Electric fans and air conditioning are two different ways to cool a home. But which should you rely on when it gets hot? This post explains the difference between the two and when to use each one.
What is the difference between the two?
Fans work by simply moving air around a room. When placed strategically, they can be used to move air from cold areas to warmer areas.
Air conditioning systems meanwhile use refrigerant to physically cool air before circulating it around a room. They are much more complex than fans.
Both fans and air conditioning systems can be portable or fixed. Portable fans are typically more commonly used in homes than ceiling fans – they are cheaper and are available in such small sizes that they can be placed just about anywhere. Portable air conditioners are much bigger. Most homes used fixed air conditioning units or systems rather than portable ones.
Which is better for the size of your home?
If you live in a small home such as an apartment and each room is fairly small, you may find that fans are all you need. Fans are great at cooling smaller spaces, plus they take up less space. Some people find that they do not even have an empty wall available to install a single air conditioning unit, making ceiling fans a more convenient option.
Air conditioning units are recommended for bigger homes with larger rooms. The larger a room, the less effective a fan is likely to be. Even the best ceiling fans will not have much of an impact in a very large room. Air conditioning systems by contrast can be designed to be so powerful that they can cool malls and sports halls.
What temperatures does your home regularly reach?
Fans are only effective up until 95 degrees fahrenheit. Beyond this, you are just blowing hot air around your home.
If you live somewhere that regularly exceeds 95 degrees fahrenheit, it is worth splashing out on air conditioning. Air con will help to physically bring down the temperature so that it is more bearable. Fans may just be a waste of money in these temperatures.
Which matters more: cost or comfort?
When choosing whether to cool your home with fans or air conditioning, much of the decision comes down to cost vs comfort.
Air conditioning systems and units are typically a lot more expensive to install than fans. They also use up a lot more energy to run – especially full home systems. That said, they are much more effective at providing cooling. By investing in air conditioning installation, you can guarantee a comfortable temperature instead of having to make do with fans.
Of course, if you are on a tight budget and you do not mind being a little hot occasionally, you should opt for fans. Many people get by without air con – it may even be unnecessary if you live somewhere that rarely experiences heatwaves. You can buy a decent desk fan for as little as $20, whereas you will pay at least $250 for a decent portable air conditioning unit.