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Save Money on Your AC Bill: Change the Placement of Your Fan

The location of your fan can make a difference when it comes to the temperature of your home. Placing your fan in the right spot can help slash AC costs.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
3 min read
A round fan on a table

Stay comfortable longer by maximizing your fan's cooling potential.

BrAt_PiKaChU/Getty Images

Summer 2024 is shaping up to be one of the hottest yet. And this comes in the wake of 2023 -- the hottest summer in recorded history.

Not only has this past summer been hot and humid as per usual this time of year. It's been record-breaking blistering. New data from the European Union-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service has stated that July 2023 will be the hottest month on record. 

There are tried and true ways to stay cool, like drawing the blinds, relying on AC and wearing lightweight clothing. But there's another cost- and energy-efficient way to stay cool other than running the AC constantly: a window fan. But for your fan to work its best, you need to place it in just the right spot in your home.

Here we'll explore some fan tricks to maximize your comfort and coolness this summer. For more, check out our tips for how to save on heat and air conditioning with a small home upgrade and five signs it's time to replace your window AC unit. Plus, you'll also want to make sure your ceiling fan is rotating in the correct direction for the season (yes, there's a difference). 

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Fan location matters

One big thing you may be overlooking when you turn on a fan is its placement. To ensure optimal cooling with a window fan, the US Department of Energy suggests putting it in a window where the wind is blowing away from the house. This helps pull the hot air out of your home.

Make sure other nearby windows are closed so the hot air is forced to travel out the window with the fan.

You can double up with intermittent cooling from an air conditioner to really chill your home, without keeping the window unit blasting all the time. An AC essentially turns your home into a big refrigerator -- the fan helps serve as the fridge's ventilation.

If you want to cut back on AC usage even more, you can take advantage of cross-ventilation by opening windows in rooms farther away from the fan, especially where wind is blowing toward the house. This works best if the open windows are in cooler, shaded areas rather than direct sunlight so that cooler air is coming into your house as the hotter air is being pulled outside by the window fan.

If your home has more than one story, you should install your fan on the second floor and open windows on the main floor for cross-ventilation, according to the DOE. Otherwise, you could install multiple fans in different sections of your home.  

A couple of additional tips

Even if you don't have a window fan, you can create cross-ventilation with open windows to make your space a bit more comfortable. Experiment by opening a window where wind blows toward the house and another window across your home where wind blows away from the house. This should help cooler air move into the house and expel the hotter, more stagnant air. 

If you have a ceiling fan in your home this summer, make sure it's rotating counterclockwise to pull warmer air up and push cooler air down. Read more about how to safely switch the direction your ceiling fan rotates.

Here Are 23 Ways to Save On Your Electric Bills Right Now

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For more on how to stay warm or cool (and save money), check out our guide on where to install a thermostat and the ideal thermostat setting to save money without sacrificing comfort.

More energy-saving tips: