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Fans Do More Than Support the Team

Blow away high energy costs this summer with cool air flow

Much of the country is feeling the effects of this summer's heat wave, some without the benefit of rainfall relief. When the dog days of summer kick in, most folks kick on their air conditioners, and along with the cool refreshment comes higher utility bills. For some people, especially the elderly, cranking the AC may be the best bet when temperatures and humidity soar. But for the majority, "keeping your cool" while saving on energy costs can be as easy as choosing the right fan.

Long before air conditioning was invented, moving air by means of a fan was the only way to feel refreshed. As the cost of electricity escalates, people are rediscovering its benefits. Air cools as it moves, and fans increase the rate of air flow. Utilizing a fan when temperatures soar is a way to save both money and energy while cooling off your home.

The most popular types of indoor fans fall into two categories: Installed (or permanent) and portable. Choosing which is right for you depends on where you live. If you rent your space, don't go installing anything permanently (landlords never like that).

A ceiling fan is the most common "permanent" installation, although it doesn't have to be forever. Since they come in a variety of styles and colors to suit your home's décor, you can change ceiling fans as often as you like.

Another type of installed unit is a whole-house fan, which is permanently mounted between the ceiling and the attic to pull outside air through the house and exhaust it into the attic. The principle works best when the outside air temperature is cooler than inside the structure. Attic fans also are available - they help to exhaust the extremely hot air that can build up under the roof.

Portable fans include box fans and stand fans, among others. Box fans are usually rather large and can be placed on the floor or in a window to help move air through the space quickly. Stand fans are smaller and lighter and can be placed on a table, desk or shelf. Some stand fans oscillate to move air in varying directions, which can be comforting when numerous people are occupying one space.

When selecting fans, it's important to understand your expectations and cooling needs. While there's no need to install a whole-house fan to cool one room, expecting a small oscillating stand fan to cool down a four-room apartment is unrealistic.

Fans are rated by the amount of cubic feet per minute of air they can move and by energy efficiency - the wattage they consume. By understanding these factors and knowing the cubic footage (width, length and height) of the rooms you want to cool, your local Ace retailer can help you in the selection process. Finally, be sure that any fan you purchase is tested and approved by an authorized independent source such as Underwriters Laboratories to ensure it is rated as safe.

If you read through this and decide you still need some help, don't despair - ask the helpful folks at your neighborhood Ace store! And remember, if you have home improvement questions and need a little advice, send me an email at asklou@acehardware.com - I'd be glad to help!

Keep your cool,

-Lou

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