It's common practice to turn on a ceiling fan when temperatures get high.

However, if the goal is to save energy with a ceiling fan, it's important to know how to properly use the cooling devices. Otherwise, ceiling fans may actually use more energy than it's saving.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most important things to remember about ceiling fans are:

1. Fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind-chill effect on the skin. Leaving a ceiling fan on in an unoccupied room has the same effect as any electronic device left on without being used- it wastes energy. And like most other electronic devices left on, they produce heat. Ceiling fans should be turned off in rooms where there are no people or animals.

2. If using air conditioning, ceiling fans allow for the thermostat setting to be raised four degrees Fahrenheit without a change in comfort.

3. In temperate climates or during mild or moderately hot weather, air conditioning can be turned off altogether if ceiling fans are installed in rooms that are occupied.

4. Choose a ceiling fan that is appropriate for the size of a room. A larger room should have a larger ceiling fan. Ceiling fans are only useful in rooms with ceilings at least eight feet high when blades are seven to nine feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling.

5. The Department of Energy recommends using an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan. Fans that earn the label move air 20 percent more efficiently.

6. Make sure the ceiling fan is on the "forward" setting. When blowing forward, air comes down from the fan and a breeze is felt. When a fan setting is on "reverse", the device blows air up toward the ceiling. This setting can be used in the winter to circulate warm air since hot air rises.