Ask the Contractor: Ceiling fans, exhaust fans both useful

Ceiling fans help cool ­— and heat ­— home more efficiently

Since Philip Diehl’s invention of the first electric ceiling fan in 1882, ceiling fans have evolved to become the most widely used and efficient cooling systems. Diehl eventually created smaller motors and added lighting kits to enhance his original invention. The style was a mix between a fan and a chandelier, called the Electrolier ceiling fan. The ceiling fan hasn’t deviated much from the original idea, but the technology and style have progressed, creating the common household appliance that it is today.

Is the ceiling fan button up or down? Clockwise or counterclockwise?

Within an enclosed environment, a ceiling fan works much like the tilted blades of an airplane propeller to push the air in a room either up or down. A ceiling fan typically has three speeds and can either operate in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Did you know that ceiling fans can save you money on your energy bill since it uses less electricity than an air conditioner? In default mode, fan blades turn and push air downward, creating a downdraft and making a room feel substantially cooler. However, most fans come with an option to switch the blade function to updraft. This function reverses the pathway of airflow, creating an updraft that mixes the cooler air from the lower portion of a room with the warmer air above. The mixed air is then pushed outward and back down, which makes a room feel warmer. If you have high ceilings in your home, the updraft and downdraft function will be most useful to you, allowing you to circulate air that gets trapped at the ceiling through the rest of your room. So you ask what is the benefit of this? The benefit of this is that you can raise or lower your thermostat about 4 degrees, depending on the time of year, without noticing a difference in temperature.

So, whether you want to accent your room with a decorative fan, save money on your energy bill or make a room feel cooler or warmer (yes, you can warm yourself with a ceiling fan!), ceiling fans can do it all.

Regardless if it is the time of the year when you generally depend on an air conditioner for cooling, or the heater for warmth, don’t forget that ceiling fans can add to your comfort level.

Every home should have ceiling fans. When you’re in a room, a ceiling fan can definitely make you feel cooler without running the air conditioner on full blast. The American Lighting Association recommends hanging the fan at least 7 feet above the floor; optimal placement would be 8 or 9 feet from the floor to provide better circulation and for aesthetic reasons. Fans do not actually cool air (if anything, electric fans warm it slightly due to the warming of their motors), but the breeze created by a ceiling fan speeds the evaporation of sweat on human skin, which makes the body feel cool.

Since the fan works directly on the body, rather than by changing the temperature of the air, during the summer it is a waste of electricity to leave a ceiling fan on when no one is in a room.

Our home does not have a bath exhaust fan and my husband says forget it. Too much work to install. I think we should have one.

Frank and Myra, Cottonwood

A bathroom exhaust fan is something every homeowner should not take for granted. With running water daily from toilets, showers, and sinks, bathrooms are the generally the dampest room in the home. Damp rooms cause humidity, and can add considerable humidity to the home, which can lead to the growth of mold and other toxins that can cause numerous health problems. Bathroom exhaust fans are one way we can improve the indoor quality and keep the room safe from dangerous toxins.

The primary purpose of a bathroom exhaust fan is to remove the humid air and expel it from the room; drawing the damp air into the ductwork and outside. There are many different types of fans and power. The power determines how much air the fan can move out of the room during a specific period of time. Smaller bathrooms require less power, where a larger bathroom would need more power to perform its task effectively.

To rid the average-size bathroom of excess moisture, make sure you have one CFM of fan capacity per square foot of space. Bathrooms over 100 square feet in size need an additional 50 CFM for each toilet, bathtub or shower, and an extra 100 CFM for a jetted bathtub. After figuring out the right capacity, you can choose a single, powerful fan or use multiple smaller units.

Remember, for effective ventilation, the fan needs to run for at least 15 minutes after each bathroom use.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130 AM/99.9 FM or 95.5 FM or the web kqna.com. Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry; meet your local community partners and so much more. It is a great way to start your weekend.