Monday, January 19, 2009

Exhausting ...

Have you given much thought to exhaust fans? They are efficient at freshening the air quality of a room ... eliminating odors, steam ... even smoke (on those occasions when we're not as attentive in the kitchen as we should be). In most homes they are easy to turn on and off ... a flip of a switch, typically placed next to a light switch. In fact, how many times have you flipped an exhaust fan on ... and forgotten it. It runs and runs ... until someone notices it and shuts it off.

Depending on the room and how it's used, most standard exhaust fans recirculate the air between 6 and 15 times an hour. That means that the air in the room is totally replaced once every ten minutes or less. What happens to the air? Most exhaust fans work by sucking air out of the house while pulling fresh air in from another vent.

These miracles of modern life ... these unsung heroes ... these little machines that we barely notice ... can be big energy wasters. Consider this ... the air that is being sucked up and returned to the great outdoors is usually, at this time of year, heated. And the air being drawn in ... isn't. In the summer, it's the opposite ... cooled air is sucked out while hot air is drawn in. Either way, it's inefficient and a waste of heating/cooling energy (not to mention money). And what about the energy used to run the fans? Sure, it may not be a great deal, but ... how often do we run it for ten minutes or less? Typically, especially in bathrooms, it is turned on and then forgotten until the next time "nature calls".

So here is today's easy tip ... turn off the exhaust fan. If your fan is controlled by a timer ... great ... set it for 10 minutes at the most (one complete recirculation should do the trick). If you don't have a timer, install one or ... set a kitchen timer or alarm to remind yourself to turn it off.

Rather than "exhausting" your energy consumption ... use an exhaust fan efficiently.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!