Almost everyone knows that ceiling fans are an essential summer item, perfect for turning muggy heat into a refreshing breeze. But what many people don’t know is that ceiling fans work great in winter too – after one small adjustment.
It may not seem to matter much, but the direction your ceiling fan rotates makes all the difference in effective cooling or heating. Counter-clockwise is the direction to use for summer. With winter, you’ll want clockwise.
To help understand, lie on your back looking up at your fan (enjoy the breeze while you’re there). Imagine the spinning blades are the arms of a clock. If those blades are moving clockwise, that’s the winter heat setting. If they’re moving counter-clockwise, that’s the summer cool setting.
The reason fan rotation matters is because fan blades are purposely tilted. This angling, or pitch, of the blades allows them to scoop air and provide the airflow. The direction you run the fan determines whether the fan scoops the hot air above it or the cool air beneath it.
When you turn on the heater, most people are trying to warm themselves, not their ceilings. Since warm air rises, most of that costly heat will sit uselessly over their heads. Instead, a ceiling fan with a winter setting pulls that warm air back down, keeping humans -- and not ceilings -- nice and toasty. Just be sure to keep your winter fan on a low setting. Even with a winter rotation, high speeds will give a wind-chill effect.
That perfect summer fan won’t do much good if it’s redistributing heat instead of a cool breeze. So, in the summer, to get windy, cool air, you’ll need the traditional counter-clockwise rotation for your fan.
Either way, make the most of your ceiling fan – no matter the season.