Ceiling fan direction makes a huge difference in how comfortable you feel in your own home.
Many folks know that there is a blade direction switch on their fan so that they can change it. But the question is – Which way should a ceiling fan turn? What direction is appropriate for each season?
If you get it wrong, at best your fan is less useful than it could be. And at worst, it is making you downright UN-comfortable.
Ceiling Fan Facts
Like any other appliance that works in an enclosed space, the size of the space affects the size of the fan.
The first step is to be sure that you have fans appropriately sized for the space they are in. With larger living spaces, particularly if there are vaulted areas or walls of glass letting in the light, you may need multiple fans in some rooms.
Assuming the fans are right-sized, let’s talk about adjusting them for the seasons.
Up or Down?
When it’s hot outside
A fan operating properly will let you lower your air conditioning costs because the room will feel more comfortable at a higher temperature.
What’s the secret? A cool breeze. That’s what the fan produces when the blades are set to push air down. Even though the air near the ceiling is warmer, the breeze feels good. The slight breeze is cooling on the skin – even if the temperature of the air isn’t “cold”.
Your ceiling fan should blow down in hot weather.
When it’s cold outside
A fan operating properly will let you lower your heating costs because the room will feel more comfortable at a lower temperature.
Why? Air circulation to gently keep the air mixed removes the cold draft near the floor. It moves the warmer air down from the ceiling. The two get mixed gently as the cold air is pulled up and displaces the warmer air near the ceiling.
If your fan is moving the air slowly and pulling the cold air up while letting the warmer air near the ceiling come back down to where you are standing or sitting, the effect is not a breeze (like you want in the hot weather) but a barely noticeable circulation that keeps the temperature moderated.
Your ceiling fan should pull the air up in cold weather.
Which Way When?
- Down in summer (when you are turning the air conditioner down to a comfortable setting)
- Up in winter (when you are turning the furnace up to a comfortable setting).