Quick Tip: Fan in the Window

>> Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marvin Woll, a man I met through the Sierra Club, gave me this tip for saving money on your electricity bill while using less energy. He sent this suggestion into the News & Observer last year.

Your first step is to purchase a 20-inch box fan. Then either late at night or early in the morning, turn on the Weather Channel or your computer and check the outside temperature. If the temperature is 70 degrees or lower, put the fan in the window, turn it to the high setting and either push or pull air through the house. If possible, let the fan run for an hour. You will notice your thermostat fall by four or five degrees. It only takes a minute to glance at the outside temperature and put the fan in the window.

When we do this, our main air conditioning unit does not come on until three or four in the afternoon instead of 10 or 11 in the morning. Our house is 1,900 square feet. This technique reduces our electric bill by $60 per month, and we do this six months during the year.


Emily May 27, 2009 at 10:12 AM  

Does the humidity index count? Even though it may be below 70 here, if the humidity is high enough, it doesn't work so well to pull the air through the house - it just seems to humidify the heat that is in the house. Any ideas?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 27, 2009 at 11:46 AM  

Emily - I've thought about the humidity factor too, but the guy who sent me this tip lives here in Raleigh where the humidity is as high as Maryland. He says it works best in the spring and fall when the humidity is lower. Also, I think he works outside of the home, so by the time he gets home from work, his air conditioning would have been on for a few hours. But I have read that others who go without A/C run a dehumidifier constantly. Let me know if you try it!

Maren Hansen May 27, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

Erin, I have noticed that if the humidity is high enough, it does not work. So you suffer until the air kicks on in the afternoon. However, we have plenty of days that the nights are cool enough till about mid-May where you can open the windows. Being a lover of coldness, I usually open my kitchen window and leave it open all night (it's unreachable from the ground level) if it's 65F or below. Another thing I will do if it's a cooler night (below about 72 ish) is turn the air way down to 66 or 67. This works well if it's going to be in the high 70's (and sunny) to the mid-80's (sunny or cloudy). I don't have to turn the air on all day at all. And it takes little time to cool the house at night, so it may run for 20 minutes total in a 24 hour period.

Anonymous,  May 27, 2009 at 2:15 PM  

Hi Erin -
I noticed some comments in regard to your posting my information. I have run into some people before who wondered about the humidity factor.
Granted humidity can be a factor for some people. Personally, I don't mind a touch of more humid air to save one-third on my energy bill. I have been doing this for five years and it has had no impact on the structural aspects of my house - meaning no mold whatsoever. And as mentioned $360 per year equals $1,800 over five years.
In addition, once you have done this for awhile then you begin to recognize those nights when the temp. may be 70 but the humidity is so high that you just don't use the fan in the window.
I like to be cool and by wearing shorts and a t-shirt I am perfectly cool. So far this year my air conditioning has not even been on.
Thanks for posting that info. I hope all has been well with you and your family.
Marvin Woll

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 27, 2009 at 3:07 PM  

Marvin - Thanks for adding your input and clarifying about the humidity factor!

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