Cool and Circulate the Air All Over Your Home with Fans

There are many ways to use less air conditioning by making better use of fans. For example, if your second floor doesn’t get as cool as your first floor when your air conditioning is running, so you make your first floor cooler than necessary, you can circulate the second floor air with fans to make the second floor more comfortable and leave the first floor at it’s ideal temperature. 

When the outdoor air is cooler than the indoor air, you can use window fans to draw in outdoor air to cool your home. This will also remove air that is more humid and not as clean as outdoor air.

You can set the thermostat a little higher in summer and have the same comfort level if you use large fans to circulate the air in the rooms you occupy. Breezes cool you because good air circulation causes heat to leave your body.

Window Fans

Window fans are normally used to cool the home by blowing out air, which is replaced by cooler air entering from open windows or air that leaks in from around windows and doors, through laundry and bathroom exhausts, and other places. Some window fans have reversible direction control, to move air in or out of the house. All window fans have rain-resistant motors and “expander panels”, which slide outward to block air from flowing around the fan.

Expander panels are important because without them the air pressure would be low behind the fans, causing outside air to be drawn in next to the fans and be blown out. Thus, box fans should not be used in windows, because they have no expander panels and also because they are not rain-resistant. 

Single blade window fans normally have 16″ or 20” blades and are used in double hung windows. Dual blade window fans have two 7″, 8” or 9” blades and are also used in double hung windows. There are also window fans designed for sliding windows and casement windows, called “vertical window fans”. Most of these have three small blades.

Single blade window fans create much greater airflow than dual blade window fans, but they block the view through the window. Most single blade fans create airflows of between 2500 CFM and 3500 CFM. Dual blade fans have airflow rates in the range of 750 CFM to 1500 CFM. These ranges are only approximate because most manufactures don’t give them, but they may be printed on the box or on the company’s website or the store’s website.

The maximum airflows are similar for fans of a particular blade size with three speeds. They are similar because the fans would be too noisy at a higher speed. The wattages are not given for most window fans, but you can estimate it using the models which do give the wattage. One 1400 CFM dual blade window fan uses 70 watts at high speed and one 3560 CFM single blade fan shown above uses 170 watts at high speed. These wattages may not indicate your electricity usage because you may run the fan at lower speeds to be quieter.

Almost all window fans have three speeds, some models allow the window screen to remain in, and some are “electrically reversible”, to blow air in or out. Window fans with thermostat control measure the inside and outside temperatures and go on when the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature. To use these you must of course leave the window open during the day.

Electrically reversible window fans allow you to cool a room rapidly when it is much cooler outside than inside.

Use and care manuals warn that it is unsafe, but not forbidden to use extension cords, so try to put your window fans in windows close to electrical outlets. Never use an old cord or a thin, low-wattage cord designed for lamps. Both of these present serious fire hazards. See  Fan Electrical Safety  

Portable Fans

You can create a breeze anywhere in your home if you use the right portable fans. Buy several types and test them to find which work best in every part of your home: box fans, floor fans, stand fans (pedestal fans), tabletop fans and clip on fans.

Box Fans

Box fans are large, inexpensive, relatively powerful fans that rest on the floor. Most models have three speeds. They run quietly at low speed and create a high airflow at high speed. The 20″ models create airflows of over 2000 CFM (cubic ft. per min). Most models should not be used in windows because they are not rain-resistant.

Box fans are more popular than stand fans because they are less expensive, easy to carry from room to room, and easy to store. Most have 20” blades, which gives them greater airflow than stand fans, but they need greater airflow to cool as well as stand fans because they blow the air close to the floor, where you don’t feel it as strongly, and because the air doesn’t move across the room well at floor level. There are 10″ rain resistant box fans which can be used either as window fans or set on the floor. These are lighter in weight than window fans.

Floor Fans

Floor fans are normally large fans that rest on the floor and tilt slightly upward. They basically have greater airflows than other types of portable fans They cool more effectively than box fans because they can be tilted upward to aim the breeze toward your upper body and because the air flows farther than if it were moving across the floor.

They are available in a very wide range of sizes, from models with 9″ blades which produce only about 300 CFM to models with 20″ blades that produce 5000 CFM. The largest stand fans produce about 3000 CFM. The maximum airflow is not given for most models, but those that produce very high airflow may be labeled as “20 inch high velocity floor fans”. 

