Ceiling fans are a stylish and practical addition to most any room. It circulates air and makes a room feel less stuffy. Ceiling fans are energy efficient and use the same amount of electricity as a 100-watt light bulb. The right ceiling fan direction can cool your home better when it’s hot and warm your home more efficiently in colder months. Use this guide to learn which way to turn a ceiling fan in the summer, the winter and all year long.
Before you decide which ceiling fan direction you need, make sure your ceiling fan is properly installed and maintained for best results.
Ceiling fans should hang between seven and nine feet from the floor.
The clearance between the ceiling fan blades and the ceiling should be a minimum of 10 inches.
A ceiling fan should be mounted at least 18 inches away from any walls.
For vaulted ceilings, hang the vaulted ceiling fan from a down rod to get the right height.
If your ceiling is low, consider a flush mount ceiling fan.
Make sure that all screws and bolts are securely tightened.
Use a leveling tool to check if the fan blades are at the same angle. Adjust them if not.
Ceiling Fan Direction in Summer
Although a ceiling fan doesn’t cool air, the right ceiling fan direction can make a room feel much cooler than it is. In summer and hotter months, your ceiling fan blades should rotate counterclockwise. When fan blades turn counterclockwise, they push cooler air down in a column. This creates a “wind chill” effect. To maximize this effect, run your fan at its highest speed.
A high-speed, counterclockwise ceiling fan direction can let you increase your thermostat 4 degrees and still be comfortable. Using a counterclockwise ceiling fan direction can reduce your energy costs up to 30 percent. Most times you can change a ceiling fan’s direction to counterclockwise by flipping a switch on its motor.
Tip: Stand directly under the fan and look up. If the fan is moving counterclockwise, you’ll feel a rush of air.
Ceiling Fan Direction in Winter
The colder it gets, the harder your furnace works to warm the air. Since warm air is lighter than cold air, it can stay trapped at the ceiling. However, the right ceiling fan direction will keep your thermostat low and home comfortable. By changing your ceiling fan direction to clockwise, its blades can push that warm air down towards the floor. It also brings the cool air from the floor to the ceiling.
When your ceiling fan is moving clockwise, run it at the lowest speed. This helps evenly distribute heat throughout the room and prevents a drafty “wind chill”. If you change your ceiling fan clockwise when the temperature drops, you can reduce your utility bills 15 percent or more.
Tip: Stand under the fan to double-check that the blades are rotating in a clockwise direction.
Ceiling Fan Direction in Specific Rooms
A ceiling fan’s direction can also help regulate your home’s air comfort all year long. Below are some additional ways to use a ceiling fan’s direction:
Vaulted ceilings: Leave the fan on the counterclockwise setting year-round. The height of the fan mount makes it unlikely you’ll feel any wind chill.
Dining rooms: To keep the fan from cooling your food too quickly, set it to turn clockwise at a medium or low speed. There will still be air circulation to cool you.
Home office: If you are working on paperwork, a fan set to medium and turning clockwise will keep things from blowing everywhere.
Smokers: Set your ceiling fans to run clockwise when you have a family member or guest who smokes indoors. This will draw the smoke up and away. Open a few windows or turn the AC fan to exhaust and help the smoke leave the room.
Outdoor: An outdoor ceiling fan on a porch or covered patio can help with insect control. Turn the fan on and have it rotated counterclockwise at high speed. The force of the air will help to keep mosquitos and other flying insects away.
General Ceiling Fan Direction Tips
A ceiling fan does more than just provide a good breeze. Here’s a few other troubleshooting, maintenance and use tips.
Remember that indoor ceiling fans cannot be installed outdoors because the heat and humidity can warp the blades or damage the motor.
If you feel little to no air movement, your fan may have a failing motor. Or the pitch of the ceiling fan blades may be too flat. Consider upgrading to a newer ceiling fan.
Keep the blades clean. Buildup on the blades and motor causes the fan to work harder and use more energy.
Get in the habit of turning off the ceiling fan when everyone’s left a room. Fans make people in the room feel cooler or warmer. However, they do not heat or cool a room.
Install a ceiling fan with remote control or a ceiling fan switch. This will make much easier to control the ceiling fan operation. Many remotes let you change a ceiling fan direction at the tap of a button.
Tip: Check the location of blade direction switch when you get a new ceiling fan. The instruction manual of the fan will also tell you how to change the ceiling fan direction for that model.
Adjusting your ceiling fan to the season will help make your home more comfortable. Once you make sure your ceiling fan direction in the winter is clockwise and your ceiling fan direction in the summer is counterclockwise, you’ll be able to save money cooling and heating your home. From ceiling fan blades to a new fan, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.