Large Energy Efficient DC Ceiling Fans Save BIG on AC Cost, and...

Written by Posted On Monday, 06 November 2017 21:54

Do large ceiling fans really cost less to operate?

New DC motor technology


Up until recently, all ceiling fans used what is known as an AC motor (alternating current motor). To make a fan’s blade span longer, and to get better air circulation from the fan, fan manufacturers had to use bigger motors that used a lot more electricity to operate. A big ceiling fan would have easily consumed more than 100 watts of energy, and many times over 120 watts just to push the oversized blades. Yes, if you purchased a good quality brand name, large models did create more airflow, but sometimes the increased airflow didn’t help to save on air conditioning cost as much as one would have expected, because of the increased cost to operate the ceiling fan.

Thanks to a fairly new technology in modern ceiling fans, known as DC motors, or direct current motors, the fans equipped with these type of motors create more power for better airflow, while using a small fraction of the electricity usage of the old AC motors.

These new DC motor ceiling fans typically use less than 35 watts of energy on their highest speed setting. Better yet, once the speed is turned down to low, the wattage used goes down to that of a night light. As a matter of fact, with the 84” Fanimation Stellar, the airflow on low speed is more than an average 52 inch ceiling fan produces on high speed. The standard 52” model will use an average of 79 watts of electricity to move the same amount of air that the Fanimation Stellar will move while only using 3 watts. That right, 3!


The Fanimation ceiling fan is just one example. I can give you countless examples of this, providing your are looking at the other big names in large ceiling fans, such as TroposAir, Craftmade, and Minka Aire.

Saving big on air conditioning cost, and feel cooler

In most areas of the United States it gets really hot during the summer months. A ceiling fan, no matter how big and powerful it is, isn’t going to allow you to do away with your AC system altogether and still feel the same amount of comfort. However, what they can do is supplement our air conditioning units and keep them from running so much on hot and humid days.

With traditional ceiling fans you will be lucky to be able to turn your AC thermostat back a couple degrees and still feel comfortable on a hot day. Not with new DC powered large models. With these new fans, being many of them move 12,000 to 14,000+ CFMs of airflow, plus, because they spread the air around the entire room much better than standard models, you can actually turn your thermostat back 5º - 10º and still fill comfortable. And since these types of fans cost less than 1/4 the cost of traditional ones to operate, you will save HUGE money off your air conditioning cost.

You will also help your AC system to last longer due to it having to run less. Not only that, but over time you’ll be paying for less maintenance trips by your heating and air professional. You’ll still want to keep the filters changed, and preform routine maintenance on your system, but costly repairs will practically disappear since the unit will not be turning on nearly as often.

That said, to really help, you will need to have a ceiling fan in all the major areas that you and your family spend most of your time in while at your home. This is because no ceiling fan actually cools the air, not even a big one. They only create a soothing wind chill factor into the area where they are installed, which cannot be duplicated without them. If you only have an oversized ceiling fan in your great room, the air from it will not make it across the house into your bedrooms. So, you’ll need to consider at least installing fans in the bedroom areas also.

Not all fans have to be huge to be efficient


Although true, a good quality grand sized fan will move more airflow than a smaller unit, a normal sized ceiling fan equipped with a DC motor will also be very energy efficient.

In bedrooms, with exception to large master suites, a 72” to 96” ceiling fan may very well overpower the room, and thus not be feasible. Though you may not get 14,000 CFMs of airflow with a 52” to 60” ceiling fan, as long as that smaller fan has a direct current motor installed, you will still benefit from it’s extreme energy savings. It will still provide much more airflow than the same size fan with the old standard motor powering it. On average 30% more airflow, yet it costs less than a third to operate on its highest setting.


All overhead fans with DC motors will help to keep heat from rising and getting trapped at the ceiling, and move it down to the living level where you can enjoy it. This doesn’t mean you will be able to change your comfort level on your thermostat. However, it does mean that your central heat will not be kicking on as much.

I’ll admit, many ceiling fans are a waste during the winter. While it’s true they all reverse and are supposed to save on heating cost, the fact is, even on reverse, they usually produce just a little too much air to work as intended. Too much air movement, means wind chill, which is something you definitely do not want if you’re trying to feel warmer.

DC ceiling fans are different. Instead of three speeds, they all have at least six. These 6-speed ceiling fans have a very slow moving low speed, which is specially designed for use in the reverse mode, for helping with heat reclamation that stays at the ceiling during the winter months. With this super slow setting, it is the perfect amount of air to gently bring the heat back down to the living level for your enjoyment, without offsetting it by producing a wind-chill effect. And since they will only use 3 or 4 watts of power in doing so, their energy consumption will not offset their benefits, as traditional ceiling fans tend to do.

The Final Verdict

You will benefit greatly from a sizable ceiling fan. Make sure it has a DC motor, and don’t be fooled by low-end brands trying to duplicate the large-scale look, while coming nowhere near duplicating the performance. Trust me on that, at my store I carry both, and I have the high-end models in my home (and one ceiling fan outdoors on a covered A-frame deck). If the 72” and up ones below $500 were any good, I would not have spent more on my own.

When you decide to upgrade and really help your heating and AC system rest a little, check out my company, Modern Fan Outlet. You’ll be glad you did. If you have questions, call 1(888) 841-1993. I cannot promise you if I will be there to answer your questions when you call, but I can promise you this - All of my employees are well versed in all areas of knowledge pertaining to large ceiling fans, and all other sizes available. They may not know much else, but they do know their fans.

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Jeff Eller

Owner of & Dan's Fan City in Greensboro, NC

I've worked in the lighting and ceiling fan business since 1991. I currently own a ceiling fan specialty shop in Greensboro, NC. In the past, to the present, not only have a sold a ton of ceiling fans, but I've also helped in designing different styles of ceiling fans that are trending today. While I've never owned a fan manufactuering company, many of my ideas and suggestions have lead to many of the new updated designer styles in the ceilng fan industry today.

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