What Does Ceiling Fan Direction Have to Do With Efficient Cooling?

April 23, 2015

If you're like most people, you take for granted the ceiling fan spinning above your head. It's basically just moving the air, right? Actually, ceiling fans can supplement bothcooling and heating in your Des Moines area home, as long as the ceiling fan direction is set correctly. Nearly all ceiling fans come with a switch on the fan housing. One setting makes the fan blades rotate counter-clockwise and the other setting makes them turn clockwise. The default setting for ceiling fans is counter-clockwise, and the great majority of homeowners never change that setting. Here's how ceiling fan direction can help with both cooling and heating

Ceiling Fan Cooling 

With counter-clockwise blade rotation, the fan blows air downward so it hits room occupants below. The moving air creates a cooling wind chill effect. While this doesn't actually lower the room temperature, it feels as if it does. This means you can set back the A/C's temperature three or four degrees without losing any comfort. Or during milder days, perhaps you won't need to turn on the A/C at all. Either way, you'll save money on electricity.

Ceiling Fan Heating

In the winter, turn the blade direction to clockwise. This blows air toward the ceiling, where it redistributes warm air that collects high in a room. That warm air moves toward the walls and then moves down into the room where people are located. The room thermostat can also "feel" that warmer air, and as a result, won't kick on the furnace quite so quickly. That means lower heating bills.

A Couple of Suggestions

  • When using a ceiling fan for supplemental cooling, don't forget to turn off fans in unoccupied rooms. The wind chill effect is only meaningful when someone can actually feel it.
  • If you adjust the blade rotation to clockwise in the winter, don't forget to readjust it to counter-clockwise in the spring. Believe it or not, some homeowners have left their ceiling fans blowing upward through half the cooling season.
For more tips on energy efficiency in your Des Moines area home, please contact us at Lozier Heating & Cooling. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Amy Walters/Shutterstock"