Ceiling Fan Direction Makes A Room Cooler or Warmer

We’ve had a few days of warm weather here on the East Coast lately and my wife and I have been running the ceiling fans in most of our rooms to keep the rooms cool without having to turn on our central air conditioner quite yet. Even though its been relatively mild outside we have a few rooms that get a lot of sun and warm up rather quickly.

I was sitting in my office last night and commented that even though the fan above me was on medium speed that it didn’t feel as though it was cooling the room very well. It was at that moment that I realized I had forgotten to switch the fan direction from “warming” to “cooling.”

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You see, most ceiling fans will go in two directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. Most ceiling fans sold these days have a small switch right “above” the blades (between the fan blades and the ceiling, on the “stem” of the fan) that control the fan blade blowing direction: right or left. Some fan manuals call these directions “forward” and “reverse” but I can never remember which direction is which. This fan direction switch is a pretty important feature because the ceiling fans will move air differently for each direction. You usually just need to flip the switch on the fan to change direction, but remember to use the same safety methods you used when you were cleaning your ceiling fan.

You can tell which way you fan is blowing by turning it on low and watching which way the blades spin. If the fan blades start moving to the right, then your ceiling fan is blowing clockwise. If the ceiling fan blades start moving to the left then your ceiling fan is blowing counter-clockwise. Simple so far… but which direction do you want for most fans?

Ceiling Fan Spinning Counter-Clockwise: Makes a room cooler by blowing the air downward. When the fan is spinning in a counter-clockwise direction you should feel a cool breeze coming down and around the room.

Ceiling Fan Spinning Clockwise: Makes a room warmer by creating subtle updraft which pushes the warm air near the ceiling down along the walls and into the room. When the fan in spinning in a clockwise direction you should not feel as much of a breeze.

Need to remember on the fly? Here’s a phrase that helps the memory: Counter-Clockwise Cooler (You just need to remember there are three C’s when it comes to ceiling fans!)

Stay cool this summer!