Ceiling fans are such simple home gadgets that they’re easy to overlook. You flip a switch or press a button on a remote to turn them on when it’s hot — and then forget about them until the warmer months return. But did you know there’s a simple trick to make your ceiling fan usable year-round?
Almost every ceiling fan is designed to rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise. Most everyone is familiar with the benefits of a fan’s counterclockwise motion: It creates a downward airflow to cool you — which is ideal for summer or anytime you’re hot. The downward draft from a ceiling fan can even make you feel up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, which means you can rely less on air conditioning in the peak season.
What many may not know is that by simply changing the direction of your fan to rotate clockwise, you can make your ceiling fan into an essential item in the colder months too. It may seem counterintuitive to turn on the fan to get warmer, but the clockwise direction draws cool air up and forces warm air down, which is great for winter or anytime you’re cold. WIth the snow and ice storms that have been hitting large sections of eastern North America this year, it’s good to be aware that you can turn to your trusty ceiling fan to help deal with the blustery storms and freezing temps.
And here’s some even better news: It’s super easy to switch the rotation of your ceiling fan. Here’s how to make the most of your ceiling fan in any season, but especially in winter.
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How to change the direction your fan rotates
There should be a switch on your ceiling fan’s motor housing below the blades. Make sure your fan is turned off and flip the switch to reverse the direction of your fan. This quick and easy adjustment makes your fan usable no matter the season.
If your fan has a remote, it might have a button to reverse the direction of the fan blades.
In the winter, you don’t want cold air blowing on you. Because of this, most people instinctively turn their fans off. Reversing the direction is your other option.
When you want a warming effect, your fan should be rotating in a clockwise direction. Instead of pushing cool air down, that pulls it up, which forces the warm air near the ceiling (remember, heat rises) back down. Stand underneath your fan while it’s turned on to check the direction. If it’s rotating the wrong way, turn the fan off, wait for it to stop spinning and flip the switch.
In the hottest months of the year you want your fan to cool you. For that to happen, you need your fan to push air down. This downward airflow causes a cooling, wind-chill effect that’s perfect for summer.
Again, to confirm your fan’s current setting, stand underneath it while it’s running and check which way the blades are rotating. If they’re rotating clockwise, turn the fan off, wait for it to stop spinning and flip the switch. If your fan is rotating in a counterclockwise direction already, you’re all set.
An important thing to remember
This trick doesn’t have to be used only in the summer or winter — and you don’t have to have it rotate counterclockwise all summer and clockwise all winter.
If you ever want to make a room feel warmer or cooler, simply reverse the direction of the fan to feel a little more comfortable without having to rely on your heat or AC quite so much.