The Cost of Keeping Cool
With the arrival of the warmer weather and summer on its way, now is the time to start thinking about rescuing your old fans from the back of the cupboard or out of the loft. However, are these fans meeting your needs? Are they the correct type of fan for the room you’re trying to cool down? Are they costing you more than they should to run? Is it time to invest in a new model?
Take a look at our comparison to see whether you are on the right track to stay cool this summer.
Which type of fan should you buy?
Most useful when you are trying to cool down a small space, and do not have room for a bulky fan. Desk fans will sit neatly atop your desk, dressing table, kitchen surface and cool down the area around the fan. These are ideal if you are working in a specific area and do not want a larger fan taking up more space.
If you are looking to cool down an entire room, then a pedestal fan will help you achieve this. Similar looking to a desk fan, but on a tall column, a pedestal fan is more powerful than a desk fan, and therefore larger meaning you need somewhere large enough to store it. Pedestal fans sometimes come with a remote which is handy to control the fan even when you are not directly next to it.
Like the idea of a pedestal fan but not sure you have the space? A tower fan can offer the same whole room cooling advantage but with its slim line design will take up much less space. Some tower fans even have smart capabilities allowing you to sync it with your smart speaker, set schedules and give you voice control over the fan.
Similar to the tower fans, bladeless fans have a tall slim line design that will sit neatly in the corner of the room, however, are much quieter than traditional bladed fans. They have a hidden propeller in the base which pulls air into the fan column and then pushes it out through the bladeless ring pushing cool air into the room.
Installed into the ceiling of your room, ceiling fans are the best way to ensure even airflow and cooling around the room. Most commonly installed in bedrooms, these fans can help ensure a cool nights sleep during those warmer summer months. However, unlike the other fans, ceiling fans cannot be simply plugged into a plug socket and will need properly installing by an electrician.
The price of a fan can vary dramatically depending on where you are looking. Remember if you are buying from an online retailer do not always believe the reviews as these are easy to influence, if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! You can always find advice from Electrical Safety First on how to safely purchase electrical goods online, including their ‘Check It Out’ browser extension.
How much does it cost to run a fan?
The price of running a fan depends on a few factors such as the power rating of the fan, and how long you intend to run the fan for. Firstly, you will need to find the power rating of your fan, for example 30 Watt. Once you have found the Watt rating of your fan, you then need to convert this into kW, you can do this by dividing your power rating by 1000, so 30/1000 = 0.03 kW. You then multiply this number by length of time you will have the fan switched of for to calculate kilowatt hours (kWh). So if for example you were going to have the fan running for 6 hours during the day, you would multiple 0.03kW by 6 hours which would give you 0.18kWh. Next, you will need to find out much you pay per kWh (33.21p per kWh – May 2023) and multiply this by how many kWh you calculated in the previous step. So to run a 30 Watt fan for 6 hours whilst paying 33.21p per kWh, you would pay £0.06.
A bladeless fan has a power rating of 56W and therefore, would cost £0.11 if you were to leave it on for the same 6 hour period. Whereas a 120W pedestal fan would cost you £0.24.
The cost to run a fan will very much vary depending on your fan’s Watt rating, the price you pay per kWh and how long you intend to run the fan for so once you have all these figures use the simple equation below to find out how much your fan will cost you!
Fans vs Air Conditioning
There are times during summer, especially when a heatwave hits, that your desk fans and tower fans just don’t quite provide you with the cooling effect required. That is when some people turn to air conditioning. Air conditioning is a system that takes in air from a room, removes heat from the air, returning cool air back into the room and removing the heat to the outside. Air conditioning systems can either be permanently installed into a room or can be a portable unit, however, both of these will be costlier than purchasing and running a fan.
Portable air conditioners are standalone units that can be moved around different rooms in your house depending where you want to experience the cooling effects and can also be put away when you are not using them. Portable air conditioners have a hose attached to them that needs to be fed outside through a hole in a window or door which can allow warm air to enter back into the room so be careful of this. However, it is worth checking as some units come with a kit that will allow you to seal the gap created. The units have a power of approximately 1000 Watts (this can vary so best to check individual unit’s wattage) which is significantly higher than a fan so it will use much more energy and cost much more to run. Using the method above it would cost £1.99 to leave your air conditioning running for 6 hours.
If you decide that air conditioning is something that your household would benefit from then it may worth looking into the permanent installation of fixed air conditioners. This, however, can be a costly and intrusive process as you will need to get professional installers to come and fit the units. Fixed air conditions comprise of two units, one inside the room and one outside. They have to be connected to one another so you need a suitable location for the external unit to be fitted nearby to the internal unit. Fixed air conditioners are much quieter than fans and portable air conditioners, and allow you to set the room to a specific temperature for set periods of time so they are worth considering if you have rooms that get much hotter than others. If you decide to invest in fixed air conditioning units then you will need to consider the EER of the system you are getting installed. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the ratio of the cooling capacity to the power input. The higher the ratio the more efficient the system.
Top Tips for keeping a room cool
Use your fan wisely
If you are using a fan to help keep you cool, make sure that you keep the fan at the same height as you, or lower. Hot air rises within a room so you will be blower cooler air around if the fan is lower. Also, don’t leave your fan on in an empty room – it won’t cool the air down the same way an air conditioner will but will still cost you money to run!
Keep curtains and blinds closed
When the sun is shining through glass windows this can dramatically increase the internal temperature of a room. By keeping your blinds and curtains closed when the sun is shining into a room, you can help stop the temperature rising as much. If you know that certain rooms get the sun at certain parts of the day, ensure the blinds/curtains are closed during those periods.
Create a cross breeze
By opening windows on opposite sides of the house you can keep air flowing and create a cooling breeze through the house. Make sure you keep the doors pinned open so the air can flow freely.
Avoid using the oven
If your kitchen is already feeling hot, don’t add extra heat by turning on the oven! Try to cook and eat outdoors if you have the option, and if you don’t have a BBQ, try things like salads and sandwiches to avoid having to heat up the oven. Air fryers are also a good alternative to switching on the hot oven.
Switch off those unused appliances
Any appliance left in stand by mode will generate release wasted output energy as heat. Not only is this costing you money but can also help contribute the rising temperature of an already warm room! Make sure to keep those devices switched off whenever they are not is use.
Upgrade you lightbulbs
Still using incandescent light bulbs? Haven’t made the switch to LEDs yet? Maybe this summer is the time! Incandescent light bulbs waste 90% of their output energy as heat, meaning that not only is 90% the electricity you pay for being wasted, but excess heat is warming up your rooms unnecessarily.