Ceiling Fans Save on Winter Heating Bill
Originally published: 09.25.12 by HVACR Business Staff
Many facility managers dread the costs of keeping their workforce comfortable in spacious workplaces every winter. It may seem counterintuitive, but the answer for many facilities is better known for its summer cooling power: ceiling fans. More specifically, large diameter, low speed overhead fans can save facilities a major amount on their winter heat bills, with customers reporting savings of 35 percent, according to Big Ass Fans, designer and manufacturer of 6 ft. to 24′ diameter high volume/low speed (HVLS) ceiling and vertical fans.
Unlike small ceiling fans that struggle to send air to the floor and only create insignificant pockets of air movement, Big Ass Fans gently mix air to stabilize air movement without creating a draft in winter, using patented airfoils and winglets to allow the fan to operate in the forward direction without causing a draft.
Stratification occurs because hot air is approximately 5-7 percent lighter than cool air in a space and tends to rise to the ceiling. In the winter, large diameter fans can be used to destratify heat by moving large volumes of warm air off the ceiling without creating a draft. The steady mixing of air creates a uniform temperature throughout the space. The energy savings achieved from reducing the amount of heat escaping through the roof is similar to turning the thermostat down three to five degrees, which can also translate to a serious reduction in operating costs.
Case in point
Even HVAC experts need a little help with airflow from time to time. Siefert MTM of North Kingstown, R.I., needed to bring energy costs down in its non-air-conditioned 19,000 sq. ft. warehouse, ironically full of air conditioners and heat exchangers.
In the winter, hot air from the warehouse’s radiant heaters would congregate near the roof, leaving cold pockets at the workers’ level below.
“Knowing what we know about thermal technology, the heaters in the building are poorly placed,” said Logistics and Operations Manager Rob Granai of the heaters positioned in the upper corners of the warehouse. “Even when you cranked the heat up to 80, the heaters were just pumping hot air straight into the ceiling.”
Granai installed four 24-ft. diameter Big Ass Fans, and immediately felt a difference on the floor. Seifert warehouse employees began shedding some of the heavier clothing they had been forced to wear, and Granai began thoroughly tracking energy bills. Throughout its first winter with the fans, Seifert MTM saved 35% on its heat bills. At this rate, the fans will pay for themselves in two years.
“I think that everybody was skeptical at the possible cost savings in the beginning, including me,” he said. “I just didn’t get it, but I’ve been proven wrong so far.”
Year-round comfort and savings
By efficiently moving serious air, Big Ass Fans provide both summer cooling and winter heat recirculation to provide serious savings all year round.
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