't out there.

My husband mentioned if we kept the AC on a little warmer than we normally would "like" it (yet cooler in the heat of the day than with fans), the cost might be comparible to all the fans we are running.

Anyone have any idea?
post #2 of 13
OHHHHH! I have been wondering the same thing. we have a 1300 sq ft house w/ basement...
anyone have any ideas on this??
We could have central air going on if my dp gets it fixed.
we would generally be running 5 fans....at any given time....their are 9 of us living here so we're spread out over a few rooms....
post #3 of 13
I think you would have to get a very new, very effcient, and probably very expensive AC unit in order for it to be cost effective, energy wise. Your house needs to be well insulated, too, that's just as important. So my gut instinct is to stick with fans, because that equipment is so much cheaper than a new AC unit.

As an aside, my parents live in FL where AC is not optional. When they moved into their house, energy was running about $400 per month. After a new central AC unit, it went to $300. After $40,000 of new wall and ceiling insulation, new windows and doors, new siding and new roof, their energy costs run about $75 per month.
post #4 of 13
It depends on your specific appliances. I did calculations on this about a year ago because, well, I am a nerd. : I figured out how many KWH per hour ceiling fan, oscillating fan, and ac used (I did not, however, factor in whether ac had to work "harder" or not). I found this info online, at different product info sites. Then, I multiplied that number by the KWH price we paid at the time to the electric co. My results at the time were: A/C cost $.50/hr to run, ceiling fan cost $.01 per hour to run, and oscillating fan cost $.005 per hour to run. So, obviously, we try to use fans for the most part. But in TX, it can get so hot that if we don't run the AC when its over 90 or so, I get sick. And a missed work day costs more than running the AC, so...
post #5 of 13
not to mention the reduced impact fans have on the environment...
post #6 of 13
Our box fans cost about $0.02/day to run, the a/c costs SO much more. It's not a very new/efficient unit but we live in an apartment so we couldn't choose it.
We usually have 2 box fans running 24/7 but if we use the a/c the electric bill jumps up $30-50!!! Talk about expensive!
post #7 of 13
Sounds like I need to start running the fans more.
post #8 of 13
Nerd here as well. I figured it out months ago and 4-5 fans were cheaper than an a/c unit (not brand new, but not old either).

We use a big box fan in a window, suck in the cold air at night - it really helps keep the house cool until mid-afternoon.
post #9 of 13
i need to buy some fans. im dying being pregnant in the georgia heat, lolwe have 3 ceiling fans that i keep on almost all the time, and i try to only run the ac at night, but i turn it on for a while in the day when the temp in the house gets over 80* we had a ton before we moved, but they were all 220V so they wouldnt have done us any good here, lol
post #10 of 13
The fans are definitely cheaper than the AC. I open the windows and doors at our house and cut on the box fan for circulation until it gets really hot in late afternoon. Then we'll cut the AC on to cool the house but we leave the box fan going so we don't have to turn the AC up as high. It saves a lot of money on the electric bill.
post #11 of 13
dang! you guys have inspired me! i'll have to remember these numbers.

post #12 of 13
We put in a new central furnace/AC about three years ago (I was pregnant with DD).

Our electric bills in the summer dropped by around $40/month!

We had previously been using window AC units combined with fans and they were apparently energy hogs.

We can run the central AC all summer long and we spend less than we did with other cooling methods.

Now I doubt the same results are seen with window units because we had previously been using them.
post #13 of 13
On the box from the ceiling fan DH installed last weekend it said that ceiling fans reduce heating costs by 40% and cooling costs by 10%. No idea how they calculated that, but thought it was interesting. Not sure it holds true for regular fans b/c you can't reverse the direction on those...
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