Ceiling fan direction in summer: How it should be turning to stay cool
May 18, 2023
Almost 90% of American households use air conditioning, and 66% of that is central AC. The regions with the most AC use are the Midwest and South, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2020 survey.
While many think of fans as the low-cost, less effective alternative to AC, the Department of Energy still recommends using circulating fans in conjunction with AC, specifically ceiling fans.
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Ceiling fans in the summer should rotate counterclockwise, allowing the blades to push the cooler air down. Because ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air in the room (they cool the person), the counterclockwise motion helps circulate the air and create a “wind chill” effect, according to Home Depot. The same goes for outdoor fans, which should turn counterclockwise.
Ceiling fans also present an opportunity for saving money on air conditioning costs – you can comfortably raise the thermostat about four degrees with a fan going, says the DOE.
Wondering how to change the direction of your ceiling fan? There should be a switch on the side of the fan – above the light but below the blades.
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Conversely, switching your ceiling fan to turn clockwise in the winter helps the blades move warm air from the ceiling down. Your fan should be set to low to prevent a draft and keep the airflow consistent.
According to Home Depot, fans on vaulted ceilings should be kept counterclockwise because the ceiling height makes it unlikely to feel wind chill. Dining room fans should be set to clockwise at a medium or low speed to prevent cooling dinner or blowing away papers.
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Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. To figure out which direction is clockwise, picture the hands of the clock moving from 12, down to 6 and back up to 12 again. A clockwise turn moves to the right, and counterclockwise moves to the left.
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