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A/C vs. fan – which is more energy efficient?

A/C vs. fan – which is more energy efficient?

by | Sep 29, 2016 | 189 comments

Is it more efficient to run our ceiling fans or lower the temperature on the A/C?

Asked by: Patrick C., Homestead

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Great question, Patrick. We suggest you turn your ceiling fans on and raise the temperature on your thermostat.

Follow these two simple rules when using your ceiling fans to help you stay cool for less:

  1. Raise the temperature on your thermostat by at least 2 degrees and turn on the fan to medium or high, making sure the blades are circulating in a counter clockwise direction.
  2. Turn the fan off when you leave the room, or the home.

It’s important to remember, if you don’t raise the thermostat when using a fan, you won’t save energy –it’s the most common mistake people make. Also, leaving the fan on when no one is home will actually increase your energy costs. Keep in mind, ceiling fans cool people, but they don’t lower the temperature in the room.

By the way, the same holds true for portable fans, like standing floor fans. Turning off a fan, whether it’s a ceiling fan or portable fan, when no one is in the room can help you save anywhere from $3 to $7 a month – depending on the fan speed.

Estimating how much you can save from using fans will depend on many factors, including how much it costs to run your A/C, how well your home is insulated, and what temperature you like to have your thermostat set at. However, these factors aside, the fact is you must raise your thermostat when using a ceiling fan to achieve any savings at all.

Simple way to save
As the warm weather continues, one simple tip to help you save on your energy costs is to keep your thermostat at 78 degrees or warmer. We recommend turning your fan on “auto” and raising the thermostat setting to 82 degrees while you’re away. For every one degree you increase in temperature, you can save about 5 percent on your monthly cooling costs.

To keep your energy affordable and help you find more ways to save, visit

About The Author

Tiffany Spence

Tiffany Spence is an energy expert at Florida Power & Light Company. She's conducted thousands of energy audits at homes and businesses, helping customers find new ways to make their bills even lower.


  1. Please FPL.. when giving advice on what temps to leave the a/c on, take into consideration whether or not they have pets or fish tanks. 82 is a bit high for those households.

  2. If you use to left the refrigerador door open each time you use it, does that habit consume more energy?

    I would like to thanks for the tips to save energy, now that summer is coming.

  3. Vivimos en un apartamento de un condominio y tenemos dificultades con el equipo de A/C que es central y es muy viejo por lo que el consumo es muy alto; al igual que la Nevera cuyo funcionamiento y hermeticidad son defectuosos, lo que tambien sube el consumo en exceso. Quisiera saber, si la FPL puede hacer algo por nosotros que nos apoye, para reclamar la solucion de estos problemas.Por ejemplo, una auditoria que haga recomendaciones a la administracion del condominio para solucionar esta situacion que nos afecta en grado sumo porque no importa lo que hagamos, la corriente siempre viene muy alta. tambien seria bueno revisar el contador si vienen en algun momento al sitio donde vivimos.Agradeceriamos su atencion al caso.

  4. Why isn’t FPL answering all of these questions??

  5. Is it truly worth owning a toaster oven so that I don’t use my regular oven?
    I only use the oven once or twice per week.
    If I should buy a toaster oven, do you have any energy saving recommendations…what to look for in a toaster oven.

  6. I have always wondered why the bedroom on the southeast end of our home is the warmest room in the house even though there is shade from trees. Across the hall the northeast bedroom is the coolest with no shade from trees


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