Answer Man

Does changing the direction of a ceiling fan really save you money?

Is your ceiling fan turning the right way? It makes a difference to your comfort and energy bills.
Is your ceiling fan turning the right way? It makes a difference to your comfort and energy bills. News-Democrat

Q: They say you’re supposed to reverse the direction of ceiling fans in the winter to improve the circulation of warm air, thus helping your furnace’s heating efficiency while reducing your utility bill. But most homes have their warm air ducts at floor level. My house is a little funny in that a previous owner who installed the HVAC system had the ducts placed near the ceiling. Do the same rules still apply?

S.R., of Belleville

A: Anyone who listens to KMOX knows master builder remodeler Scott Mosby doesn’t blow a lot of hot air, so you can take him at his word when he says the technique works — perhaps even more so in your case.

As you know, warm air rises, so the idea in winter is to keep that heated air closer to the floor where people sit to read or watch TV. That’s why, Mosby says, it makes sense to make sure your fan is turning clockwise as seen from the floor looking up at the underside of the fan. By doing this, it will push the warm air off the ceiling, down the walls and into that critical living space.

In your case, it seems to make even more sense because most of the warm air is already at the ceiling and won’t come down without help. If you have particularly high ceilings, you might try upping the fan speed a notch. It might seem logical to use the summer setting to force the warm air down, but you’d probably wind up uncomfortable sitting in the constant downdraft. You’ll probably find the less direct method easier to take. Of course, you can always conduct your own experiment to verify the theory as far as comfort and power bills.

Regardless, ceiling fans should be set to run counterclockwise in the summer. Although this technically does not cool the air one iota, it can make you feel more comfortable by producing a mini wind-chill effect, allowing you to perhaps turn your thermostat up a degree or two and save energy costs a bit.

Just remember that running the fans when nobody is in the room is a waste of money since it is doing nothing to lower the temperature. In fact, the heat generated by the fan motor could raise it a tad.

Q: When I was in grade school in the 1960s, I remember a field trip in which I toured a St. Louis bakery. I am wondering where it was located, if the building is still there and the name of it at the time. Wonder Bread maybe? I keep thinking it was maybe the building that U-Haul is now in.

Susan Meyer

A: Since there are both dozens of bakeries and U-Haul facilities in St. Louis, I would need a much more precise location where you may have visited, but I can tell you that it was definitely not Wonder Bread making dough there at the time.

Before Old Hostess Brands filed legal papers to produce its last Ding Dong in November 2012, the former Continental Baking Co., established in 1849, had been turning out Wonder Bread and Twinkies since 1954 at its massive 377,000-square-foot bakery and distribution center at 6301 N. Kingshighway in north St. Louis. When Interstate Bakeries bought Continental in 1995, it became one of the merged company’s 54 plants around the country before it was shuttered in 2012. The closest U-Haul facility I can find is at 8800 N. Broadway.

If you’re thinking of a U-Haul closer to downtown, I doubt it’s the one at 418 S. Tucker, either, which used to be the Globe Drug warehouse buildings. In 2014, U-Haul bought the complex, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Finished in 1947, it was designed by St. Louisan Harry Anderson and is regarded as a significant example of the International Style of architecture.

Q: Are there any stations in the area that play old-fashioned country music?

M.R., of Cahokia

A: If WIL and KSD are too modern for your tastes, there are alternatives, but, unfortunately, you may need a computer or a superpowerful antenna to enjoy them.

On Wednesday, for example, the first song KWRE (790-AM) played when it returned from its noontime news programming was a classic I grew up with — Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.” But KWRE is in Warrenton, Mo., so you’ll have to stream it on a computer or download an app so you can pick it up on your phone. Much the same is true I’m afraid for Classic Country KSGM (980-AM) in Chester, Real Country WHCO (1230-AM) out of Sparta and KTJJ “The Boot” (98.5-FM) in Farmington, Mo. The first two were like a return to the Belleville’s old WIBV of my youth with high school basketball games and lengthy obituaries read on the local news.

If someone has a better solution, I’m all ears.

Earhart addendum

After my recent column on famed pilot Amelia Earhart’s one-night stay in Belleville on Sept 3-4, 1928, local history Bob Brunkow reminded me that the Belleville Historical Society later placed a commemorative plaque on the house at 141 N. Pennsylvania Ave.

Today’s trivia

Who was the first TV actress to win three consecutive Emmy awards?

Answer to Friday’s trivia: Although “Hail to the Chief” was played as early as 1815 to honor George Washington’s birthday (and the end of the War of 1812), it was first played at a presidential inauguration on March 4, 1837, when Martin Van Buren took office. It is based on Scottish poet Sir Walter Scott’s “The Lady of the Lake,” which was set to music about 1812 and included the line, “Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances ...” The traditional introduction of four ruffles and flourishes were added during William McKinley’s administration.

BONUS: Women were first allowed to march in the presidential inauguation parade during the 1917 ceremonies that opened Woodrow Wilson’s second term. It was Wilson who was in office when the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer

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