Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction for Summer for a Cooler Home

Learn how to set your ceiling fan direction for summer and winter to keep your home comfortable year-round.

Ceiling fans can make a stuffy room feel pleasantly cool, but unlike air conditioners, they don't lower the temperature. Instead, fans generate a breeze, creating a wind-chill-like effect as the moving air helps you eliminate body heat. But if your ceiling fan only pushes around hot air, this phenomenon won't be nearly as effective. To keep your home cool (and comfortably warm in the winter), learn how to change your ceiling fan direction for summer and winter.

living room with sectional and sofa table two ceiling fans
James Nathan Schroder

How your ceiling fan blades rotate determines how air circulates in the room. As warm air naturally rises, cool air settles near the floor. Ceiling fan directions for summer should be counterclockwise, creating a downdraft that redistributes cool air around the room.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, running a ceiling fan correctly can allow you to bump up your thermostat by about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. And since ceiling fans use much less energy than most air conditioning units, this is a smart way to reduce cooling costs during the warmer months.

When colder weather hits, your ceiling fan should rotate clockwise to help distribute heat from your furnace, fireplace, or space heater. By creating an updraft, the fan pulls cool air from below up toward the ceiling and pushes the warm air around the room, effectively eliminating any cold pockets. Just be sure to set the fan to low speed so it doesn't create a wind-chill effect.

How to Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction

Most units have a small switch on the side of the base that allows you to change the ceiling fan direction for summer or winter. Use a sturdy ladder to reach the switch near the motor with the fan off. Sometimes, you can change the direction with a remote or wall panel; check your fan's manual for instructions if you can't locate the switch. Once you flip the switch, turn on your fan, stand directly underneath, and look up to ensure it's turning in the right direction. Plan to change your ceiling fan direction for summer and winter. It should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.

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