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After a few late snowstorms here in Colorado, I am more than ready to turn off the heat and enjoy some warm spring weather. We haven't had any heat waves here yet, but many of you have already been trying to stay cool; our friends in Washington, D.C. were sweltering (by comparison) in 90+°F weather just a couple short weeks ago!

Whether you're still anticipating snow or have broken out the sandals and tank tops, you may be starting to think about keeping your summer cooling costs down. One easy way to keep cool while saving money is using a ceiling fan.

Did you know that a ceiling fan could allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F without affecting your comfort? Fans work by creating a wind-chill effect on your skin so you feel cooler. Raising the temperature and using a fan can help you use less energy running your air conditioner; you may even be able to avoid using your air conditioner altogether.

Follow these tips when installing and using a ceiling fan:

  • Purchase a ceiling fan that has earned the ENERGY STAR® to ensure that your unit runs efficiently. Find ENERGY STAR ceiling fans
  • Try to install a ceiling fan in every room that needs cooling when the weather is hot, but ensure that the ceiling is at least eight feet high. Fans work best when the blades are 7–9 feet from the floor and 10–12 inches below the ceiling.
  • Choose a fan that is the appropriate size for the room
  • Follow the manufacturer instructions when installing your ceiling fan
  • Fans cool people, not rooms. Only operate ceiling fans when you are in the room; turn them off when you leave.

If you can't install a ceiling fan, a small portable fan will create the same wind-chill effect and might be a good inexpensive option. Learn more about ceiling fans on, and find more no-cost and low-cost tips to save energy this summer on the Stay Cool, Save Money Web site.