A Fan of Fans

When a new baby enters the household, parents use twenty-five percent more energy than before. They keep houses warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer–“for the baby.” But it’s possible to keep you and your little one cool without turning your house into a refrigerator. First, read Joy’s article on passive cooling here. Then become a fan of fans.

Regular old box fans and ceiling fans can keep you cool by creating a nice breeze. According to PGE’s website, you can use fans along with your air conditioner and turn your thermostat up ten degrees without feeling too hot. You can also use a window fan in a north-facing windows to draw cool air in and another fan in a south-facing window to push the hot air out.

Attic fans can push that super-heated air out of your attic, making the living space feel much cooler. Find a solar-powered one and you won’t even waste energy while using it. If you have air conditioning, however, you do not need an attic fan.

Whole-house fans are installed in the ceiling and operate with the windows open. My brother and sister-in-law installed one themselves–and it really works. I watched the thermostat go down several degrees in just a few minutes after they turned it on. It works best when it’s cooler than 82 degrees outside. Use it in the mornings and evenings to keep your house cool.

Read Portland General Electric’s guidelines for cooling for even more detailed information on fans.


  1. We have ceiling fans in every room of our home. It makes such a big difference. It doesn’t hurt that my husband is an electrician!

  2. I’m a big believer in ceiling fans. I even installed the controls to adjust the speed all by myself!

  3. I believe in fans for keeping the house cool, but what to do to save on winter heating use? I grudgingly upped the heat after my December baby because I worried about her being cold, but couldn’t find an alternative.

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