Turn to a cool old friend

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

When tem­per­a­tures soar in the South African sum­mer, so do the sales of air-con­di­tion­ing units - and house­hold elec­tric­ity bills. The rea­son is that air-con­di­tion­ing units (ACS) can use al­most as much power to keep you cool as a heater does to keep you warm in win­ter. For ex­am­ple, a sin­gle 1 500W win­dow or room AC run­ning six hours a day will cost you an es­ti­mated R500 a month to run at cur­rent South African elec­tric­ity tar­iffs.

"In ad­di­tion, all those ACS go­ing full blast in our homes, shops and of­fices are putting strain on South Africa's al­ready over­taxed power grid - and adding to the air pol­lu­tion emit­ted by our coal-fired power sta­tions," notes Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional prop­erty group.

"So bud­get-con­scious and en­vi­ron­men­tally aware home­own­ers are in­creas­ingly re­turn­ing to an old favourite, the ceil­ing fan, which pro­duces a nat­u­ral 'wind chill' ef­fect that im­me­di­ately makes one feel cooler, what­ever the tem­per­a­ture may be, and will typ­i­cally cost about R40 to R50 a month to run."

He says that to get the full cool­ing ben­e­fits, though, you have to in­stall the right size fan in the right po­si­tion.

"Sizes gen­er­ally run from about 1m to 2m across and op­ti­mal air cir­cu­la­tion oc­curs in square ar­eas. A 1,5m fan will suit a 3m x 3m room, for ex­am­ple, but if you're cool­ing a large, rec­tan­gu­lar room, you should use two or more fans, evenly spaced."

You also need to con­sider ceil­ing height. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers rec­om­mend a 3m fanto-floor dis­tance if pos­si­ble and, for safety rea­sons, a ceil­ing fan should never be mounted less than 2m from the floor.

Since the av­er­age ceil­ing fan weighs in at 8kg or more, it will also need to be se­curely an­chored to a sturdy roof truss or beam and should be pro­fes­sion­ally in­stalled, Everitt says. "And an elec­tri­cian will need to cer­tify its safety as part of your home's elec­tri­cal sys­tem, or it could void your home owner's in­sur­ance cover." An­other fac­tor to con­sider is the num­ber of fan blades and the ma­te­ri­als they are made from. To work prop­erly, ceil­ing fans should ideally have three to six blades, but bal­ance is more im­por­tant than the num­ber, as un­even blades will cause the fan to wob­ble. It is thus im­por­tant to select fans with rust-free fin­ishes and blades that won't warp, es­pe­cially in damp coastal cli­mates.

And fi­nally, he says, if you're re­plac­ing an over­head light with a fan / light com­bi­na­tion, you need to de­cide what con­trols to look for.

Op­tions in­clude pull chains, wall-mounted con­trol boxes and, with many newer mod­els, hand­held re­motes.

Is­sued by Chas Everitt In­ter­na­tional


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