How Much Power Does a Ceiling Fan Use?

Ceiling fans are a popular and energy efficient way to cool a home. This guide will explain how to make sense of all the numbers and understand how much power ceiling fans can use.

Why Watts Matter

What all fans have in common are electric motors rated by watts. That’s how much power is used to run the fan.

Ceiling fans come in all shapes and sizes. The most common sizes are compact 23 in fans for small spaces, mid-size 44 in fans for average sized rooms, and large 52 in fans for larger rooms. Specialty fans can be ordered in even larger sizes.

We averaged the wattage of some popular fans sold by Home Depot and Lowes as a guide on what to expect. The results were surprising.

As it turns out, there is very little correlation between the blade size of a fan and ceiling fan wattage.

  • The smallest fans we looked at (23 inch) averaged 54 Watts at full speed.
  • The largest fans we looked at (52 inch) average 58 watts at full speed.

There is barely a four-watt difference between the smallest and largest residential fans.

At lower speeds, the large fans even outperform the small fans in energy efficiency!

  • The small fans used 16 watts at their lowest setting
  • The large fans used 9 watts at their lowest setting.

At low speeds, small fans use nearly 2 times as much energy as large fans do to keep you cool.

Smaller fans do not use less power!

If you’re deciding on a new fan, don’t think that putting a smaller fan up will save on your electric bill. It will cost almost as much to run the largest fans Home Depot sells as it does to run the smallest!

EnergyStar fans can save big on electricity–put they’re pricey.

The Environmental Protection Agency certifies high-efficiency appliances as Energy Star rated. They even list the most efficient fans they’ve certified.

Some of these fans are incredibly low-power, with many using less than 30 watts at full speed. The only downside is cost. At a base model price of over 500 dollars, super high-efficiency fans like the Haiku line are more of a design statement than a budget-saving option.

Don’t Forget the Light Bulbs

The lights on a fan can seem like an afterthought. Even the government thinks so–the EPA doesn’t consider how many watts a fan’s light draws on their EnergyGuide tags.

But people should think about how the lights in a fan will affect its energy efficiency. Incandescent bulbs will add 60 watts each.  If the fan accepts standard A19 sized light bulbs, the most power efficient bulbs are LED replacements. A “60 watt” replacement LED will draw around 9 watts, so you can swap out four bulbs and use less electricity than a single incandescent.

What does it actually cost to run a ceiling fan?

Fans can cost anywhere from $15 to $150 a year to operate. It all depends on how often you use your fan. You need to find how many kWh a fan uses first, then you can see what it costs to run.

How to find ceiling fan kWh

There’s a simple formula you can use to figure out exactly what a ceiling fan (or any other appliance) costs to run in a year. All you need is the fans’s watts and your actual cost of electricity in kilowatt hours.

  1. Multiply the fan’s max watts by the hours per day you run a fan.
  2. Now you need to convert this number to kilowatt hours. Simply divide your number from the previous step by 1000. Now you know how many kilowatt hours your appliance uses in a day.
  3. To find out how much power the fan uses, multiply by 30 to find out how much energy the fan uses each month.
  4. Finally multiply this by the cost of electricity. Now you know what it will cost to run the fan you’re looking at every month.

Shopping for fans? Check the EnergyGuide labels.

All ceiling fans sold in the United States for residential use are required to display an EnergyGuide label. Unfortunately, many online stores don’t put these labels on the product page.

These labels will tell you how much the fan costs to run a year using the average price of electricity. This is great for comparison shopping, so even if you plan to order a fan online, it’s a good idea to visit your local home improvement store.

You’ve found an energy efficient fan–get it installed!

With over 20 years of experience as Residential Electricians, the folks at Prime Electrical Services can professionally install a new fan where and how you want it. Visit their site or call 888-471-9083 to schedule an installation.