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Fan Vs Air Conditioner Electricity Usage

By Payal B

Texas summers are some of the hottest in the US, bringing up the great debate: fan vs. air conditioner. When you were a kid, it wasn’t a big deal because you could sleep with the fan or air conditioner all night without worrying about your electricity bill. 

Now, as an adult, you dread looking at your electricity bill in the hottest months! 

But what if you could enjoy summer like a kid again, knowing that you would never have to sacrifice your comfort for a lower bill?

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Click the link above and enter your information into our shopping tool so you can find the lowest electricity rates fast! 

Once you have found the electricity plan for you with Power Wizard’s Shopping Tool, read on to learn about the other most cost-effective ways to stay cool in the summer.

Options For Cooling Your Home

As the days get hotter, many people find themselves scrambling to find the best way to cool off.

The most common cooling options for your home are central air conditioning and fans.

It seems like an easy enough choice, right?

Maybe not.

While ceiling or standing fans can be significantly less expensive to operate, they are not always the best choice for various reasons.

And making an informed decision about the cooling of your home isn’t as simple as adding up the dollars and cents.

The best cooling option will vary from person to person. What works well for one person may not be the right choice for another.

Some factors to consider are:

  • What heating and cooling systems do you have in your home
  • The efficiency of your appliances
  • Your health
  • Outside temperatures
  • Your estimated usage

Whichever you choose as the best option, the electricity plan you have can make a huge difference in how much your choice costs you.

Trying Power Wizard’s Shopping Tool is a great way to determine if you are with the best provider for your electricity needs.

There are over 120 different retail electric providers (REPs) in Texas, offering more than 2,000 different residential electricity plans.

Power Wizard takes the guesswork out of finding the best plan for your lifestyle by using a unique algorithm to analyze your data and find the best plan for you.

But first, let’s take a look at the technology of air conditioners and fans to better understand how they work and which one might be best for you.

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Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning uses an outdoor compressor and condenser coil that connects to your indoor furnace, which is fitted with an evaporator coil.

It uses the same types of components and materials as a refrigerator and acts in essentially the same manner.

It pumps cold air through your home and deposits the hot air outside.

Most new homes will have this appliance built-in, but if you live in an older home that uses ductless heating, then the central air conditioning will not be an option for you.

A window or electric unit would be the next best choice.

Do Central Air Conditioners Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Central air conditioners run on electricity, so if you’re running them constantly, they will be consuming a lot of energy.

An important feature to consider when purchasing and installing central air conditioning is the efficiency of the unit.

It’s important to make sure it’s sized properly and designed for energy efficiency.

However, even the most efficient central air conditioner is going to be significantly more costly than a ceiling fan or standing fan.

House Fans

Fans don’t operate in the same way as an air conditioning unit, and they don’t actually cool down a room.

Instead, they create a wind-chill effect.

The fan will blow the air around, making it easier for sweat to evaporate from your skin, thus eliminating body heat.

As your sweat evaporates, you’ll feel cooler.

But plugging in an electric fan will actually increase the heat of a room because the electricity that’s driving the fan turns directly into heat.

Do House Fans Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Fans use significantly less energy than air conditioning and can be a great way to cool off on a hot day.

With cost as the primary consideration, many people opt to use ceiling fans or standing fans in place of air conditioning to save money.

A typical ceiling fan will use about 99% less energy to operate than your central air conditioning unit.

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Mother and daughter enjoy fan - Fan vs Air Conditioner Electricity

Does Leaving A Ceiling Fan On Waste Electricity?

Ceiling fans do not cool a room. They serve no purpose if you’re not sitting directly under one.

While they don’t use a ton of electricity, leaving a ceiling fan on in an unoccupied room is a waste of energy and money.

If you have a hard time remembering to flick the switch as you leave a room, it might be a good idea to invest in occupancy sensors or timers that can do the job for you.

Fan vs. AC Electricity Usage – A Comparison

Fans undoubtedly use less electricity than an air conditioning unit.

In fact, fans use about 99% less energy.

However, they both have their place, and it’s important to use each appliance correctly to get the best results.

Fans, for example, are not recommended when the air temperature is above 95 degrees Fahrenheit as it can cause your body to gain heat, not lose it, by blowing air that’s hotter than your core body temperature.

But when outside temperatures are below 95 degrees, using a fan to direct cooler air inside is an effective way to stay cool while not breaking the bank.

Air conditioners cool the entire room, or house, down.

