How much does using an electric fan add to energy bills? Is buying a fancy £400 one any better than a £10 model?
The cost depends on the make of the fan, how long you use it and how your electricity costs
Rebecca Goodman, of This is Money, replies: We’re currently in the middle of the longest heatwave in more than 40 years with temperatures set to remain high until the end of the month.
This time last year several big shops ran out of fans because so many people were buying them during the hot weather. Although there doesn’t seem to be the same problem yet this year, stocks at Argos are currently limited on a number of fans.
The cost of running your electric fan depends on a few different factors including the make and model of the fan, how long you are running it for, and how much you pay for your electricity.
The first thing to look at is the average amount of electricity your fan uses. This is known as the wattage, or number of watts, which you should be able to find on the fan or on the instructions it came with.
The next factor is the cost of electricity you pay for which you can find if you look at a recent bill from your energy provider. The example below uses the average cost of electricity across all available providers in the market which is 15p per unit of electricity (measured in kilowatt-hours or kWh).
Finally, look at the average amount of time you’re running the fan for. While you may be using it a lot at the moment, during the colder months it won’t get much use and this will bring the price down when looking at average costs across the year.
Running a standard fan for 12 hours, with a wattage of 10, would cost around 18p per day, or £7 per year in the unlikely event it’s used every day. If it’s a high-end fan, with a wattage of 90 this would cost 16p per day, or £59 a year.
When looking at air conditioning units, for a basic model with a wattage of 2500, for 12 hours this would cost £4.50, or £1,642 per year if used everyday. Meanwhile a model with a higher wattage, of 4000 would cost £7.20 per day or £2,628 per year.
When we checked fan supplies at a few online shops including Argos, were limited
These calculations are based on a households with a standard energy tariff.
However, if you have an Economy 7 tariff, for example, whereby the price you pay is different during the day and the evening you’ll need to check how much you’re being charged per unit of energy and at what times in order to calculate the overall costs.
To work out exactly how much your fan is costing you can check this energy use calculator which tells you how much you will pay per hour depending on the wattage and how much you’ll pay per electricity unit.
When it comes to the cost of a fan, there is a huge range with basic models starting at £10 and the most expensive versions coming in at around £400. The more money you pay for a fan, the more high tech it will be. One of Dyson’s most expensive models, for example, claims to remove 99.95 per cent of allergens and pollutants from the air, along with projecting cold air around the room while being energy efficient.
With more expensive models you will also find more fan settings to choose from, you may be able to operate it from your smartphone, they claim to be quieter and they may not need blades to operate.
If you have a smart meter you can easily see how much energy your appliances are using by looking at the difference between your usage when the fan is on and then when it is switched off.
By 2020 all homes that want them will have smart meters so fears about unexpectedly high bills after using more energy than usual will be a thing of the past. However, there have been several teething problems with the roll out so far.