The size and weight of a floor fan will help you estimate its airflow relative to other floor fans. Weights are given on the websites of the store where the fans are sold. The largest floor fans available at most stores produce airflows of about 3000 CFM. The largest stand fans available at most stores may be about 2000 CFM, but stand fans, unlike floor fans, have models available which oscillate over a wide angle.

Stand Fans (Pedestal Fans)

Stand fans, also called “pedestal fans”, are mounted on adjustable-height stands. They can be more effective than floor fans or box fans because they create a breeze at chest level where you feel it more strongly, and because air flows farther at that level. Many are designed to oscillate about 80º to cover a large area. Their maximum airflow is limited by the size and weight of the base.

Stand fans with high airflow rates and heavy bases are not popular and are not sold in most stores. This is presumably because they are hard to move around the house. The most popular models have a light-weight disk base and 16” blades that produce about 1100 CFM. This is about half the airflow of the typical box fan.

Most models with heavy disk bases have large 18″ blades and produce about 2000 CFM. The largest stand fans have large, four-legged bases and produce over 3000 CFM. These can create breeze for an entire floor. 

Oscillating stand fans can be used next to a window air conditioner or a mini split heat pump to circulate its cold air throughout the room.

Tower Fans

Tower fans are tall, narrow fans that are shaped like a tower and have no blades. In place of blades they have a long, thin drum with many small wind vanes attached. The drum rotates within an outer casing and the wind vanes throw out air all along the fan. The outer casing has an opening directs the air. Many models oscillate, to cool a large area. The most popular models range from 3 ft. to 4 ft. tall. They are quieter than any other type of large, portable fan because the rotating drum is in a casing and because their are no blades.

Tower fans are very popular, in spite of being the most expensive type of portable fan. They are good for bedrooms because they are quiet and take up less floor space. Their airflows range from less than 1000 CFM to over 3000 CFM. This is about the same as the range of airflows of stand fans. Some models have a feature called an “ionizer”. This allows the fan to electrically remove dust and smoke from the air as it passes through.

Tabletop (desktop) tower fans are typically about 12″ high. They are quieter and produce higher airflows than other table top fans, so they are good to set on a table or desk to cool you while you work. Many models produce about 400 CFM. Their airflows are usually not given on the packages or the websites.

The energy efficiency of tower fans is hard to compare to that of stand fans because the manufacturers of each type seldom give the wattage used by their products. However, tower fans that have ionizer features are much less efficient than those that do not, because ionizers use much electricity.

Table Fans

Table fans, also called tabletop fans, range in size from models with 4″ blades that you set close to you on a desk or table, to models with 12″ blades which can move air across the room. The smallest have airflows of about 160 CFM and the 12″ models have airflows ranging from 400 to 900 CFM.

They are the most energy efficient type of fan for one person because they can cool you as well as a large fan if you are sitting at a desk or table, while using much less electricity. There  are usb models, which you can plug into your computer, low voltage models which use a transformer, and 120-volt models, which are the most powerful. There are oscillating models and other features available, such as three speeds. 

As mentioned above, there are also table top tower fans. These are normally about 12″ tall and produce about 400 CFM. They are quiet and powerful and take up less desk space than table fans that produce this much airflow.

You can estimate the maximum airflow of a table fan if it is not given, by comparing its weight and blade diameter to that of larger and smaller models which do give their airflow. The main other factor is the power source. As mentioned, 120-volt models have the greatest airflow. The weight is often given on websites and the heaviest fans tend to have the highest airflows.

Clip On Fans

“Clip on fans” are very small fans that clamp onto the edge of a desk or table, so they don’t take any space. They are quieter than most table fans because most table fans make a little noise vibrating against the table. Many are battery powered and easy to move around the house.

Their airflows aren’t given, but the 120-volt models have the highest airflow and the battery powered models have the lowest. Some are powered by 12-volt transformers and some are USB-powered, to plug into your computer or a USB transformer.

Energy Tips for Window Fans and Portable Fans

  • Cool a large room or an entire floor by creating cross-ventilation, using one or two window fans, or stand fans next to open windows. With two fans, run them on opposite sides of the room or floor with one blowing in and one blowing out. A window fan will blow inward if it is electrically reversible. direction.

