A Simple Guide For A Fan’s Energy Usage
Does your living space feel like an oven on hot days? Do you have no choice but to crank up your air conditioning system to get some relief? If that’s the case, your power consumption inevitably rises, along with the temperature.
However, there are ways to control your electricity costs without wilting in the heat. Using a fan is one of them. Cooling a room with a fan instead of an air conditioner is an energy-efficient way to deal with those sultry days and nights. This leads us to the question of how much electricity does a fan use? Let’s dig into the cost-effectivity of running a fan instead of relying solely on your central air conditioner to keep cool.
Fan Energy Consumption
Different types of fans exist in the market—ceiling fans, tower fans, box fans, and so on. The power consumption of each type varies, but generally, it takes around $0.0013 per hour to $0.0132 per hour to run a fan. So even if you use one for 24 hours, you’ll only pay approximately $0.32 a day. This amount is way cheaper compared to air conditioners, which cost between $0.06 and $0.88 an hour.
How much electricity a fan uses depends on several factors. Let’s look into the essential ones.
The fan wattage for each type of fan varies. Box fans have wattages ranging between 73 to 220 watts. Meanwhile, ceiling fans can have power ratings of 55 to 100 watts for the larger models. These fans have the lowest operating wattage.
Table or standing fans come next. Their fan wattage ranges between 42 and 110 watts. They are followed by tower fans with wattages of about 56-110 watts. A box fan has the highest fan wattage. It ranges between 73 and 220 watts. However, a box fan typically moves more air than a table or tower fan.
The most common fan wattage is 33 watts. The fan’s running costs depend on its wattage, so the higher the fan’s wattage rating, the more impact it has on your electricity bill.
Fan wattage details by fan type.
|Type of Fan
|Average Watts (on low)
|Average Watts (on max)
|Table / Standing Fan
A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of electricity. It refers to the number of kilowatts a device or appliance uses over a period of time. You can calculate the figure using this formula to know how much electricity your fan consumes.
kWh = Fan Wattage x Duration of Use (in hours) ÷ 1,000
Let’s use the most common fan wattage as an example.
kWh = 33 x 1 hour ÷ 1000 = 0.033
This means that a fan consumes about 0.033 kWh of electricity per hour.
If we use the same formula for the different types of fans, we’ll have the following results:
- Ceiling fans consume the least electricity at 0.0311 kWh per hour at maximum speed.
- The power consumption of a box fan is 0.073 kWh per hour at the same max speed.
- A tower fan uses 0.0565 kWh per hour while running on max.
- The per-hour power consumption of standing fans on the same speed setting is 0.0565 kWh.
This table show’s much electricity the different types of fans consume.
|Type of Fan
|Average kWh usage (on low)
|Average kWh usage (on max)
|0.0036 kWh per hour
|0.0311 kWh per hour
|0.0473 kWh per hour
|0.073 kWh per hour
|0.044 kWh per hour
|0.0565 kWh per hour
|Table / Standing Fan
|0.017 kWh per hour
|0.0425 kWh per hour
Of course, the longer you run your fan, the higher its power consumption. Your unit’s electricity usage depends on its type, size, and other factors. It usually takes 0.033 kWh to run a fan per hour. Running it the whole night will use 0.264kWh. Fans consume 5.54 kWh per week and 22.17 kWh a month.
This table show’s much power the different fans use per hour, night, day, week, and month.
|Type of Fan
|Per 24 Hours
|Per week (on 24/7)
|Per month (30 days, on 25/7)
|Table / Standing Fan
Types of Fans
How much power your fan consumes will depend on its type. As we mentioned, different fan types have varying energy usage. So if you plan to buy one, you can look into these various kinds to determine what will best suit your home and budget.
As the name suggests, ceiling fans are mounted on the ceiling. For optimal performance, a ceiling fan should hang around 8 feet above the floor of a room. These are the most popular fan types. You can find ceiling fans in many homes and offices, especially those that don’t have air conditioning.
However, you can also use ceiling fans to help your air conditioner keep your living space comfortable. If you don’t want to run your cooling system all day, you can alternate a ceiling fan with your air conditioner. Doing so can have a positive effect on your electricity bill.
These fan types come in small, medium, and large sizes and varying power ratings, which determines how much electricity these fans consume.
These fan types are also quite popular due to some features that aren’t available to other fans. They’re lightweight, sleek, and portable. As such, you can easily move them from room to room without much effort.
Tower fans have a distinctive appearance. At first glance, it would seem that they don’t have any blades. That’s because the cylindrical casing holds the blades and motor inside.
These fans can blow air over a large area as an electric motor propels the casing 90 degrees to the left and the right. The inlets on their sides let the device pull in outside air. Meanwhile, the specially designed blades can move air in an upward and downward direction.
Tower fans are considered more energy-efficient than other fan types.
Also called stand fans, pedestal fans function like a tower fan, oscillating back and forth to distribute air. However, they’re less attractive than tower fans because they tend to be bulky, and the blades are visible. On the plus side, they’re more powerful and durable than tower fans. They also cover a larger area as the head of the pedestal fan can move 180 degrees to the left and right.
You can adjust the height of this fan type and point the airflow in a fixed direction. These features make the pedestal fan very user-friendly.
Floor or wall fans come in two configurations. You can either mount them on the wall or place them on the floor using the stand that typically comes with the unit. Wall-mounted fans come in handy when you have little space in the room. Since the package usually includes the brackets and other hardware, installation is a breeze, even for non-DIY types.
