Air Conditioning vs FansAustralia can get quite hot in the summer time, and by hot I mean it can be like living in a furnace. Many people have their different views of how to stay cool and beat the heat so to speak. Some very interesting, some… let’s not go there. But two main ways are either the air conditioning or fan. Let’s have a quick look at how much your air conditioning costs, how they both function to keep you cool and the money involved in operating them. Let’s face it, with rising electricity costs expected over the coming years, keeping cool and saving money can be a problem when thinking of running the air conditioning or the fan.

Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning simply put, uses refrigeration to lower the temperature inside with a process called ‘Phase Conversion’. This means that when a liquid converts to a gas it will absorb the heat. This heat will flow over the cold, low-pressure evaporator coils. Thus providing cold cool air to be distributed around the room by the air conditioning fans and any unwanted heated air is dispelled externally from the air conditioning unit outside.


Air Conditioning vs Fans 2Unlike air conditioning, fans do not decrease the temperature in the room. Their role is to simply blow away the heat that surrounds your body. As can be seem in the picture the fan is blowing away the heat that surrounds your body, allowing your body’s natural cooling process to work more efficiently and naturally. As of writing this, the fan I am using is pretty awesome.

Now let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of Air Conditioning and Fans:

Air Conditioning

  • Maintains room at a certain specified temperature.
  • Cool and comfortable during the very hot periods.
  • Removes moisture and humidity from the air.
  • Cools the entire room and not just a flow effect that fans give.

  • Costly and expensive.
  • Dries out the air, removes moisture from skin can cause itchiness and irritation.
  • Prevents person from acclimatising to heat.
  • Wasted in open spaces.

  • Cheaper to run, only uses a small % of electricity compared to air-con.
  • Does not dry out the air.
  • More efficient at moving the flow of air and more efficient in open spaces.
  • Person can still acclimatise to heat.

  • Does no decrease the temperature.
  • Not flow to entirety of the room, only a % of the room.
  • Simply blows the heat away from your body.
  • Multiple fans required.

What about the combination of Air Conditioning and Fans?

This is the golden egg when thinking about Air Conditioning vs. Fans! Studies have shown that moving chilled air around, like adding a natural breeze, instead of having it just wasted on the floor can improve cooling effectiveness. This combined process complements each other and furthermore the air con unit itself can be run 2-4 degrees warmer for the same cooling effect. This equates to saving money, which we are all about.

Lastly, let’s look at the electricity consumption of fans and Air Conditioning units on an average usage:

Standing Fans60 watts per hour
Ceiling Fans65 watts per hour
Split System Air Conditioning2,200 watts per hour (2.2KW)

At a peak rate electricity rate of 24.9 cents per Kilowatt (KW) this equates to:

Standing Fans0.06Kw x $0.249$0.015 per hour
Ceiling Fans0.065Kw x $0.249$0.016 per hour
Split System Air Conditioning2.2Kw x 0.249$0.548 per hour

This doesn’t look like much per hour for any of them. However if you compile these costs especially for Air Conditioning unit over a four month period at 10 hours a day, the cost equates to $657.36 just in 4 months. If using a standing fan this equates to $18.00 in 4 months. What a huge difference. Now, I understand 10 hours a day is excessive but it is just an example.

However it all comes down to personal preferences. Some swear by Air Conditioning, others by Fans. If you have the disposable income to use air-con and enjoy it, then why not use air-con. However if you want to save money and stay cool at the same time, then perhaps a fan may be the way to go.

Remember this summer, stay cool, classy and enjoy Australia’s summer furnace… I mean heat.

How do you stay cool in summer while saving money? Comment with your tips below!

About the Author – Damian Ison


Damian is studying a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Accounting at the University of Newcastle and has an interest in helping people find ways to save money and build wealth!

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9 thoughts on “Air conditioning v Fans

    bolivar Reply

    What about the new technology ac’s. Inverters?
    Is there any comparable option close to the fan?

    • The Money Geek Reply

      Hi Bolivar,

      There may be, it has been a couple of years since this article was written. I’ll revisit the figures and calculations and update the article with any new figures.

    lynn Reply

    thank you air con just making noise no $$$ had to buy fan. had a great night sleep didn’t wake up in the middle of the night and you said i would save a lot of money i live in key west. so far so good

    Dolores blain Reply

    Thank you for ur advise. As I’m a pensioner I’m trying to lower my cost. May start using the fan more often.even though my air con keeps me cooler..Dolores

    Nicky Reply

    Thank you for this info. Our children have been “spoilt” by having air con in their bedrooms. We have just started turning the air cons off for poor behaviour because in my mind at least, air con is a luxury not a given and they haven’t been deserving of such a privilege (it hasn’t worked so far cause they throw tanties over not having air con haha).
    So! I’m off to buy 3 fans today. I should see a reduced electricity bill next quarter – my kids are slow learners so the fans will get plenty of use but still cheaper than air con…winning!!! haha

    Kate Reply

    People should think about the environmental effects of using large amounts of electricity as well, maybe it’s worth being not as comfortable as you might be for the sake of the planet.

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