The process is similar to refrigeration and can be very costly, especially if you have temperatures lower than the recommended 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fan vs. Air Conditioner – Energy Use

Fans definitely serve a purpose on a hot summer day.

By sitting in front of a fan, you can easily cool off as the fan works to evaporate your sweat.

For many people, fans are the go-to source of a cool breeze on a hot day.

However, air conditioners serve their purpose too.

For anyone with a health condition that could be worsened by the heat, and air conditioner provides comfort without the risks to your health.

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What Uses More Energy – AC Or Fan?

An air conditioning unit consumes far more energy than a fan and will cost much more to operate as a result.

Let’s take a look at good friends (and neighbors) Alex and Leo.

The men have lived on the same block in Houston for more than 20 years, both in houses that are similar in style and square footage.

But there’s one glaring difference between the two households:

Their yearly electricity cost.

Alex spends a whopping $800 more on average than Leo does.

That might seem impossible, but Alex has a habit of turning his air conditioning on as early as April and leaving it on until October.

Whereas Leo has invested in ceiling fans in all of the principal rooms, which allows him to run his central air conditioning for only three months of the year.

Alex could be saving $800 a month if he made the same investment, but maybe there’s another issue here.

Alex may not have the electricity plan that best suits his lifestyle and habits.

Running his air conditioning less frequently will certainly save him money, but it’s possible that Alex could continue with his current habits and still save.

By entering some basic information about his location and electricity usage into our Shopping ToolAlex would learn if his electric provider is costing him more than necessary.

Power Wizard’s unique algorithm matches residents who live in deregulated areas of Texas with the best possible plan for their needs.

Average Fan Electricity Usage Per Hour

A fan is an inexpensive way to cool down on a hot day.

Whether you choose a ceiling fan or a standing fan, the electricity usage is going to vary and depends on these two factors:

  • How many watts the fan uses
  • Your cost per kWh

In Texas, the average cost of electricity is $0.1098 per kilowatt-hour.

Ceiling fans, for example, range from about 15 to 120 watts per hour (without the lights), depending on the model.

Based on the numbers provided, the most anyone should pay to operate a ceiling fan is around $113/year if your fan is constantly running.

However, there could be an even cheaper way.

Take Daniel, for example…

Daniel works in construction, and when he gets home late after a long day, he likes to take a cool shower and fall asleep under the ceiling fan in his bedroom.

Daniel isn’t running his fan 24 hours a day, but only in the evenings and on weekends.

But what Daniel doesn’t know is that his already frugal method of cooling off at the end of the day could be costing him even less.

If he had used Power Wizard’s Shopping Tool, then he may have been paired with a REP that offered free evenings.

Daniel could have been saving at least $39/year in electricity costs based on his ceiling fan usage alone.

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Saving on all other electricity used during the hours he is normally home.

Average Air Conditioner Electricity Usage Per Hour

Air conditioning is one of the most expensive appliances to run in your home.

How much your air conditioning costs you will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Age and efficiency of the appliance
  • Age and efficiency of your home
  • Square footage of your home
  • Daily usage
  • Outdoor conditions
  • Thermostat setting
  • Your cost per kWh of electricity

But let’s go ahead with an estimate as to what your air conditioning might cost you if you’re running it daily for the four hottest months of the year.

The average cost of electricity in Texas is $0.1098 per kWh, and the average central air conditioning unit uses about 3000-5000 watts per hour.

Based on these numbers, the average household can expect to pay in the range of $481/year for air conditioning.

At least that’s what Angela thought…

Angela recently moved into her 2-bedroom home in Houston and set herself up on a variable rate electricity plan with a well-known REP.

She wanted to make sure she was never paying more for electricity than she needed to.

But what Angela didn’t consider is that the price of electricity goes up during the summer months.

Due to a health condition, Angela simply cannot withstand the heat of summer in Texas, and she uses her air conditioning 24 hours a day.

Did Angela make the best choice in electricity?

Probably not.

Had Angela used our Shopping Tool, then she would have had peace of mind knowing that she was paying the least possible amount for her lifestyle and consumption habits.

Spending five minutes could have saved Angela hundreds of dollars.

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Woman on couch - Fan vs Air Conditioner Electricity

Cost Of Running Fan vs. Air Conditioner

The cost of air conditioning is clearly much higher than just running fans all summer long, so why bother with AC at all?

The fact is, most people feel more comfortable in an air-conditioned space during those hot summer months.

And with the right electricity plan, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you would expect.

Power Wizard can help.

Using our Shopping Tool, you will be instantly paired with the best plan in your area so that you can start saving money now.

