How Much Electricity Does A Fan Use?

Coby McKinley Profile image

Written by:

Updated July 25, 2022

High-performance fans are an excellent option for heat relief during the summer. That said, you should know how much energy does a fan use if you plan to use it to help cool your home. Fans are an energy-efficient cooling option, so the electricity cost is only a few cents per hour.


  • Ceiling fans are the most energy-efficient because they circulate the air from a central location.
  • Whole-home fans require professional installation, but they ventilate your entire house using less energy than an AC system.
  • Portable fans like window units and tower models use about 30 to 100 watts.

Also, power consumption depends on the fan type you choose. So, to keep your energy costs under control, turn off the air conditioner and read on.

How Much Energy Does a Fan Use?

While a normal household fan doesn’t cool like an air conditioner, they offer excellent airflow output to circulate the air. Even variable speed fans like the Vornado 293 provide excellent energy efficiency compared to air conditioning units. Knowing the average ceiling fan electricity usage and how the size of fans plays a role in energy usage will help you budget for your energy bills.

Insider Tip

Energy Star recommends using only your fans at night to minimize the energy impact of your central air conditioner.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are an excellent cooling option, thanks to the even distribution of air. The average ceiling fan uses between 55 and 100 watts of power, depending on the size of the blades. The smaller the fan blades, the less energy usage by the fan.

Whole-House Fans

Whole-home fans span your entire house through a series of ducts, like a central air conditioner. This type of fan exhausts air from your attic and uses about 120 to 600 watts.

Window Fans

You install a window fan just like a window air conditioner, but they only move air in or out of your home. This fan type uses about 30 to 100 watts and offers a lightweight ventilation tool for a single room.

Tower Fans

Most tower fans offer variable speed settings and utilize about 45 to 100 watts to run. This type of fan is usually easy to move, and some provide bladeless designs to keep families safe.


Even efficient air conditioners will cause your monthly cost of electricity to rise if simple maintenance tasks aren’t completed, like changing the air filter and semi-annual coil cleanings.

Smart Fans

Smart fans use about 40 to 110 watts to run, but they provide energy-efficiency features to save on energy costs. For example, some smart fans use an automatic shut-off, and other models offer smart app connectivity for cooling schedules.

STAT: Energy Star’s ceiling fans with an energy label are 60% more energy efficient than standard light-fan combo units. (source)

How Much Energy Does a Fan Use FAQs

Which direction should my ceiling fan go in the winter?

Since warm air rises, your ceiling fan should rotate clockwise. Even at medium speed, the blades redistribute the hot air to your living spaces. This can save you money on heating costs and help keep your family comfortable during the cold winter.

How do I change the direction of my ceiling fan?

Turn off your fan and wait for the blades to stop moving. Next, use a step stool or ladder to reach the motor housing, and there should be a switch on the side. Flip the switch and turn the fan back on. Some units use a remote control or front-facing control buttons instead of a switch to change the direction of the fan.

Should I use my AC with my ceiling fan?

Fans are an energy-efficient alternative to air conditioners, but these two devices are better when used in unison. For example, a portable air conditioner needs to pull air warm air into the unit so the evaporator coil can chill it. All types of fans move the air in your home, reducing the strain on the AC unit’s fan motor. So, by raising the air conditioning thermostat a couple of degrees and running fans, you can reduce the energy impact of AC.
Coby McKinley Profile image