    To create cross-ventilation using one fan, run it at a window and open about two windows on the opposite side of the room or floor.
  • When the nights are cool and the days are hot enough to use air conditioning, run window fans, or stand fans next to open windows all night long. Much of the heat energy stored in the walls, floors and ceilings of your home will be released into the air and escape from the house, so you will need much less air conditioning on those days.
  • When it is cooler outside than inside, bring in cool air throughout the first floor by opening a window on the top floor and 2 or 3 windows on the first floor. Run a window fan or a stand fan at the top floor window, blowing out the air. This will draw in cool air through the open windows on the first floor.
  • To cool a room rapidly when it is cooler outside than inside the home, close the door to the room and open 2 windows as far apart as possible. Run a window fan or stand fan at one of the windows to blow out air. Cool air will flow in strongly through the other open window.
  • Own at least three stand fans. With your windows closed, you can move them to locations where they will create breeze almost anywhere you are in your home.
  • Mount an outdoor thermometer outside a window where you can see it from inside, and mount an indoor thermometer nearby, to quickly compare the temperatures. When the outside air is cooler, you can open windows and blow out air with fans. Outdoor thermometers are sold at garden stores, hardware stores, and garden departments of home centers.
  • Instead of using an indoor and an outdoor thermometer, mount a thermometer inside which has an inside and an outside temperature sensor. These are available at many hardware and home centers.
  • If the outside air is about the same temperature or a little warmer than the inside temperature when you go to bed, open several upstairs windows and turn off the central air conditioning. When it becomes cooler outside than inside, air will begin flowing out of the windows.

In the morning the house will be cooler as a result, and use less air conditioning. Heat energy will flow out of the walls, floors and ceilings.

  • When a fan is blowing air out a window, close the nearby windows. The air pressure will be slightly lower near the fan and this will draw air into the home through nearby open windows. It would be blown out by the fan, and much less air would be drawn into the home through windows in other rooms, to cool the home.
  • Use an oscillating stand fan next to a window air conditioner or mini split heat pump to circulate its cold air throughout the room.
  • With the whole house air conditioning running, raise the thermostat temperature by a few degrees and check if certain rooms are uncomfortable. If a room is too warm, use a large stand fan or large floor fan to blow air into it from a cooler room.
  • Leave open the door leading to the basement and run a box fan at the top of the basement stairs or run a stand fan at the bottom, to bring up the cooler air from the basement. The basement can be 20 degrees cooler than the first floor.
  • If you have transoms, you can cool a room rapidly when the outdoor temperature is cooler than the indoor temperature, while keeping the room’s door closed. Open the transom over that room’s door and open one window and blow in air through the window with a stand fan or a reversible window fan.

    If you have transoms that don’t open, you can normally restore them to working order by cutting the paint around their edges. Don’t open a nearby window because much of the air that the fan brings in would leave through that window.

In the Bedrooms

  • Sleep with a stand fan or tower fan blowing breeze over the bed. A tower fan is the quietest type of large portable fan. A high airflow stand fan running at a low speed is quieter than a low airflow model running at high speed and may create about the same airflow.
  • If you cool bedrooms with window fans, control them with “daily timers”. These are simple to use and inexpensive. The fan cord is plugged into it. You could, for example, set the timer to run the fan for two hours before going to bed to cool the room, then turn it off at midnight for quieter sleeping.

    Buy a heavy duty model, not one designed for table lamps.
  • If you fall asleep with a fan running because you are too tired to get up and turn it off, buy a “wireless remote control appliance controller” to turn off the fan with a remote. A component is plugged into an electrical outlet and the fan cord is plugged into it.

    There are kits that allow you to control 1, 3 or 5 appliances from one or two remotes so you can turn off your fans and lamps from a bed or from 2 beds. They are sold at home centers and online.

In the Home Office

  • Try using a clip on fan at your desk or table. It could give extra breeze if the office has a large fan blowing. As mentioned, the 120-volt models create the greatest airflow.
  • The quietest way to create a strong breeze at a desk is to use a 48″ tower fan.
  • Use a table top tower fan at your desk or table. Tower fans of all sizes are much quieter and take up less space. Table top tower fans are typically about 12″ high.

In the Kitchen

  • If your floor space is very limited, use a large tabletop fan (12″) on a table or counter. If your floor space is fairly limited, use an oscillating stand fan adjusted to a height higher than the counters.
  • If your kitchen is large, a large stand fan may be the best choice.

In the Workshop

  • Use a large stand fan or a box fan. Box fans are inexpensive and easy to store.

Whole House Fans

Whole house fans move air from the entire house up to the attic, where it leaves the house through the attic vents (gable vents, ridge vents, soffit vents). They are normally in the attic floor, but “ducted whole house fans” have a vent in the attic floor, and the fan draws the air through the vent and a short, wide duct (see below).

