Ceiling fans really have become a staple in Australian households. Perfect for circulating the air in your home all year round, they are also the go to choice for helping cool your home in summer, and increasingly, for helping heat your home in winter.
Why are ceiling fans a popular choice?
- They are a relatively inexpensive cooling and heating choice
- They are an extremely energy efficient form of cooling and heating your home
- They help to reduce cooling and heating costs in your home by working in conjunction with other forms of cooling and heating
- They are environmentally friendly, helping to reduce your energy footprint
- They are low maintenance
- They can be an added design feature in your home
With all those benefits, it is easy to see why ceiling fans are a home “must have”. But, how do you decide which ceiling fan is right for you and your home? A lot of this will come down to price and design, however, one of the biggest considerations is deciding between an AC or a DC ceiling fan.
What’s the Difference Between AC and DC Ceiling Fans?
When we refer to AC or DC, we are referring to the way current flows within a circuit to generate power. Alternating Current (AC), simply means that the current flows in alternating directions, back and forth. Direct Current (DC), as its name suggests, refers to current that flows in a single direction.
While we could go into a lot of technical detail about the differences between AC and DC, what we really want to know is what this means for your ceiling fan.
In any ceiling fan, a force needs to be generated that is strong enough to rotate the rotor, and push the fan blades. In a ceiling fan with an AC motor, this force is generated directly from the power source. In a ceiling fan with a DC motor, the power source connects to a transformer, which converts the AC power to DC, and then uses magnets to create the force needed to rotate the motor’s rotor.
Both AC and DC ceiling fans require the same force to rotate the motor’s rotor, and push the blades. The resulting difference between the two, however, is the amount of energy required directly from the power source to do this.
With that in mind, let us help you decide whether your next ceiling fan will have an AC or DC motor by looking at some of the pros and cons of each.
Benefits of AC Ceiling Fans
- When ceiling fans first appeared, they were made only with AC motors, as residential properties have AC power. It’s the power supplied by the grid because it’s cheaper and easier to produce and supply electricity this way. That is why if you install a fan with an AC motor you simply plug it into a power source and it’s ready to go.
- AC fans tend to have more control options simply due to their immediate compatibility with AC power. You can readily choose between a remote control or wall panel switch with most AC fans.
- AC ceiling fans tend to be cheaper than their DC counterparts. They are easier to produce and maintain, and so tend to be more budget friendly both in terms of initial outlay and repairs.
Disadvantages of AC Ceiling Fans
- Spinning speed in AC motors strongly depends on line frequency and amplitude of power source. It makes maintaining a certain speed quite a challenge, and thus most of the AC fans have up to 3 spinning speed options available.
- AC motors can produce excessive noise while operating at low speeds, simply due to the nature how their motors are powered.
- Using AC as the power source, means that ceiling fans with AC motors are less energy efficient.
Benefits of DC Ceiling Fans
- DC ceiling fans are highly energy-efficient. In general, DC motors will consume up to 70% less power than their AC motor counterparts. For instance, when an AC fan consumes 100 watts, the DC one will take up to 30 watts to achieve the same result.
- DC ceiling fans are slimmer. Their motors are simply less bulky, so they look sleeker and can be integrated into your space easier.
- DC motors are constructed in a way that gives you more control over power consumption and rotating speed. Often, DC fans will give you up to 6 speed options to greater control airflow and energy consumption.
- DC ceiling fans are also generally faster to respond to the remote control, have more speed options, and have the reverse function on the remote. This leads to more convenience and control in the hands of the users. By allowing for greater control of things like speed, the life of your ceiling fan can be significantly lengthened.
- DC ceiling fans are extremely quiet.
Disadvantages of DC Ceiling Fans
- DC ceiling fans tend to be more expensive to purchase, although, this cost has come down significantly with improvements to technology and manufacturing. Even being more energy efficient, it could take a long time for you to see the pay-off of buying a DC fan.
- Most DC fan models generally only come with a remote control, although improved technology, has seen the addition of wall controls in many models, and some manufacturers now offer wall controls as an added accessory to your DC ceiling fan.
Both these types of fans have their strong and weak sides. However, they are both effective for keeping the temperature in your space comfortable. That is why choosing between AC and DC ceiling fan is like choosing your cup of tea. When the time comes to pick your ceiling fan – don’t sweat it. Simply remember the differences between the two types and focus on the features that are important to you in the device of your choice.