Alternative to Ceiling Fans


Ceiling fans can be an energy-saving cooling strategy, however, their installation is not always feasible. Whether you live in an apartment, have very low ceilings or can't afford a fan for every room of your home, there are several alternatives to ceiling fans.

Portable Fans

  • Portable fans come in many formats, including box fans, pedestal fans, table fans, tower fans and window fans. They offer many advantages over ceiling fans. Often, portable fans are less expensive to buy and don't require much electricity to run, especially compared with a central cooling system. Because they are usually lightweight and easy to move around, you can position them to blow toward a certain part of the room or move them to another space. Some units have special features, including timers, remote controls as well as oscillation capabilities.

Natural Ventilation

  • Rely on passive cooling strategies instead of installing a ceiling fan. Open opposing windows to create a cross-current breeze in your home. Older homes were constructed with transom windows above the door. Since heat rises, these interior "windows" allow the air to circulate among rooms. Install window shades to block direct sunlight, which can heat a room by several degrees. Tall trees and shrubs also can help to block sunlight and keep your home cooler.

Other Ideas

  • Choose a nontraditional ceiling-mounted fan. Many manufacturers make "ceiling huggers" that maintain a tight profile to the ceiling. These work especially well for spaces with low ceilings. Avoid attaching light fixtures and rely instead on ambient light from lamps or wall fixtures. Another product to consider is a DiskFan (see the resource section). Unlike a propeller fan, these compact devices are smaller than the average light fixture and circulate air throughout the room without creating a draft.

    Although not a budget-friendly or eco-conscious option, you can rely on your central heat and air system or window air-conditioners to cool your home.

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