These fans cool the home well when it is cooler outside than inside and windows are opened throughout the house.

Large whole house fans can purge a house of hot air in two to three minutes. Some whole house fans have shutters that close automatically when the fan is not operating. Unless your home is unusually air-tight, a whole house fan will cool your home even with the windows closed.

Two types of whole house fans are mounted to the attic floor: belt drive fans and direct drive fans. Belt drive fans are quieter but more costly, although the more expensive direct drive fans are also quiet. Ducted whole house fans are mounted to the attic ceiling rafters above the opening in the ceiling, and draw the air up to them through a duct.

They are quieter and allow you to avoid cutting a very large hole in your attic floor. Their problem is that they are much smaller and create much less air flow. 

Before  installing a whole house fan, check that your attic has as much attic vent area as required by the fan’s manufacturer. If not, the fan will draw less air out of the house. Also, the air pressure in the attic will become too high, forcing hot attic air down into the living area and causing a push on the roof structure, which could be harmful.

You can install a fan that requires more attic vent area than you have by cutting additional soffit or gable vents or by installing a “roof turbine vent”. These rely on wind to be fully effective but they vent air when there is no wind. They are used mainly in warm climates, where the homes use more cooling that heating. 

Pros and Cons of Installing a Whole House Fan

  • With maximum use, they can significantly reduce your use of central air conditioning.
  • They purify the home’s air by replacing it.
  • On cool nights, run a whole house fan to draw in air through the bedroom windows and turn off the bedroom air conditioners. This is quieter and saves electricity.
  • They create a comfortable breeze, especially in rooms with open windows.
  • In cool evenings, they can cool the home in minutes, much faster than whole house air conditioning.
  • They increase the property value of the home
  • They require much work to install and can only be done by contractors or very experienced do-it-yourselfers. An electrician must make a circuit only for that fan, running a cable from the circuit panel to the attic.

    This will normally be run on the outer wall of the house. It could also be run through a chase way that houses the stack (the large pipe that runs from basement to attic).
  • They can raise the humidity in the home on rainy days. When the pollen count is high, pollen will enter.
  • Belt drive and direct drive fans, which are both mounted directly to the attic floor, are slightly noisy due to air moving through them. This bothers some people when sleeping with their bedroom doors open.

Energy Tips for Using Whole House Fans

  • Run the fan whenever the outside air is cooler than the inside air. If you open only the windows in the rooms you are using, these rooms will receive all the air and become cooler very fast.
  • Run the fan all night when it is cooler outside than inside and you will be using whole house air conditioning the next day. The walls, floors and ceilings of your home will lose heat energy into the cooler air all night and leave the home, so less air conditioning will be needed the next day.
  • Never run a whole house fan with all the windows closed and the fireplace damper open. The fan will lower the air pressure in the house, causing air to flow down the chimney, bringing soot into the house.
  • Replace the switch with a programmable timer switch. These are typically programmable for 7 days. You could set the switch to run your fan for a few hours in the evening to cool the house in time to go to sleep. If your ceiling fan is slightly noisy, you could set the switch to run the fan only earlier at night to interfere less with your sleeping.

    You must buy a switch with an electric capacity as high as your fan. A switch’s electric capacity is given in its specifications. Many have a capacity of 500 watts, which is more than sufficient. Others have a capacity of 15 amps, which is 1200 watts.
  • If you have a very old whole house fan that is not running, you may be able to repair it. Models from the mid twentieth century are often belt drive, and often failed because their motors burned out. If your motor doesn’t run but the fan blades rotate, replace the motor. Any motor of the same horsepower can be used.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can create strong breeze, which allows you to turn down or turn off your air conditioning . It has been estimated that a correctly-sized ceiling fan can allow you to raise the air conditioning thermostat setting by as much as 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Sleeping with a ceiling fan running allows you to use less air conditioning because the breeze removes a layer of warm air from the blanket.

A ceiling fan uses only about as much electricity as a large incandescent light bulb. The large models use about 85 watts and the smallest models use about 50 watts. Also, the right fan will beautify almost any room, increasing the property value of your home.

