Are you looking to save money on your electricity bills? Wondering the most economical way to keep your home cool? How much electricity does a fan use? Compared to air conditioning units, do fans use a lot of electricity?
We explore all of this and more in this article, answering your questions about the power consumption of fans of all different varieties. We’ve also included some very useful tips about saving money, and comparisons of fans versus other appliances in terms of energy consumption.
Why is it Knowing How Much Electricity A Fan Uses Important?
Ultimately, fans aren’t the only way you can cool your home. The money you spend on cooling is an investment in your comfort and even your health. If you could be spending the same amount on an air conditioner but getting better results then it would make sense to switch.
It is estimated that more than half of the energy used in the USA is wasted. This is an incredible statistic. Knowing how much energy you are using when you turn a fan on or leave it on overnight can help you to establish how much it is costing you and the environment.
How Much Electricity is Being Used
There are certain ways to work out how much electricity an appliance is using. These will be rough estimations. These figures should be enough to make the right call on when to use fans and how many, or whether there are alternatives using less electricity.
Now, for the maths.
To work out exactly how much you will be spending on a fan, you need to know:
- What is the cost of your electricity. This is on average $0.13/kWh, though it varies by state
- The wattage of the fan in question. Wattage is the only power measurement needed. (This is simply the power measured in Volts x Amps).
- The length of time you are using the fan for, in hours. It is usually easiest to work out a ‘per hour’ rate.
How to Work Out The Electricity Usage
Firstly, multiply the wattage of the fan by the hours of use. We’re going to work out how a ‘per hour’ figure, so we’re effectively multiplying by one.
An 80W fan will use 80 watts in an hour. We then multiply this by the electricity rate. Assuming it is $0.13/kWh, the national average in the USA:
Calculating 80(wattage) x 0.13 (kWh) = 10.4
Then dividing the result (10.4) by 1,000 = $0.0104
This means an 80-watt fan is using just over $0.01 or 1 cent per hour to run.
If you want to extrapolate this to work out a monthly figure, you then need to multiply the hourly rate of $0.01 by the hours of use per day.
In the summer months, fan manufacturers such as Lasko estimate 8-12 hours a day of use. We’ve gone with 12 to make our calculations.
So, 12 hours at $0.01 means $0.12 per day.
Over a month of 30 days, this particular fan would cost $3.60 to run.
You don’t have to follow these steps to come up with the calculation. There is an energy appliance calculator which can be found here, and as long as you know the wattage of your fan and what you pay for electricity, it can do the sums for you.
The helpful video below can also walk you through the process of calculating.
EnergyStar in Fans
EnergyStar is a system whereby fans and other appliances can be certified with the EnergyStar badge due to being energy efficient. The program is run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and designed to encourage people to upgrade old or inefficient appliances.
The criteria they set out means that in order to display the EnergyStar badge, the appliance must have above average performance economically. If you don’t want to do the sums, you can rely on this badge to know you are getting good performance when buying a fan.
An example of an EnergyStar fan is the Emerson CF765WW Loft Modern Indoor/Outdoor Ceiling Fan. This fan runs at 79 watts and meets the criteria for EnergyStar rating. It also makes the most of the energy consumption by using large blades to move more air.
How Much Electricity Do Different Types of Fan Use?
It makes perfect sense that different types of fans use different amounts of energy. Though the style of fan doesn’t directly impact the consumption, and the wattage is far more important, wattage tends to go hand-in-hand with types of fans. Some styles tend to be lower in their wattage than others.
Box fans are an extremely simple design of fan. They tend to just consist of a spinning blade inside a simple plastic casing. They’re often not huge and can be used in the window to extract hot air as explained in the video below.
How much electricity does a box fan use?
Box fan power consumption tends to be pretty low. Take the Hurricane Classic Box Fan, one of the options in this list of box fan reviews, it uses just 55 Watts. Based on our calculations, this means that it costs far less than $0.01 per hour to run, making it extremely economical.
Running that calculation again means:
Calculating 55 (wattage) x 0.13 (kWh) = 7.15
Then dividing the result (7.15) by 1,000 = $0.00715
This means a box fan is using $0.007 per hour (just above a half a cent) to run.
