Which is cheaper air conditioning or ceiling fans?

The short answer is ceiling fans. BUT, and there's a big but. This question is a bit too simplistic and doesn't take into account the cooling capacity, the climate you live in, your property, and many other variables which can dictate the climate control required in your home or business.

Which is cheaper air conditioning or fans?

Ceiling fans provide a great economic cooling option in many situations. Installing a ceiling fan is fairly inexpensive and once in requires minimal maintenance. The cost to run a fan is little more than an incandescent light bulb (around 2c an hour), which makes it affordable to leave it on all day and night if you need to.

Ceiling fans cool people, not rooms

However, a ceiling fan doesn't actually chill the air, the fresh breeze it generates acts to reduce the temperature of your skin making you feel cooler. Unless you're actually sitting where you can feel the air movement you won't benefit from the ceiling fan. This can be an issue in large rooms or open plan living areas.

Some find the noise and constant air movement from a fan annoying, especially when they're sleeping. If you're lucky enough to live up in the northern half of Australia in a very hot humid climate, ceiling fans can be ineffective as they only seem to move the humid air around without providing relief from the heat.

On the upside, as well as only needing a wipe over every few months ceiling fan can last for many years (up to 20 depending on the quality of the appliance and usage). Plus, you can get your electrician to whack one up where ever you need it, even outside on the verandah (you can't do that with an air con).

For a real chill, an air conditioner is the way to go

The right air conditioner, on the other hand, can easily cool large areas such as open plan homes or office spaces. Ducted systems are especially effective at providing whole home or office temperature control. For a smaller space split system air cons are perfectly suited, with some brands offering energy efficient 5 Star rated models which can help keep the operation costs down.

The expense of purchasing and installing an air conditioning system is significantly more than a fan, plus the unit needs to be regularly serviced to maintain the systems efficiency and effectiveness. Operation costs vary depending on the style, the size of the unit, and how much you use it but can be anywhere from $0.11 to $0.57 per hour for a small reverse cycle split system up to $2.26 to $2.67 for a whole home ducted system.

Be that as it may, having the option to set a timer to turn the air con on so you get in from work to a lovely cool home cannot be overlooked on steaming hot summer days. This alone could easily justify the financial outlay for an air conditioner.

But wait, there's another option

Ok, one last but. These two appliances need not be seen as a one or the other choice. Used in conjunction a ceiling fan and an air conditioner can actually create a much cooler home, for less. Using a fan to recirculate the cool air conditioned air around the room means you don't need to set the thermostat so low, there's less work for the air con and it reduces running costs. Win, win.

Still not sure on the best way to cool your home? Speak to our experienced air conditioning team for advice on the most suitable option for your home, budget, and cooling requirements.

Ref - canstarblue.com.au