Energy Tips for Buying Ceiling Fans

  • To use less air conditioning, install ceiling fans in all of the rooms where they are commonly used: the living room, the bedrooms and the sun room. They could appear out-of-place in other rooms and may not increase the property value of your home.
  • Buy fans with larger blade size than necessary. They can be run at lower speeds; larger ceiling fans running at a lower speeds use less electricity to create the same airflow. Also, they run quieter.
  • To use ceiling fans in place of air conditioning as often as possible, buy fans with the maximum airflow for the blade size of your choice. This varies greatly for a given blade size because there are different blade pitches (the angle of the blades), numbers of blades, motor speeds, and blade shapes. The maximum airflow may be given on a fan’s label on the box, in CFM (cubic ft. /min). It may also be given in a fan’s specifications, which is on the website of some retail stores.

    Listed in the Specifications will probably be “Energy Guide”. This is a link to the ENERGYGUIDE for the fan, which gives its airflow, airflow efficiency, and estimated annual energy cost.

    Ceiling fans with the highest airflow efficiencies may not have the maximum airflows, so if your objective is to use fans in place of air conditioning you may not choose the most efficient models. Energy Star rated models are most efficient but these are 52” and larger.

    The efficiency is the product of the fan’s size (the largest fans are most efficient), the blade pitch, the number of blades, the shape of the blades, and the efficiency of the motor.
  • Ceiling fans controlled by remotes may use less electricity per month than models operated by pull chains because if a fan has a pull chain you may not always turn it off when you leave the room.
  • Some manufacturers recommend mounting two fans in a room that is greater than 18 feet long.
  • If there are loose papers that would be disturbed by a strong breeze, buy a fan that is larger than the manufacturer’s recommended size and run it at low speed.

Energy Tips for Using Ceiling Fans

  • When running ceiling fans with the central air conditioning operating, raise the thermostat temperature a few degrees so that the air conditioner runs a little less.
  • Use ceiling fans to draw air into the home on cool evenings. Set them to rotate counterclockwise, as in the cooling season. If you open the upper sashes instead of the lower sashes, slightly more air will be drawn in.
  • If you use many ceiling fans, post a note next to the air conditioning thermostat control, such as:

  • Check that your ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise in the cooling season. All ceiling fans rotate counterclockwise to push air downward to create breeze.

    If a fan is rotating clockwise in the cooling season, reverse its direction by sliding a switch on the side of the fan or by pressing the “reverse” button on the remote. If the fan has neither of these it may have a switch on its top surface or you may have to remove a small cover plate on the bottom to access the switch.
  • If you use ceiling fans in the winter and in the summer, post a note on a wall to remind you to reverse the fans’ direction. For example:

  • Do not run the fans in winter unless the ceilings are unusually high. Fan manufacturers and utility companies recommend that you run them in winter in reverse direction to remove the layer of warm air at the top of the room, but if you don’t have unusually high ceilings, the effect is almost insignificant and there are problems with doing it.

    First, people very often forget to reverse the direction when the cooling season starts, and the fans run in the wrong direction all summer. Second, it shortens the life of the fan and may cause the blades to loosen sooner.
  • If a fan is using 60-watt incandescent bulbs, replace them with 13-watt mini-CFL bulbs or with LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs convert about 80% of the electricity used into heat, which increases the need for air conditioning, and they waste most of the electricity used.
  • If you sometimes let your bedroom ceiling fan run all night to avoid getting out of bed to turn it off, convert it to remote control. A “ceiling fan remote kit” converts ceiling fans turned on with a pull chain to remote control; you can carry around a remote. The kit includes a receiver that you install in the canopy of the fan or in the ceiling next to the fan.

    To install the kit you should have experience in home wiring. You don’t need to take down the fan, only slide down the canopy, put in the receiver and connect the wires. The kits are sold at most stores where fans are sold.
  • If you have a ceiling fan you don’t use because it wobbles or shakes badly, fix it. See the section below, “How to Repair Loose or Wobbly Ceiling Fans”

How to Repair Loose or Wobbly Ceiling Fans

If you have a ceiling fan that you don’t use because it wobbles, repair it. Fans most often wobble because their blades aren’t screwed on tightly or because the blades are badly out of balance.

There are normally three large screws attaching each blade to a bracket and two large screws attaching the bracket to the body of the fan. Tighten all of these with a #3 Philips screwdriver. This is larger than the most common sized Philips screwdriver.  

After tightening the screws, balance the blades. To do this, measure the distance from the tip of each blade to the ceiling. If one or two blades is higher are higher than the others, tape a weight, such as a large steel nut onto them to make them level with the others. 

If one or two blades are lower than the others and they are connected to braces with three screws, loosen the screws and slip in a piece of cardboard to slightly raise its angle.

