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Do ceiling fans make your room cooler? Which way should blades turn in the summer?

Aug 07, 2023Aug 07, 2023

Ceiling fan. (Getty Images)

It’s blazing hot outside. So hot that it seems many air conditioning units are struggling to keep up with the demand for a blast of cooler air, prompting people to turn to their ceiling fan for a boost.

But do ceiling fans really make you feel cooler?

Yes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Ceiling fans, along with table, floor and mounted fans, don’t actually lower the temperature but can create a wind chill effect that will make you feel more comfortable in your home, even if it’s cooled by air conditioning. Ceiling fans are especially effective because they can circulate air throughout the room and create a draft.

In the summer, ceiling fans should be set to operate in a counterclockwise motion. In the winter, you should reverse the direction to clockwise and set on a low speed to move warm air from the ceiling to the living level of a space.

According to the Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting by about 4 degrees with no reduction in how cool it feels. The fans work best when the blades are 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling.

Larger ceiling fans move more air. A 36 or 44-inch diameter fan will cool rooms up to 225 square feet, while fans that are 52 inches or more should be used in larger-sized rooms. Multiple fans work best in rooms longer than 18 feet. Small- and medium-sized fans will provide efficient cooling in a 4- to 6-foot diameter area, while larger fans are effective up to 10 feet.

A larger blade will also provide comparable cooling at a lower velocity than a smaller blade, the agency said.

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