How Much Electricity Does a Ceiling Fan Use?

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An image of an electricity meter behind dolar bills

We firmly believe nobody deserves to waste away in a stuffy room. Especially not when great ceiling fans come in all shapes, sizes, and price points.

A ceiling fan is likely the most affordable way to regulate airflow in your room. Besides the initial investment, ceiling fans cost next to nothing to run and maintain.

Ceiling fans are super energy efficient. That’s true even compared to other types of fans, let alone costly systems like ACs.

Ceiling fans come in many shapes and sizes, and some are more energy-efficient than others. However, even the less efficient models use very little electrical power. On average, a ceiling fan will use about 30 W per hour, whereas a typical AC might use 3,500 W in the same amount of time.

Sure, an AC cools your room while a ceiling fan just circulates air, but it’s still a great, eco-friendly way to stay cool on most warm days.

Let’s take a closer look at the energy consumption of ceiling fans.

A 5-bladed ceiling fan

How Much Electricity Does a Ceiling Fan Use Per Hour?

Ceiling fans come in many sizes and with various features, but they have one thing in common: They are energy efficient. Albeit, to varying degrees. 

The amount of electricity your high airflow ceiling fan needs depends on a few factors. Those include:

  • Blade size (counter-intuitively, smaller fans use up more power),
  • Rotation speeds
  • Light and the type of bulb installed (LEDs use way less than incandescent bulbs do),
  • Operation mode (smartphone modules use more than pull chains).

Because of all of these (and more) factors, different ceiling fan models have different electricity requirements. Before you choose a ceiling fan to buy, check the model’s power rating. 

While trying to determine the average ceiling fan power consumption, we realized that the range is too large to draw meaningful conclusions. So, we found middle-sized 52” ceiling fans that use as little as 10 and as much as 75 watts per hour. As we’ll touch upon, even 75W is very little compared to power-grabbing appliances like space heaters, which average at 1500W.

Even with such vast differences between models, none of the models we inspected use more than 100W per hour. That makes us confident in saying all ceiling fans are power efficient and eco-friendly.

Understanding Watts (W), Kilowatts (kW), and Kilowatt-hours (kWh)

Once you receive your utility bill, you won’t notice a big difference in the price you pay before and after you get your ceiling fan. However, you’ll see your monthly expenditure expressed in kWh.

Your ceiling fan label probably states the fan’s electricity consumption in Watts. How does that translate to the kWh unit on your electric bill?

First, let’s establish a few terms:

  • 1 kW = 1000W.
  • kWh = how many kW a device uses per hour.

Watts and kilowatts label the energy consumption rate, while the kilowatt-hour measures the amount of energy consumed.

An analogue electricity meter

Let’s take a 20W ceiling fan as an example:

  • Working at full speed, it uses the 20W in an hour.
  • It takes 50 hours for that ceiling fan to use up 1kWh.

How much do ceiling fans add to electric bill?

If you want to calculate how much running a ceiling fan will cost you, you first need to figure out how much electricity costs in your area.

The EIA claims that local energy rates depend on fuel costs, the availability of power plants, transmission systems, and pricing regulations. Your electricity rate should be clearly labeled under the ‘electric charges’ section of your bill, but you may also find the applicable electricity rate in your state online.

The US average is a bit under 11¢ per kWh.

How much electricity does a fan use per month?

Let’s see how much it’d cost to run a ceiling fan continuously.

Ceiling Fan WattageCost per HourCost Per Day (24h)Cost Per Month (720h)
10W0.11¢2.6¢79.2¢ ($0.79)
20W0.22¢5.3¢158.4¢ ($1.58)
50W0.55¢13.2¢396¢ ($3.96)
Note: The table assumes the US average electricity cost at 11¢/kWh.

As you can see in the table, even a ceiling fan with a high power consumption only costs $4 to run a whole month without ever shutting it off. That’s a steal!

Ceiling Fan Strength (CFM) and Electricity Costs

Let’s set one thing straight – high electricity usage does not equal high cooling power in ceiling fans.

The amount of air that a ceiling fan moves around is measured in cubic feet per minute – CFM. This airflow metric mostly depends on the rotation speed and the size of the fan blades.

Ceiling fans come with varying CFMs just like they use up different amounts of electricity. Luckily, the quotient of CFM and wattage will give you insight into how energy efficient your fan is! Here’s the formula:

CFM / Watts = Fan efficiency

Divide these two specifications of your ceiling fan. If the result is more than 75, your fan is energy efficient. If you get less than 75, keep on searching for a better ceiling fan that won’t waste your electric power!

Let’s take this lovely, premium Monte Carlo fan as an example. It’s a wet-rated ceiling fan with 70” wooden blades. It’s rated at 9018 CFM at its highest speed, and it uses 30 Watts per hour:

9018 CFM / 30W = 300.6 CFM/Watt

This ceiling fan is super energy efficient. Its Energy Star rating attests to that!

Here’s another example – an affordable but pretty Westinghouse with 52” blades. Its airflow tops at 3589 CFM, and its hourly wattage is 63 without lights.

3589 CFM / 63W = 57 CFM/Watt

This result is less than ideal, and this Westinghouse may cost less upfront, but it’ll waste electricity with every hour it works.

What about Ceiling Fan Lights?

The light on your ceiling fan won’t use up more than any other light fixture.

When choosing lights to go with your ceiling fan, LED light bulbs are a great, energy-saving choice. LEDs use as much as 10 times less energy compared to traditional incandescent light bulbs, making them the most energy-saving light bulbs on the market.

A typical LED uses between 10 and 30 Watts per hour.

Reduce Waste: Save Electricity and Money

Is it OK to leave ceiling fans on all the time?

Almost every ceiling fan box will have a variation of this sentence printed on it:

Money-saving tip: Turn off the fan when leaving the room.

Unlike an air conditioner, your ceiling fan (or any other fan for that matter) doesn’t cool the room. Fans make you feel cooler when the moving air comes in contact with your skin. It’s quite simple: no skin contact = no cooling.

That’s why you should turn off your ceiling fan whenever people or pets aren’t spending time in the room.

A young woman cooling herself with a hand fan

Winter and Summer Cooling Are Different!

When you first get a ceiling fan, chances are you’re equipping your home for the hot summer season. However, a ceiling fan is useful in the winter too!

The effects of your ceiling fan change depending on the direction in which the blades spin. In the summer, you want the fan to bring air down and blow it towards you – so that it can cool your skin. But in the winter, a ceiling fan can manipulate the rules of thermodynamics and help distribute warm air across your room! If you set up your fan to “winter mode”, it will create an updraft, preventing warm air from getting stuck near your ceiling!

So, remember the rule that will make your room feel pleasant no matter the season:

Make it spin counterclockwise during the summer, clockwise during the winter!

Wrap Up

We all want to save money on our electric bills, but not at the expense of convenience or comfort. Forget about the costly air conditioner – a ceiling fan is an amazing energy-saving tool that will keep your home cool and comfy, no matter the season!

However, some models consume more power than others, so go ahead and get the most out of your new fan by getting one with an Energy Star rating.

Over here at The Home Dweller, we’re always looking for ways to make our homes more cost-effective and practical – and we love sharing our findings with you! If you found this article useful, help your friends and family save on their utility bills too by sharing this article on social media!

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