The running cost of ceiling fans

Advertisement

The Australian summer can be unforgiving, and for those of us without an air conditioner, a ceiling fan is probably the next best thing. While ceiling fans might not be as effective at cooling as an air conditioner, it does cost considerably less to use. So, how cheap is it to use a ceiling fan? Canstar Blue has done the research and crunched the numbers to find the real cost of using a fan, for just an hour, as well as all summer long!

How much does it cost to run a ceiling fan?

The average indoor ceiling fan costs around 0.1c to 1.5c per hour to run, or between $0.99 and $10.71 over summer (90 days) if it were used eight hours per day. This will depend on the fan’s speed settings, how frequently it’s used, and the usage rate you pay for electricity. Like most electrical appliances, a ceiling fan’s power is measured in watts. The larger the fan, or the faster it needs to spin, the more watts of electricity it consumes – adding to your energy bill.

The below tables assume a standard 48-52” blade, 3 to 5-speed fan with a maximum output of 58W. We also suppose an electricity usage rate of 25.6c/kwh.

Ceiling fan running costs (DC motor)

Fan Speed Power Hourly running cost per cent Summer running cost (used 8 hrs/day)*
Low (60-94 RPM) 5.2W 0.1c $0.99
Low-med (95-129 RPM) 7.6W 0.2c $1.44
Medium (130-164 RPM) 15.4W 0.4c $2.88
Med-high (165-199 RPM) 21.1W 0.5c $3.87
High (200-234 RPM) 27.5W 0.7c $5.04

Average energy consumption figures based on a selection of 8 DC Fanco and Ventair ceiling fans. Usage cost estimates based on average electricity usage cost of 25.6 c/kWh. Average usage cost based on single-rate plans on Canstar Blue’s database, available for an annual usage of 4,200 kWh.

Ceiling fan running costs (AC motor)

Fan Speed Power Hourly running cost per cent Summer running cost (used 8 hrs/day)*
Low (100-149 RPM) 17.3W 0.4c $3.15
Medium (150-199 RPM) 38.3W 1.0c $7.02
High (200-249 RPM) 58W 1.5c $10.71

Average energy consumption figures based on a selection of 7 AC Fanco and Ventair ceiling fans. Usage cost estimates based on average electricity usage cost of 25.6 c/kWh. Average usage cost based on single-rate plans on Canstar Blue’s database, available for an annual usage of 4,200 kWh.

As you can see from the table, just one single fan is not particularly expensive – particularly when used in moderation and operated at low speeds. That said, the costs can quickly add up if you have multiple fans running, or if they are left on when no one is using them.

Take the extreme example of a high speed AC fan left on for 24 hours. At a rate of 25.6c/kWh, that would cost you 36c/day or as much as $131.40/year per fan. Bear in mind that many homes will have several fans – usually one in each room – so you can see how costs might quickly stack.

What type of ceiling fan is the cheapest to run?

The maximum wattage of ceiling fans varies anywhere from 10W to 100W. The average fan will consume around 30W to 50W. More powerful ‘high-speed’ fans will generally consume between 60W and 100W, so costing as much as 2.87c per hour, or $42 per year, again assuming it’s used every day for multiple hours.

Interestingly, a fan’s size has very little to do with its running cost. While larger fans might require more electricity to spin, smaller fans will need to work harder in order to create the same airflow output. This means that both small and large fans consume approximately the same amount of electricity.

Cheap Electricity Deals

While you’re reviewing energy costs, why not take the time to compare electricity plans in your area. We list some of the cheapest deals across NSW, VIC, QLD and SA, however it’s still best to use our comparison tool to see which deals are available in your postcode.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Ceiling fan running costs compared to air con

As we have shown, even the most power-guzzling ceiling fans out there will only cost a few cents per hour to run. As for air conditioners, Canstar Blue research found that the average reverse cycle system costs between $0.25 and $0.35 per hour – many times more expensive than a ceiling fan.

An air conditioner is unquestionably more effective at cooling a room than a ceiling fan, but it’s also much more expensive. Aside from those occasional scorching days, try to use your ceiling fan instead of the air conditioner wherever possible. This could potentially shave hundreds of dollars off your annual electricity costs.

Share this article

Advertisement