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Choose the Right Ceiling Fan Direction

in Summer and Winter

  • Stay cooler in the warm months
  • Stay warmer in the cool months
  • Spend less on cooling
  • Spend less on heating

Whether you already have a ceiling fan, or you're thinking of getting one...


Chances are you associate ceiling fans with staying cool in summer.


There's no doubt that creating a cooler living environment in your home or the office is, by far, the biggest reason most people buy ceiling fans.


But did you know that a ceiling fan can also help you stay warmer in winter? That's right — by running your fan in reverse, you'll increase your comfort level during the colder months. It's a simple as flipping a switch.

“In both seasons — summer and winter — your ceiling fan can help you save money on energy costs.”

Let's learn more about ceiling fan direction...

SUMMER – COUNTERCLOCKWISE

Blades push air downwards, creating a wind-chill effect

In the summer, ceiling fans should be set to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. Due to the angle of the fan blades, a counterclockwise spin pushes air down towards where people are sitting or standing. This air movement creates a wind-chill effect, helping you perspire more efficiently and stay cool.

How you save money

A ceiling fan doesn't cool down a room. However, the wind-chill effect will make you to feel cooler in a warmer room. This allows you to cut back on the use of your air conditioner — either by turning it off or adjusting the thermostat a higher temperature setting.


And since ceiling fans use less energy than AC units, you'll save money on your home cooling costs. (According to the US Department of Energy [1], if you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat by about 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort.)

Benefits of running your ceiling fan

counterclockwise in summer:

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Increased Comfort

​The wind-chill effect cools your skin, making a room feel up to 8 degrees cooler.

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​Lower Energy Bill

Reduces your air-conditioner's energy use by up to 40%.

​Reduced Hard Costs

Less wear-and-tear on your air conditioner means lower maintenance and replacement expenses.

WINTER – CLOCKWISE

Blades push air upwards, forcing hot air at the ceiling to redistribute

In the winter, you'll want to reverse your ceiling fan so that it rotates in a clockwise direction. Due to the angle of the fan blades, a clockwise spin draws air up and then pushes it towards the ceiling. This airflow forces the hot air that has been pooling at the ceiling (since hot air rises) to travel to the outer edges of the room and then tumble down along the walls to the floor. After hitting the floor, it will move toward the center of the room, where the fan will draw the now cooler air and direct it, once again, at the ceiling.

How you save money

Warm air collecting at ceiling height in a room is a waste of the energy used to produce it. Although a ceiling fan doesn't warm up a room, it does distribute the heat generated by your furnace more equally throughout the space. As a result, the air down at the level where you spend your time should be warmer.


Your thermostat is also located at this level. Since the air is warmer with the ceiling fan on, it won't turn your furnace on as often. Indeed,  you may also be able to lower your thermostat and still feel warm and snug.


And since ceiling fans are much less expensive to run than furnaces, you'll save money on your home heating costs.

Benefits of running your ceiling fan

clockwise in winter:

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Increased Comfort

Redistribution of warm air pooled at

 the ceiling makes a room warmer throughout.

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​Lower Energy Bill

Reduces your furnace's energy use

 by up to 15%.

​Reduced Hard Costs

Less wear-and-tear on furnace

and less need for space heaters  and

 heating blankets.

How can I tell if my ceiling fan direction is set for summer or winter?

Don’t worry, it’s easy to do.

While the fan is on, stand directly under it and observe the rotation of the blades.


Summer Direction: From your perspective, the blades should be turning counterclockwise (right to left).


Also, while standing under the fan, you should feel air blowing down onto you. If the fan is spinning in the right direction but you don't feel airflow, the problem is likely poor blade design or the blades are not positioned the correct distance from the ceiling.


Winter Direction: From your perspective, the blades should be turning clockwise (left to right).

That’s great, but I don’t  know how to adjust the direction of my ceiling fan.

Just follow these simple steps:

  • 1
    Turn off your ceiling fan.
  • 2
    Find something sturdy to stand on.
  • 3
    Adjust the forward-reverse toggle switch, typically found at the base of the fan.*
  • 4
    Turn on your ceiling fan.
  • 5
    Check that the blades are rotating in the right direction.

*Most ceiling fans have a forward-reverse toggle switch at the base of the motor.


Also, many modern ceiling fans come with a remote that has a forward-reverse switch. Or the built-in wall control may feature a forward-reverse switch .

What about fan speed?

Rule of thumb:  faster in summer, slower in winter

In warm weather, a higher wind-chill factor will make you feel cooler. So you'll probably prefer a medium or high fan speed. However, too much airflow can be annoying, so it's about finding a happy medium for you and your space.


In cool weather, your want your ceiling fan to circulate the heated air pooled at the ceiling down to your level, so you feel warmer. However, any amount of airflow will create a wind-chill effect, causing you to feel cooler. Again, it's about finding a happy medium. Typically, a low or medium fan speed is best because wind chill is minimized, while temperature equalization still occurs.

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