During the long hot summer days (and nights!) a fan can be your very best friend! Providing welcome relief from oppressive heat by generating fast-moving air, they are an essential addition to millions of bedrooms and living spaces across the world.
But with hundreds of different makes, models, and fan types available, knowing which one to purchase to provide the greatest relief can be challenging.
So, we’re going to do the hard work for you by explaining exactly how fans make the air feel cooler and identify a few of the key differences between some of the most popular fan types.
Why do fans make the air feel cooler?
Well, it’s all a simple case of conduction, convection and evaporation.
Let us elaborate.
It’s a little-known fact that fans don’t reduce the temperature of the air at all. In fact, they slightly raise the temperature of a room due to the electricity they use to power it, but what they do is create a wind chill effect.
Imagine you’re watching a weather report and the weatherperson describes ‘wind chill’ on a cold wintery day. What they’re referring to is convective heat loss – the transfer of heat from a body to moving molecules such as liquid or air (i.e., wind or a fan). By quickly blowing the air around your body, the fan makes it much easier for the air to evaporate the sweat on your skin and circulate the hot air that sits directly adjacent to your body.
Different types of fans
There are a huge number of different types of fans available to purchase, each one operating slightly differently and therefore providing a different set of benefits.
Here is a guide to five of the most popular types of fans:
Tall, modern-looking tower fans are ideal if floor space is an issue. Packing a cool punch, tower fans typically cool down a room by drawing air through the unit via the force of blades. It pulls the air from behind it and pushes it forward to create a draft.
Also now available are bladeless tower fans which provide greater coverage of air distribution by pulling air in through the side vents, spinning the air around before pushing it back out through the front of the fan.
Pedestal fans are electric oscillating fans that feature a blade (or blades) that are positioned in a tight cage at the top of a long stand. They come in a variety of heights, speeds, and sizes and will always be freestanding, so there is no need to prop them up on a table or hold them with your hand.
Pedestal fans require a little more space than tower fans, but they are generally very powerful and boast a strong airflow.
Ceiling fans offer very efficient air circulation and are practical, economical, and easy to use.
Spinning counterclockwise in the summer months to keep rooms cool, and clockwise in the winter to maximize your heating and keep rooms warmer, a ceiling fan has a lot to offer all year round. As an added bonus, the wind generated by ceiling fans makes it more difficult for bugs and insects to fly, keeping those summer pests at bay.
However, ceiling fans can be costly and need to be carefully selected according to your room size and fitted by a professional.
Remember earlier when we explained how fans can cool you down using conduction, convection, and evaporation? Well, a misting fan makes use of all three of these methods via a process called thermodynamics.
Misting fans can be used both indoors and outdoors and combine a powerful blower fan with a high-pressure water pump. They work by blowing water through a centrifugal misting system or nozzles to produce a super-fine water mist that can barely be seen or felt, instead, you’ll just experience a very fresh coolness.
Exhaust fans are rarely used for circulating and cooling air but instead for controlling interior environments by removing odors, particulates, smoke, and moisture.
The most common locations for exhaust fans are bathrooms and kitchens as they help to move any warm, moist air to the outside to help prevent mold build-up.
How much electricity do fans use?
Unfortunately, there’s no one simple answer to this question as different types of fans consume different amounts of energy.
Fans are measured on wattage, with the average fan using 39.3 watts on high speed and 6.9 watts on low speed.
- Ceiling fans consume 0.0311kWh of electricity when used for one hour at maximum speed
- Tower fans consume 0.0565kWh of electricity when used for one hour at maximum speed
- Pedestal fans consume 0.0425kWh of electricity when used for one hour at maximum speed
Therefore, whilst ceiling fans offer the most efficient energy use, this is very closely followed by pedestal fans. Of the three different fan types, tower fans are the least efficient fans to use but still offer great value for money when compared to other cooling systems, such as air conditioning.
What should I look for when buying a tower fan?
- Noise level – given the fact this fan will be operating in your bedroom whilst you’re trying to fall asleep, or in your lounge whilst you’re watching TV, it really needs to be as quiet as possible. Pick the one with the lowest noise level and ask a store assistant for a demonstration if you’re unsure after viewing the display models
- Speed settings – Choose the fan with the most versatile speed settings that will enable you to find your sweet spot of room cooling air circulation
- Controls – Unless you don’t mind manually adjusting the settings, select a model that features remote controls which will allow you to operate your fan from wherever you are in the room
- CFM airflow – CFM airflow is a measure of volume used to indicate a fan’s output in terms of cubic feet of air per minute. A good CFM ranges between 4,000 to 5,000 and the best is a CFM of over 6,000. Pick the tower fan with the highest CFM.
- Air purification – Some tower fans double up as air purifiers which will cleanse the air of dust, pet dander, and pollen. It works by electrically charging the molecules in the air to remove microscopic allergens and the very best tower fans have HEPA filters.
Final thoughts: tower fans or pedestal fans?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your personal circumstances.
Tower fans are great for smaller spaces as they provide better functionality and more power than table-top fans and are great for closer cooling. However, they are very slightly more expensive than pedestal fans to run and can be noisier.
Pedestal fans are generally more powerful than tower fans and are therefore better for larger areas. The height of a pedestal fan can be adjusted, making it easy to position behind furniture and they are very slightly more cost-effective to operate. They’re not always very aesthetically pleasing though and are more susceptible to being knocked over by children or pets.
Do tower fans cool a room?
Tower fans work by pulling the air from behind the unit and pushing that air forwards at a 90-degree angle to create a draft. They are a great option if space is an issue but are best used for close cooling rather than for cooling a large room down.
What are the advantages of tower fans?
Modern, effective, and efficient, tower fans are a great option for keeping temperatures cool during long hot summer days and nights. Here are a few key advantages of tower fans:
· Keeps the air fresh and clean – most tower fans attract dust, pollen, and pet dander and help to prevent them from circulating around your home
· Energy saving – Featuring timers that can be set to shut off the system after a set time, a tower fan can help to keep your energy costs lower than having a fan that runs all day and night unless switched off manually
· Space saving – Tower fans are tall and slim and therefore easily slotted into the smallest of rooms.
How much electricity does a tower fan use?
Tower fans are considered energy efficient as they use less energy than other types of fans, such as box fans. They’re also much more cost-effective and energy-efficient than air conditioning.
Using just 1.35kWh when used continuously over 24 hours, tower fans are the smart option when compared to air conditioning which uses an average of 12kWh when used over the same period.
How to save money using a tower fan
· Use the timer or auto-sleep function - This handy feature will save you money by automatically switching off the fan, even if you’re fast asleep
· Turn it down to a lower setting – Fans are at their most efficient on their lowest power setting, so pick the slowest speed possible to give you the cooling breeze you desire.
· Place your fan near an open window – This will enhance the cooling effect of the breeze (unless it’s a really hot day outside!)
· Keep it clean – Give your fan a regular dusting, especially if it has been sitting in storage for a while. Dust gathering at the edges of the blades will create a stuffy feeling in your room and will mean the fan isn’t working at its best