If you have a ceiling fan you don’t use because it shakes or wobbles and its blades are tight and not out of balance, the fan may not be firmly mounted. It may be mounted to an electrical box that is not be firmly mounted. To check, lower the canopy to see the mounting bracket and electrical box. Shake the fan and notice if the electrical box moves. Often, a small, rectangular electrical box designed for a ceiling light is being used, and this is unsafe.

This box could be replaced with a box designed for ceiling fans, but if the wiring is very old, replacing the box could easily damage the insulation, which is dangerous. To stabilize the fan, mount it directly to the ceiling, not only to the box. It is better to hire an electrician to do this.

A ceiling fan electrical box may be supported by a brace that is attached to the adjacent floor joists. The box will be attached to the brace by 2 screws, and if they come loose the fan may shake or wobble. If an unfinished attic is above the fan, it is easy to see and tighten those screws. 

Energy Tips and Safety Tips for Mounting Ceiling Fans

  • If you are installing a ceiling fan on a high ceiling, buy a downrod to lower the fan 7 to 8 ft. above the floor. This will create greater air circulation at the level where people walk. Downrods of many lengths are available wherever fans are sold. The instructions for assembling a fan show how to assemble it with a longer downrod.

    Unfortunately, you normally cannot lower an existing fan by replacing it’s downrod. In almost all cases, the installer of the fan cut the wires to the correct length, and you should not extend them because you would need to make connections inside the downrod, which is unsafe.
  • If the fan will be controlled by a wall switch, a dimmer designed for lights cannot be used. Only a ceiling fan dimmer may be used. A dimmer that is not designed for ceiling fans will destroy a ceiling fan by reducing the voltage to a level that is too low for a fan motor.
  • If the fan has pull chain and you install a ceiling fan dimmer, set the pull chain speed at high and cut off the chain. If the dimmer and the pull chain control are at low speed the motor will burn up.
  • A ceiling fan can be installed on a ceiling of any slope, but if it is greater than about 34 degrees a special mounting cap and down rod must be used. The installation instructions should explain this.
  • If you are replacing a ceiling light with a ceiling fan, check if the electrical box is a small rectangular box designed for lighting. If possible, replace this type of electrical box with a round plastic box designed for ceiling fans. This is not always possible,

    Most importantly, do not attempt to do this if the cables are very old because the insulation may break. In many cases you can avoid replacing the box by securing the fan directly to the ceiling. It may be best to hire an electrician for this. The box must be mounted very strongly because the vibrations could loosen the box.

    Also, a ceiling box designed for a light has smaller mounting screws for the fixture mounted to it. Homes built in recent decades may have their ceiling lights mounted to large, round plastic boxes that are designed for lights or fans. “For Ceiling Fan Use” is stamped on them.

Fan Electrical Safety

Using Extension Cords

  • Try to avoid using long extension cords because they are a fire hazard. Hire an electrician to install electrical outlets near the windows where you will use fans often.
  • If a fan will be used far from the nearest outlet, you could avoid using an extension cord by installing a new outlet using wire channel, and if you are handy you can do this yourself. Wire channel is commonly referred to as “Wiremold”, which is a brand name.

    A metal box containing an electric outlet is mounted to baseboard and metal channel containing the cable is mounted along the baseboard leading to it from another outlet. A do-it-yourselfer can install a wire channel outlet by following the instructions on the package and watching a good video.
  • Use only cords that are 16 or 14 gage. These are labeled 16/3, 16/2, 14/3, or 14/2. Do not use an 18 gage extension cord, labelled 18/3 or 18/2. 18 gage wire is thinner than 14 and 16 gage wire. If an 18 gage extension cord is used for a fan, the cord could overheat and start a fire.
    Do not use a “lamp extension cord” because this has 18 gage wire. These are designed to be used with only one lamp.
  • If you must use an extension cord, buy a new cord. A used cord may be damaged or may not be long enough to put completely out of the way. If it is too short, you could trip on it or damage it by stepping on it. Furthermore, a new extension cord will have the gage written on the package, which will prevent you from using a lamp extension cord.
  • Never run an extension cord under a rug or carpet, because stepping on the carpet could damage the cord.
  • Never use an extension cord in wet areas such as bathrooms.
  • If a cord is used where people walk, cover it with a rubber cord protector. These are sold at hardware stores and home centers.

If you cool and circulate the air with fans by buying enough of the right ones, you can use much less air conditioning and save money. The most comfortable temperature for your home will be a little higher.

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