Ceiling fans are installed to increase comfort in all seasons, improve air flow, and help to lower the cost of heating and cooling your home. How do they do this? Well, did you know that your ceiling fans have a toggle switch that determines the direction the blades spin, and that there is a recommended setting depending on the season? This has been a topic of debate around our house so we will try help to sort things out once and for all.
First is important to understand how the air flows on each setting. When the blades are spinning counter clockwise the air is being pulled from the ceiling and pushed down, and when the blades are spinning clockwise air is being pulled up to the ceiling from the floor. The picture below illustrates the air flow.
Traditional thought says in the summer you want your fan to run counter clockwise, pushing the air down creating a cooling breeze; this makes the air feel cooler than it actually is and your air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable. Conversely in the winter you don’t want to feel the breeze, but still want the benefit of air circulation, so the blades should spin clockwise. This circulates the air from the floor, across the ceiling, and down the walls circulating the warm air for more efficient heating.
There are exceptions to every rule and your personal comfort will be the final determination of the fan blade spin setting. For example, I like air movement when I’m sleeping, but do not like a direct breeze, so at night setting the fan to the clockwise setting is best for me. The air flow that the fan creates will be different in every room, we recommend testing all settings to find your optimal air flow.
Photo credit to DelMar Fans
Written by Eric Rickert