Which Ceiling Fan Direction? Summer and Winter Seasons

Most people know that a ceiling fan cools a room during the hot days of summer. To do that, it spins counter-clockwise, pushing the cool air downward, but did you know that you can change your ceiling fan direction – and not just because the manufacturers wanted to give you an option? There are a few practical reasons to switch the spinning direction, including energy efficiency. Today we’ll talk about various effects of changing the rotation of your ceiling fan, while also teaching you how to do it.

Why You Should Change Ceiling Fan Direction Depending on Season

Most traditional ceiling fans are capable of spinning in two different directions (clockwise and counterclockwise). Depending on the season, one is better than the other, so let’s get down to it.

  • Clockwise – This direction works best during the winter months. When your ceiling fan spins in this direction, it pulls cold air up to the ceiling and forces the warm air back down the walls and into the room. Using this setting will not just heat your home more evenly, but it will also avoid the windchill effect of your fan. Such a simple energy saving trick!
  • Counterclockwise – Best suited for the summer months, this spinning direction forces the air down into the room, creating a windchill effect. Therefore, your room feels cooler – even though it really isn’t, which means you can give the AC unit a much-needed break.

How to Change the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan

Changing your ceiling fan direction is as easy as flipping a switch – that’s literally all you have to do! Read the two simple steps below to see just how easy it is to maximize the power of your ceiling fan:

  1. Turn off the power to your ceiling fan. Simply turn off the fan from the wall switch, or turn off the power to the motor on the fan itself (if the model features a chain you need to pull).
  2. Change the position of the switch that controls the spinning direction. The switch is usually located on the body of the fan and you should find it easily. It should be the only switch on the unit. Have you located it? Just click it to the opposite position and you’re good to go! Your fan should now spin in the opposite direction.


Useful Tips and Tricks

1. To better understand how the summer/winter trick works, think of it like this:

  • Center in the summer
  • Walls in the winter

Envisioning the direction of the air should help if you cannot figure out the clockwise/counter-clockwise movement. For example, dispersing the warm air down the sides of the walls helps warm the entire room equally. On the other hand, pushing air down in the center during summer helps create a cool and pleasant breeze. Given that the whole point of ceiling fans is added comfort and temperature control, use the setting that works best for you. Luckily, it can also be the setting that saves you money!

2. Are you playing cards at a table beneath a ceiling fan during the summer? Chances are you want to stay cool without blowing the cards off the table. All you have to do is turn your fan in reverse (clockwise) and have it run on the highest speed. This will enable the fan to draw the air up from the table and blow it around your back.

3. What about the ceiling fan right above the dining room table? The same trick that works with playing cards works with anything else you do at the table. Running the fan in reverse direction will prevent the fan from cooling off your food while creating a cool atmosphere around the walls and backup toward the table. This is a trick used in many restaurants; check it next time you’re dining out during summer days.

4. While a ceiling fan is useful in a bedroom, it can also bother your sleep if you don’t like the air blowing directly on you. However, if you run the fan on a higher speed in reverse, you won’t feel so much direct air movement. It will enable a more restful sleep while also getting more comfort from your fan. Unless you prefer to feel the air movement, in which case you will direct it to blast in forward, right down on the bed.

5. In large rooms, the wise decision is to install two ceiling fans. You could experiment with the fans during the summer to discover which setting hits the spot just right. Start by turning them on high speed in reverse, forward, and then opposite directions. Depending on where you sit in the room, a combination of directions may actually be the best solution to creating a unique vortex in the air flow.

Which Ceiling Fans Perform Best?

This is the most commonly asked question, especially when it comes to lower quality ceiling fans. Some of the cheaper models seem to make little difference in summer/winter applications, regardless of the spinning direction. Poor performance during both summer and winter means the ceiling fan’s poor design doesn’t allow it to produce enough airflow.

The most important characteristic of a ceiling fan is the kind of control it allows. You want lots of airflow during hot days, but you also want to control it during milder days. Control over lower speeds during the winter is also necessary because you don’t want the ceiling fan cooling you off as it draws the warm air from the ceiling. And of course, you want a more convenient way to reverse the ceiling fan direction without having to fumble around for a switch.

The “Eco” fans from Emerson are the ultimate solution. Designed for use in both summer and winter, these super-efficient fans have new DC motors. It enables them to use little electricity while generating a wide range of airflow from very low to very high. Since you require hot maximum airflow during and summer months and maximum efficiency at low speeds during cold winter months, these fans are by far the ideal choice.

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David Knoch

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