Last updated: 15 December 2022

Ceiling, wall-mounted or portable electric fans can be a cheap and effective way to stay comfortable on warm days and, humid summer nights. They don’t cool the air but create a cooling breeze that can make you feel more comfortable.

Types of fans

living room with ceiling fan

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans can be used in conjunction with an air conditioner to make your home more comfortable by circulating the air around the room. When buying a ceiling fan look for variable speed and reverse function features. The reverse function allows the blades to turn in the opposite direction: useful in winter to push hot air up towards the ceiling and back down around the edges of the room to mix with cooler lower-level air. This can be particularly effective if you have high or cathedral ceilings.

If you’re building a new home, you should consider installing ceiling fans in all bedrooms, as they aide natural ventilation and greatly reduce the need for further cooling systems

Wall mounted and portable electric fans

These are widely available and offer an inexpensive way to stay comfortable without requiring complicated installation.

Running costs

Ceiling or wall-mounted fans and portable electric fans can cost less than two cents per hour to run. Ceiling fans can be used in conjunction with an air conditioner to reduce your cooling running costs as they help to keep you feeling more comfortable without having to operate your air conditioner at lower temperature settings.

How to choose the right fan

If you are buying a ceiling fan, ask about the rated power consumption of the fan and look for ones with a low level of consumption. The most common fans have an AC motor, but fans with DC motors are now also available. These generally have a lower power consumption than AC fans and can have more speed settings. If the ceiling fan is going to be installed in a room with heating, it’s a good idea to get a reversible ceiling fan, especially if you have high ceilings. This helps you make better use of the heating in winter.