When the temperature goes up, often so does air conditioning usage. But the AC can eat up a lot of electricity, which can be expensive. That’s why it pays to find alternatives to air conditioning that use less energy, like ceiling fans. Whether you run them instead of the AC or together, a ceiling fan can help reduce your home energy usage. The only catch is that you must know the correct ceiling fan direction for summer.
In summer, you want your ceiling fan to push cold air down toward the floor. The breeze makes perspiration on your skin evaporate, creating a wind chill effect. People under a ceiling fan can feel several degrees cooler than the room’s actual temperature. By running your ceiling fan in the direction for cooling, you’ll rely on air conditioning less and help save energy in your home.
As mentioned, ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. They just affect airflow in the room they’re mounted above. So, when you leave the room, save energy by turning off the ceiling fan.
The correct ceiling fan direction for summer is counterclockwise. Running the blades in that direction ensures that the air blows straight down. As you stand under the fan and look up, you’ll see the blades start at the top left, move down and finally make their way up the right side to the top again.
More importantly, you should also feel the telltale breeze that means you’ve successfully set your ceiling fan direction for cooling. If you can’t feel anything yet, try increasing the fan’s speed.
Yes, the ceiling fan direction for winter is clockwise. When set at a low speed, your ceiling fan draws cool air up and forces warm air down. Redistributing warm air that collects near the ceiling helps make your room feel warmer and keeps you from needing to use more energy to raise the temperature.
To make sure your ceiling fan direction is right for warming, stand under the ceiling fan and look up. You should see the blades rotating in the direction the hands of a clock move: starting at top right, moving down and back up the left side to the top again. The speed should be set to low. You shouldn’t feel a breeze coming down.
To change your ceiling fan direction, the most important thing is locating the switch that controls blade rotation. Traditional ceiling fan models have a toggle switch on the housing, just underneath the blades. (Sometimes the switch is on top of the fan, above the blades.) Some ceiling fans can be reversed by pressing a button on a wall-mounted control. Others come with remote controls — and smart ceiling fans can even be controlled with an app. (If you can’t locate the switch that changes blade rotation, consult the user manual that came with the fan or call the manufacturer.)
If you don’t have the ability to change your ceiling fan direction from the floor, you’ll need to climb up and change the blade rotation by hand.
Steps to take when switching the direction of your ceiling fan by hand:
The ceiling fan that’s best for your summer use will depend on where it’s going and how much you want to spend. Ideally, you’ll want one with multiple speeds. You may want one that doubles as lighting, or that runs silently. And if you want to avoid climbing up and reversing the direction by hand, you should look into ceiling fans that have a wall-mounted or remote control.
Smaller rooms will be served well by smaller ceiling fans; bigger rooms will need larger, more powerful models and possible multiple units. The larger the fan, the more energy used. To cut down on energy use, you may want to get a ceiling fan with an ENERGY STAR® rating, which is up to 40% more efficient than a traditional ceiling fan. If your ceiling fan has lights, use LED bulbs for increased energy efficiency. You can also save energy by turning fans off when you leave the room.
And if you’re looking for additional ways to reduce AC use and improve energy efficiency, you may want to look into other types of fans.
Ceiling fans are suitable for indoor and outdoor use and can be mounted in nearly every room of your house. Size, type and installation will vary by location. Many also double as lighting, which may factor into your decision.
Staying cooler when it’s hot and warmer when it’s cold — and cutting energy consumption year-round — can be as simple as knowing the right ceiling fan direction for summer or winter. But using fans is just one of many energy-saving tips for summer. With some wise investment in the right equipment and some thoughtful changes to your daily routine, you can potentially lower your cooling and heating use during the year’s peak months.
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