With warmer temps setting in, we find ourselves turning on those ceiling fans. But did you know the direction your fan rotates can make a difference in not only air flow but energy savings? Turning your ceiling fan to the correct rotation for summer and winter months can make save your energy dollars if it rotates in the proper direction depending whether its winter or summer.
During hot summer weather, to help produce a comfortable breeze or ‘windchill’ that cools the skin, blades should rotate in a ‘reverse’ counter-clockwise motion. The air movement has the same comfortable effect as when you fan yourself with a magazine to get relief from hot, stifling air.
During winter heating, to help move warm air that is trapped on the ceiling, blades should turn ‘forward’ in a clockwise motion. This movement will push up the air and pull the warm trapped air down the sides of the room improving heat distribution.
Ceiling fans in themselves do not heat or cool a room, but the ceiling fan rotation allows improved air circulation, which can greatly improve the comfort of your living space. You can also save in energy costs when the ceiling fan is on the correct setting to support your cooling or heating efforts.
How to Conduct Your Own Ceiling Fan Rotation Test
Since fan settings and blade angles are set by the manufacturer and these design features dictate how the fan operates, your fan could be designed to work opposite to the above settings. If your fan has instructions for summer/winter use, follow those guidelines.
But in the absence of product information as to what setting is best for summer or winter for your particular fan, follow my standard rotation recommendations for summer/winter, or conduct your own test:
On the first or forward setting, explore where the air movement is detected, then make a reference note as a reminder for seasonal change. Then try the second or reverse setting. These are the optimum setting effects:
In the summer, you want to feel the air circulating underneath and around the area reached by the fan. On a hot day, you would feel more comfortable and can detect air circulation on the right setting.
In winter, as hot air rises, it becomes trapped at the ceiling level. On the correct winter setting, the fan should push air up and draw that hot air down the side walls of the room. You would feel practically no air movement underneath and only a little air circulation closer to the walls. During summer this setting does not provide any comfort or enough air circulation to the room. But it does bring the hot air down to warm the cooler air closer to the floor.