Which Way Should Your Ceiling Fan Turn in Summer?

Do you know which way you want your ceiling fan to turn in summer?

No, this is not a philosophical question like “What does a hand clap sound like?” This is a handy question, and before you spin the fan you should know the correct answer.

Clockwise or counterclockwise?

To stay cool in the summer, make sure your ceiling fan is spinning counterclockwise.

Unless you have a very dated ceiling fan, there should be a switch on the side of the motor that controls the leaf direction. First, turn off the fan and make sure the blades stop moving completely. Then just reach up (you may need a ladder) and flip the switch to send the blades in the opposite direction.

You can stand under the fan and easily see which way the blades are moving. You’ll feel it too – as the blades move counterclockwise, the fan sends cooler air down. The breeze you feel is known as the wind chill effect. Increase the speed of the fan to feel it even better.

Should you use your ceiling fan in winter?

With all this discussion about how you want your fan to spin in summer, you may be wondering, “Should I use my ceiling fan in winter?” The short answer is yes.

Don’t confuse your ceiling fan with your air conditioner. While air conditioning is built to lower the room temperature, a fan is only intended to keep air circulating and not to make the room cold. You can use this to your advantage in winter. All you have to do is toggle the switch on the fan and move the blades clockwise. Instead of sending cool air down, the fan pulls it up.

Remember that warm air rises. Instead of everything hanging on the ceiling, a fan set to low speed distributes it throughout the room. It won’t keep things warm, but you will feel a difference.

Exceptions to the rule

Depending on where your ceiling fans are located, you should keep the blades moving in one direction all year round. Here are some examples:

High ceilings

If you have high ceilings, you can keep your fan blades running counterclockwise year round. As long as you keep the fan speed low in winter, the fan is likely too far away for you to feel a strong wind chill.

dining room

Be sure to turn the ceiling fan in your dining room clockwise. Otherwise, you’ll chill your hot meal pretty quickly. In fact, this could be a very good reason not to upgrade the ceiling in the dining room with a fan at all.

Office space

Whether you work from home or in the office, if you have a lot of paperwork to do, you should do so under a fan that moves clockwise. If not, you may want to add paperweights to the office budget.

The final result

Don’t assume that your ceiling fan will only be useful in the summer. As long as it’s moving in the right direction, your space will stay temperate year round.

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