So you could run the fan 12 hours a day and it would cost just $0.08 or 8 cents per day. Per month, this works out at around $2.50.
Tower fans stand independently and have a tall yet narrow design, hence their name. Tower fans can save on space, and are popular due to the fact they can usually rotate and cool a larger space than box fans. Also, they tend to have more features such as timers.
How much electricity does a tower fan use?
Tower fans tend to cost a little bit more to run than box fans. Box fans will usually be in the 40-60W range, while tower fans are around 80-100W. If you’re wondering “do high velocity fans use more electricity?” then the answer is yes, as proved by these types of higher-wattage fans.
This means that when you run the numbers, your tower fan will probably cost $0.01-$0.02 per hour to run, depending on your electricity costs per kWh.
An conservative estimate cost per month is around $6-8 to run an 80W-100W fan for 12 hours a day.
Ceiling fans are very useful if you have one installed in your house. They are usually pretty effective and can shift a lot of air. However, adding one if you don’t already have one installed can be a big investment.
How much electricity does a ceiling fan use?
Ceiling fans tend to use a similar level of electricity as a tower fan. 100W would be a reasonable estimation, but obviously this varies depending on the model you own.
This will mean around $0.02 to run per hour, depending on electricity costs.
This works out at $7-8 per month, if used for 12 hours a day.
As you can see, there are a lot of variables, so giving one specific answer for an exact price to run your fan is impossible.
Image credit: blesserhouse.com
Other Types of Fans
Though we’ve focused on these three types of fan, you may also be wondering how much electricity other types of fan use, such as desk fans, for instance.
The design may change, but the calculation still stays the same. As long as you know the wattage, you can calculate the electricity usage.
The Importance of Time
As you can see, time is the key to all of the equations when working out the electricity used. The wattage is measured per hour, as is the kWh electricity cost (explained in the video below).
If you can minimize the time a fan is running for, you minimize the electricity used. For instance, if you want a fan on while you fall asleep, and then leave it on all night, even once the air has cooled down, you are using electricity you may not need.
A timer function is a brilliant way to combat this. Some fans allow you to set a ‘sleep timer’. If you know you are going to bed, you can tell it to turn off in 60 minutes, when you will be fast asleep.
This feature won’t be available on fans such as small box fans, but we live in the age of technology!
You can use a plug timer. This is a device which will stop the power coming out of the plug socket at a time you say. This means that it will stop using electricity past a certain time. You can even use these to turn the electricity back on in the morning, and wake up to a lovely cool room.
An example of one of these timers can be found here.
Fans Vs Other Appliances
To give a little bit of context on the power usage of fans, it is worth considering other appliances.
This article provides some estimations on what it costs to run certain appliances. As you can see, the consumption correlates to the wattage of the appliance.
Not many appliances in the home consume as little power as a fan.
Consider a space heater which will use roughly 1,500 watts per hour. You could run 30 fans using 50 watts for the same power consumption!
A more helpful comparison may be to an air conditioning unit.
A central air conditioner can use 10-15,000 watts. As you can see, a fan will use a minute fraction of this.
A 10,000 watt AC running 12 hours a day at full capacity would cost up to $468 a month to run! You probably won’t run it at full capacity, so it may not use the full wattage. Even if it uses 1/3rd of this, it is still around $150 per month.
Compare this to fans costing between $2 and $8 a month to run, and you can see where the saving comes in.
If you can survive with fans as an alternative, you can make a huge saving on electricity usage.
So, How Much Electricity Does a Fan Use?
Fans are among the most efficient small appliances you can add to your home. You can save even more money by using a product such as the BN-Link 24 hour Plug-in Timer to control your electricity.
Ultimately, fans can be a brilliant way to cool your home without spending lots of money, especially if you use them to their maximum potential.
Has this article answered the question of how much electricity does a fan use?
Do you have any questions about using fans efficiently and the electricity your fan uses? Feel free to leave us a comment below!
If you want to learn how to save electricity around your house, check out this 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill post.