Wall fans send a stream of air blasting horizontally across the room. Thus, they effectively circulate the air throughout your living space. This helps reduce the load of your AC unit, which lowers your electricity usage. The fan type’s compact design takes up little space even when placed on the floor.
Floor fans come in different sizes, shapes, and kinds. Some of the more common variations are box fans, window fans, and bladeless fans.
Also called table fans, USB fans are the smallest type of fans. They’re typically powered using a USB, which you can plug into your computer, or a charger that goes into a wall socket. These fans are handy for close-proximity cooling, like when you’re sitting in front of your computer.
Don’t let their diminutive size fool you. A USB fan may seem so tiny compared to a ceiling fan but it can be pretty powerful, too. Okay, it won’t cool down a whole room. Still, the blast of air it delivers is enough to keep you nice and comfy if you place it close by. The great news? USB fans are inexpensive. What’s more, because they have low power consumption, they’ll hardly make any dent in your electricity bill.
How much does it cost to run a USB fan? Well, this fan type consumes only about 2.5 watts per hour. Use it 24 hours and it will draw 60 watts from the grid. A one-month usage will add a measly 1.8 kWh to your electricity bill.
Reducing Your Fan’s Power Consumption
Fans use less electricity than an air conditioner. Thus, they can help lower your energy expenses. Still, you can further reduce your fan’s electricity usage. The following tips can help drive down the cost of running a fan.
Choose Energy-Efficient Models
How much energy fans use depends on several factors, such as type, size, and duration of use. However, all things being equal, Energy Star models use less electricity than conventional units. For example, a ceiling fan bearing the Energy Star seal is up to 60% more energy-efficient than a non-certified counterpart.
Check the Direction of Rotation
Fan blades spinning in the wrong direction can lead to poor efficiency. Set them to rotate counterclockwise for cooling. A clockwise rotation works best in distributing the warm air when heating a room during cold weather.
Take Note of the Speed Setting
Setting the fan on max may produce a stronger draft but it creates more heat in the process, aside from consuming more electricity. Stick with the lowest speed. This setting creates a steady breeze that can make you feel cool.
Always Clean Your Fan
Your fan accumulates house dust, which tends to clog the intake vents and coat the blades. Dust-coated blades encounter more friction making them less energy-efficient in producing a strong breeze. Meanwhile, obstructing the intake vents restricts airflow, which affects the fan’s efficiency. For fans with concealed blades, check if the unit comes with a dust filter. If it does, clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Turn Off Your Fan
This is a pretty obvious solution. Still, some may forget to switch off the fan when they leave the house or room. Remembering to turn off your unit can help you save on its running costs.
Go for Brushless DC motor (BLDC) Fans if Possible
Are you shopping for a new fan to replace an old unit? You can opt for a Brushless DC motor model. A BLDC fan has a lower power consumption compared to non-BLDC ones.
Fan CFM & Efficiency
The fan CFM pertains to the amount of air the unit can move, as measured in cubic feet per minute. The higher the CFM, the better. This means that the fan can move more air, thus, it is more effective in cooling an area. Meanwhile, the fan’s efficiency refers to the amount of air a fan can move per watt of electricity it consumes.
The CFM and efficiency of each fan type vary. Here’s the ranking of the different kinds of fans when it comes to CFM and efficiency.
- Ceiling fan: This fan type is the most energy-efficient. It has an average CFM per watt of 287.8.
- Box fan: The best box fans in the market can’t move as much air as a ceiling fan. This type of fan has an average CFM per watt of 1,750.
- Standing/ table fan: The size of the fan is a factor in determining the unit’s CFM. Larger ones move more air per watt than their smaller counterparts. On average, a large standing/ table fan’s CFM is 1,156.
- Tower fan: With a 335 average CFM, this type of fan is considered the least efficient among the kinds of fans on the list. Tower fans may rank third in terms of wattage rating but considering the CFM places them fourth in our ranking.
Do Fans Use a Lot of Electricity?
How many watts a fan consumes gets affected by various influences. These include the unit’s wattage rating, the speed you set it in, and how long you keep it operating. However, when it comes to cooling your living space, fans use less energy than air conditioners. Thus, using fans alone or in tandem with the AC unit can help reduce your energy expenses.
Is It Cheaper to Run Fans or Air Conditioners?
Fans are definitely cheaper to run than air conditioners. Different types of fans have varying wattages, but on average, a large fan uses about 75 watts per hour. Meanwhile, a one-ton air conditioner consumes approximately 1,000 watts an hour.
Should I Leave a Ceiling Fan on All Day?
The answer depends on whether you’re in the house or not. If you’re staying in your home all day, then, by all means, leave your ceiling fan running. Turning it on and off consumes more energy than letting it run continuously. However, switch it off if you’re leaving the house and will be away for quite a while.
What Size Of Fan Should You Buy For Your House?
There’s no one answer to this question because the size of the fan you need will depend on a number of factors. Consider the following in choosing the right size for your home.
• The type of fan: Some types are more powerful than others.
• The wattage rating: Fans with higher wattages tend to blow more air and cover larger areas.
• The room dimension: You’ll need larger and more powerful fans to cool a big room.
Fans can help beat the heat during the hottest days of the year. Using them in tandem with your AC unit can lower your cooling expenses significantly. Various fan types exist, and some are more efficient than others.