ABC7 On Your Side: Ceiling fans

LOS ANGELES When the Hull family added a room four years ago, they decided to put in a ceiling fan. It really helps cut their energy costs.

It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.

"We don't turn on the A/C until we've got probably 90-something degree days. It stays cool," said Ashley Taylor-Hull.

Consumer Reports checked 19 ceiling fans from the leading manufacturers, costing from $50 to nearly $300. Testers mounted each fan in a special chamber and used meters to measure the level of air movement. Other tests checked the number of revolutions per minute.

"High prices don't guarantee better performance -- they give you fancier finishes and fancier blades," said Jim Nanni from Consumer Reports. "Whichever fan you use, remember -- fans don't cool the room, they cool the people."

That means you should turn a fan off when you leave the room, to save on your electric bill.

In addition to a ceiling fan, here are some other energy-saving tips¬:¬

Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator

Take steps to cut water use, such as installing faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and low-flush toilets. As much as 19 percent of California electricity is used to pump, transport and treat water.

Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees - or the "normal" setting - when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13 percent of home energy costs.

Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.

If you've got an old room air conditioner, it may pay to replace it. New ENERGY STAR air conditioners use about 25 percent less power than ones made before late 2000.

Also, you can use a fan even when your air conditioner is on, so you won't have to crank your air conditioner up so high.

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