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Choose the right Regulator for Ceiling Fan for Electricity Saving

By on April 12, 2021

A ceiling fan is one of the most common appliances in Indian household. Being a tropical country, India relies a lot on the ceiling fan and there is a ceiling fan in every room in the country. When we go and buy a ceiling fan, we also get a regulator along with it. Regulators are of different types, and different ceiling fans come with different types of regulators. Most people typically do not care about the regulator, but it is very important to know that even the regulator can waste electricity and can increase your electricity bills.

Good news is that you can always refuse to take the supplied regulator and can get an equivalent discount, and replace it with an efficient one. But for that, you need to know about the types of regulators.

How does a Fan Work?

A ceiling fan has a single-phase electric motor and metallic blades connected to it. Single-phase when given to a motor, unable to provide torque to rotate it. Therefore, a start capacitor is provided across one of the two windings. which goes out of circuit once the motor starts. After the start, a run capacitor is there in the service which improves the power factor and keeps the motor running at its rated speed. In order to regulate the fan speed, a regulator is provided which varies the voltage across the winding and thus controls the speed.  Lower the voltage lower the speed of the fan. So a regulator controls the voltage levels for the fan.

Types of Regulators

There are 3 types of regulators available in the market today: Electric Regulator, Step Type Electronic Regulator and Movable Electronic Regulator. All 3 have different ways of controlling the fan speed and thus the efficiency with which they manage electricity consumption differs. From a price perspective, Electric regulator is the cheapest, but of all three it is the most inefficient regulator. We are in the process of compiling information related to price impact and will update that as well very soon. But first, let’s look at all three types:

Electric Regulator

Traditional regulators that were there in our homes in the past were mostly of this type. These regulators have resistors to decrease the voltage for the ceiling fan. The resistor heats up while decreasing the voltage and thus the electricity saved by reducing the fan speed is lost as heat in the regulator. The internal heat also damages the regulator in long run. These regulators are also bulky in size. They come for as low as Rs 40 a piece.ElectricRegulator

Electronic Regulator

Electronic regulators are the latest type of regulators available in the market. These are much smaller in size than the electric regulators. Electronic regulators use capacitors instead of resistors to decrease the voltage. Capacitors regulate the fan speed by regulating the waveform of power supply. These do not get heated up and thus save electricity when the fan is running at lower speeds (at higher speeds electricity consumption of fan is the same with both regulators).  These regulators save up to 40% at speed 1 and about 30% at speed 2 compared to electric regulators. There are 2 types of electronic regulators available:

    1. Movable Type: These regulators move smoothly and there are no stepped number (1 to 5) provided on theem. These regulators are better than electric ones but still can cause some distortion to the movement of the motor that causes it to heat up. This type typically costs Rs 100 apiece.MovableType
    2. Step Type: These regulators have numbered speed steps (typically 1 to 5). These regulators provide lower distortion to the movement of the motor and thus less heating. These are the most efficient type of regulator. This type typically costs Rs 200 apiece.ceiling_fan_regulator

If you run fans at low speeds in your house then a step type fan regulator is the best electricity saving option for you. Savings in electricity bills can recover the extra price you pay for it.

Common problems with the Electronic Regulator

The cost of an electronic regulator is not much but most of the user find a problem when it is unable to regulate the speed the way you want. Step regulator has the advantage of speed selection if there is an issue in the capacitor or electronic circuit becoming defective. With the supplier providing a good warranty for these regulators, one should immediately report the defect to the customer care. In fact, to get the best speed regulator and that too with remote operation, BLDC (brushless DC fans) are becoming more popular.

Update: One of our visitor (Paul) gave an interesting suggestion to keep the electronic regulators in good shape:

With proper stepped electronic fan regulators, when switching speeds, there are a lot of transients created which are also harmful to fan capacitors, but more importantly, kill the regulator itself prematurely. So the ideal method is to turn off from the switch, change the speed, and then turn the switch back on. It seems cumbersome at first but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. And the regulators last longer!

In order to understand its function and efficiency, visit these pages

  1. https://www.bijlibachao.com/energy-efficiency-and-other-articles/bldc-brushless-dc-induction-motors-and-inverter-technology-explained.html
  2. https://www.bijlibachao.com/fans/bldc-fans-super-efficient-fans-in-india-market-analysis.html


Source of Information: Core Center

About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. .