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Ask an Expert: Cooling with Fans

Updated: Apr 9

Does running a ceiling fan make a room cooler?

Photo of ceiling fan with the words “Ask an Expert”
Do ceiling fans cool the room itself or the occupants?

Q: Does running a ceiling fan make a room cooler?

A: Circulating air with fans doesn't cool a room; it makes people feel cooler by enhancing evaporation from the skin.

Nearly everyone has enjoyed the relief of a cool breeze on a hot, humid day. The air movement created by circulating fans creates that same wind-chill effect, making you feel more comfortable — even in spaces cooled by air conditioning. This can reduce the need for climate control, lowering summer energy bills.

Ceiling fans are particularly effective in circulating air. In some cases, running ceiling fans allows you to raise the thermostat by up to 4°F without a reduction in comfort.

Running fans will actually waste energy if there is no one there to feel the effect. Therefore, it's important to shut off fans in empty rooms.

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