Consumer Reports provides tips for staying cool with ceiling fans

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The temperatures are not too bad this week, but at some point soon, temperatures will be soaring into the 90s again.

Ceiling fans have been around for decades, but as Consumer Reports explains, choosing the right one can help cool off that overheated electric bill.

Ceiling fans do not lower the temperature in a room. Instead, they cool you off by creating a draft that moves air over your skin.

Paula Machado says to keep her home comfortable she relies on three ceiling fans, plus a little air conditioning.

"We have the ceiling fans on all day long in the entire house to help it cool off. And it's important because one, it saves our electric bill somewhat, and two, it really helps extend the life of our AC," she said.

Ceiling fans cost very little to run, and when used with your air conditioner, you can raise the thermostat by about four degrees and feel just as cool.

Fans with the Energy Star label are 60% more efficient than conventional fan and light units.

To optimize the power of your fan, place it at the perfect height.

"Hang your fan high. They work best when the blades are 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling.

If your ceiling is really high, use a down rod to bring it to the right height," said Paul Hope of Consumer Reports.

The most popular fan size is 52 inches. They are best for large rooms, from 225 to 400 square feet.

A 42-to-44-inch fan is effective in rooms from 144 to 225 square feet.

If your room is borderline, opt for the larger fan run at a slower speed.

When it is time to install, if you are replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, check to ensure that the electric box can support the weight.

Your fan is going to gather dust and even pollen. To keep it clean, Consumer Reports said to lay a sheet beneath the fan to protect furniture and floors.

Wipe the blades and housing gently with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

And finally, remember that fans cool people, not rooms, so always turn them off when you leave.
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