Heating and cooling are some of the most energy intensive applications in a home and also the most costly in terms of electricity, gas, oil or even wood.
Ceiling Fans—Summer and Winter
While you may be familiar with using a ceiling fan during summer, have you considered using it in winter also?
Heat rises and most of the heat you want is close to the ceiling during winter. A ceiling fan on a low speed can help push that heat down to where you are. Additionally, it can help reduce the instance of condensation on your windows.
During winter the fan will need to run clockwise, which is the opposite of the direction you want it running in summer. The reason for this is that as cold air is denser, running the ceiling fan clockwise draws that cold air up, pushing the warm air close to the ceiling aside, which then travels down the walls to the lower level of the room.
So when shopping for a ceiling fan, ensure it has a clockwise/anti-clockwise feature so you'll be able to use it all year round.
Using as little as a hundred watts, an ultra-efficient ceiling fan can shave up to 10% off your heating costs.
Ceiling fans really come into their own over summer though and work particularly well in dry areas. By moving the hot air around, it promotes evaporation of perspiration on your skin which has a cooling effect -- making you feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
I've used fans in temperatures of over 42 C (107F+) hundred degrees indoors and while it was certainly warm, I didn't even break a sweat. Ceiling fans can also be used in conjunction with evaporative air conditioner to further promote the air conditioner's effectiveness; allowing you to set the thermostat lower.
Also known as whirligigs or spinaways, roof turbines are lightweight spinning vents that suck air out from your roof cavity. Waterproof and requiring no electricity, the roof turbine will start spinning in even the lightest breath of air and most can also withstand hurricane type conditions.
During summer, the space between your ceiling and roof gets incredibly hot—up to 50–60 degrees Celsius (122 F to 140 F). Even if you have insulation in your roof area, some of this heat will still make its way into your living space.
A roof turbine is relatively easy to install—even I was able to do it—and that's saying something. Let's just say I'm like lightning with a hammer; I never strike twice in the same place.
The blast of hot air I felt when cutting a hole in the roof for the turbine was incredible -- it was like opening a door to a furnace. Much of that heat is now being whisked away and the difference is certainly noticeable.
During winter, depending on whether you use roof insulation , leaving the roof turbine vent open can help reduce moisture buildup in your roof area. This not only helps protect timbers, but your insulation. Damp insulation is nowhere near as effective as when it's dry.
So there you have it—summer and winter, ceiling fans and roof turbines can help cut your energy costs; and that means less greenhouse gas emissions and more dollars back into your pocket!