Fan vs. AC… we’ve got you covered either way.

What Costs More – Fan vs. AC?

While fans are substantially less money to operate, they simply don’t provide the cooling power of an air conditioner.

They are two completely different technologies, but when paired together, they can provide the cooling effect you desire and save you money too.

Cost To Run Ceiling Fan All Day

Running a ceiling fan 24 hours a day is not advisable, even if it doesn’t cost very much.

Any time you are not in a room and leave a fan on, the fan is serving no purpose and therefore wasting money.

However, if you are home all day and need to use the fan to keep cool, the cost is relatively low.

There are two things to consider here:

  • Your cost of electricity
  • The efficiency of the fan

Based on the averages provided, running a fan for 24 hours in Texas will cost approximately 31 cents.

Cost To Run AC All Day

When using central air conditioning, most people leave the unit running 24 hours a day.

This can be costly, but there are ways to reduce this overall expense.

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For example, you can:

  • Set your manual thermostat to a higher temperature
  • Use a programmable thermostat to reduce usage when you are not home
  • Place a fan in the room

Based on our averages from earlier, most people should expect that running central air conditioning will cost about $4.00 a day.

Cut Costs By Using Both Fans and AC

Did you know that using both a fan and central air conditioning can SAVE you money?

Comparing the cost of operating a fan to the cost of operating an air conditioning unit is contradictory.

Because they serve entirely different purposes, it doesn’t make sense to compare the two.

For example…

Fans blow air toward you, evaporating your sweat and cooling you down. But eventually, you may feel hot again as the fan blows hot air around the room.


Air conditioners use technology that cools the air before depositing it into your home, but you may be setting your thermostat too low.

Luckily, there’s a way to use both to your benefit.

Benefits Of Using Fans Along with AC

Running your fan in an air-conditioned room allows you to turn the thermostat up a few degrees and still feel comfortable with the temperature of the room.

Simply speaking, the fan will blow cool air instead of hot air.

For example:

Liz and Helen live in the same apartment building, each in a one-bedroom floor plan. Both women run air conditioning units in their bedrooms at night.

Helen has been paying almost $100 more per month than Liz, without even knowing it.

How is it possible that Helen’s bill is so much higher than Liz’s?

Because Helen runs her AC at a temperature of 71 degrees to keep cool on a hot summer’s night.

But Liz keeps her set comfortably at 77 degrees because she also uses a small fan at the foot of her bed.

Since the fan uses much less energy to operate, Liz keeps her electricity costs down while still staying cool at night.

If you typically set your thermostat to a temperature of 71 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you could be spending an awful lot on cooling your home.


Plug a fan in, and you can comfortably raise your thermostat to 78 degrees.

This allows the fan to blow the cool air on your skin and save you money.

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Mother and children - Fan vs Air Conditioner Electricity

Do You Have the Right Plan For Your Electricity Usage?

With so many REPs to choose from, how can you be sure you have the best plan for your unique needs?

It’s nearly impossible to know for sure.

Many consumers think they have the best plan, but what they don’t realize is that they could be saving hundreds of dollars every year.

It’s not uncommon in deregulated Texas for customers to miss out on what’s available in their area.

Manually Check Your Options

Finding the best plan for your electricity needs could take hours, even days, of internet research and phone calls.

And you would still not know for certain if you have the best plan available.

There are more than 160 REPs offering over 2,000 electricity plans in Texas.

You would have to develop a system to compare every plan based on:

  • Your usage habits
  • Age and square footage of your home
  • Your location

In addition to this, you’ll have to consider the variables in each of the plans offered by every single REP, including:

  • Variable vs. fixed rate
  • Perks and benefits
  • Connection and cancellation fees
  • Free evenings

Add to this the quality of customer service. Are you prepared for:

  • Long hold times on the phone
  • Agents who can’t help you
  • Service and maintenance that takes too long

The process of compiling this mass of information would seem like a colossal task to anyone.

And really, who has time for that?

Feeling in over your head before you’ve even started? Well, don’t worry…

We did the work for you.

Let Power Wizard Do The Work

Power Wizard’s unique and unbiased algorithm uses the data you provide to search through thousands of plans offered by more than 160 REPs in Texas to find the absolute best plan for your lifestyle.

  • We don’t take payouts or commissions from any electricity provider.
  • We work exclusively for you, the customer.
  • We’ll even take care of setting up your new plan, and we’ll cancel your current plan as well.
  • We take into account any cancellation fees you may be responsible for.

All it takes is five minutes, and it’s completely free.

What have you got to lose?

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