The Differences Between Fans and Air Conditioners

Why are fans and air conditioners not the same? and why they can be complimentary goods!

In these approaching warmer months, we’re always looking for ways to beat the heat.

Sometimes that can be a dip in a pool or a cold shower, but the best way to keep cool in hotter temps is to use a device like a ceiling fan or an air conditioner.

While both a fan and an air conditioner can be used to cool a space, they’re actually very different. Check out some of the differences between using a fan vs. an air conditioner below:


When it comes to cooling your home, fans use less energy. In order to save on your bills (and to live a more sustainable lifestyle) using a ceiling fan is the greener energy saving alternative.

Since fans move the air, rather than cooling the air, sometimes you’ll need to use the AC on those especially hot days. A great tip for getting the most out of your AC, is to use your fans in combination with your air conditioning to help circulate the cold air throughout your space more efficiently.

In fact, when used in sync, you can set your thermostat four degrees higher and still have the same cooling effect as if it was running without fans at a cooler temperature. This is because air conditioners push out cool air, while fans help circulate the air. Since fans do a better job of moving air throughout a space, this will keep a more consistent temperature in your home -- which means your thermostat won’t have to turn on and off as frequently.


Fans circulate the natural air in your home, while air conditioners generate cold air by extracting the moisture out of the natural air. Unless you live in an area with terrible air-quality, chances are the air from outside is better for your health than the cold air generated by an air conditioner.

As air conditioners extract the moisture from the air to cool it, this decreases the humidity in your home, creating dry air that can irritate your sinuses, dehydrate your skin, and effect your respiratory system.

Some of the indirect health effects of air conditioning systems are an increased exposure to mold, low humidity, and airborne illnesses.

If you do use your AC unit frequently, it’s important to have the air ducts cleaned every few years to prevent mold from collecting.


Unlike air conditioners which generally make a purring sound, fans are quiet. Thanks to their balanced design, you can cool your home without any sound or loud distractions.

In summary, air conditioners should generally be reserved for extremely hot days. Cutting down on your AC use not only lowers your bills, it saves energy -- which ultimately helps the environment. 

Setting your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise rotation on medium to high speeds creates an artificial breeze that pushes the air down. While it doesn’t change the temperature of the air (like an air conditioner does), the breeze evaporates moisture from your skin, making you feel cooler.


While air conditioners come in a few different forms (standing units, window units, wall fixtures, or a more expensive central solution where it’s built inside the walls), there isn’t a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing an AC system for your home. On the other hand, fans come in a variety of finishes, styles and sizes, and can function as a décor piece for your space too. If you think about fans in a decorative way, you can enjoy the benefit of having a home utility piece with a nice design.


On most days of the year, your ceiling and standing fans should be enough to keep a comfortable temperature in your home.

On the days you do need to use an AC unit, using your fans in combination with your air conditioner will provide the most efficient cooling system for your house, allowing you to set the thermostat to a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort.

What are your eco-friendly tips for staying cool in the summer? Let us know in the comments below for the chance to be featured!

In the market for a new ceiling or standing fan? Shop our selection of beautifully designed Star Fans. Our indoor/outdoor fans are an excellent solution for saving money and energy in your home. Feel free to contact us with any questions!





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