As a homeowner, it’s important to utilize appliances such as fans in a way that benefits you and your heating and cooling bill. Knowing what direction to run your fans throughout the year will help the home feel more comfortable and help keep you and your family warmer or cooler depending on the season.
For a cooling effect fans should run in a counterclockwise or forward motion. This helps to force air down in the room which gives a wind chill effect that makes a room feel cooler. Ultimately the warmer the weather, the higher the speed of the fan should be. If you’re not feeling the fan, turn the fan off and use the reverse toggle switch and turn it back on at high speed.
Some homeowners save up to 40% on air conditioning costs with these changes. It reduces the use of central or window air conditioning units and creates a cooling wind chill effect on the skin that can make a room feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
During the summer you will want maximum wind chill effect. This means that the main column of air rushing straight down from the fan. It’s important to understand that if your fan is not directly over the area you want to feel cooler then you might find it is more comfortable to run your fan at a higher speed in the wrong direction, which will push air out further to where you’re spending most of your time. This all depends on fan placement in your home.
During the winter, a fan should run clockwise or reverse at a low speed. This helps to draw the room air up toward the ceiling and forces that warm air down and toward the walls. This avoids the wind chill effect felt during the summer months. Always run your fan at a low speed during cold weather months.
Redistribution of warm air in a home makes it feel more warm and comfortable. Homeowners can save up to 15% in total heating costs and also reduce the cost of heating fuel. This will also reduce clutter in a home that uses space heaters or heating blankets to stay warm in cold weather.
In cold weather, you won’t want to feel air movement from a fan. Test this by standing underneath the fan and turn it on high speed. Determine what mode will have you feeling the least amount of air. It’s important to note that you may have some wind chill effect no matter what speed you use during this time, but having it going in the right direction will increase its effectiveness at keeping your home warm. This is because the fan draws cooler air from the floor directly above the fan where it is mixed with warmer air. This air is then kicked out from the ceiling toward the walls. Air is circulated giving you the least amount of direct air, which helps to minimize the wind chill effect we spoke of earlier.
Fan Direction Exceptions
There are always exceptions to rules such as in a dining room. Running a fan in reverse will make your food cooler faster, so it is advisable to keep your fans running in the same direction all year long in this room of your home. In bedrooms, some people don’t like feeling air blowing directly on them while others don’t mind. Adjust accordingly to each person and their particular bedroom. Also, in larger rooms you may want to install two different ceiling fans and use one in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. This will create a vortex of air flow and really hit the spot in terms of cooling or warming all year long. For smokers, you may want to run fans in reverse all the time as it will draw smoke up toward the ceiling and out toward the walls and away from guests, children and pets. Medium speed is best in these situations.
How to Adjust Fan Direction
Many of today’s fans have remote controls or wall controls that adjust their directions. However if your fan does not, look for a toggle switch on the motor housing found below the blades. Flip this switch to change the direction of your fan. For vertical switches, move it down for summer direction or up for winter direction. For fans with horizontal switches, flip the switch to the left for downward airflow for the warm weather months and to the right for upward airflow for cold weather.