If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to adjust the rotation of your ceiling fan for the summer. Even if you rely on central air conditioning to keep you cool in hot weather, using ceiling fans can considerably reduce the energy costs you’ll rack up through the summer months… but only if your ceiling fan rotation is in the right direction!
In the summer, your ceiling fan should rotate with the leading blade of the fan blade tilted up – that’s usually counterclockwise, depending on the manufacturer. This pushes air down from the ceiling, creating a slight breeze that pushes hot air away from your body. If you’re sweaty, it also speeds up evaporation which further cools your body.
It’s the same effect that wind chill has in the winter – though the air is not actually cooled by the fan, your body feels cooler because the hot air surrounding you has been blown away.
And when your body feels cooler, you don’t need to set the thermostat on your air conditioner quite so low. Remember, every degree below 78F can increase your energy costs by 3 to 4%. So raising your thermostat and turning on your fan to stay cool makes good sense for your budget.
The only exception to the rule is if you have very high ceilings or the fan is hung in an atrium or long stairway. In this instance, the wind chill effect is hampered by distance, and you’ll get better effects by reversing the ceiling fan rotation so that cold air is pulled up through the room, evening the temperature throughout the room.
Most modern celing fans make it easy to switch ceiling fan rotation, usually with a convenient remote or wall switch. If your ceiling fan doesn’t have a remote, then you’ll find a small switch on the fixture itself (check your operation manual if you have trouble finding it). Flip the switch to change ceiling fan rotation – just be sure the fan is turned off first!
To check to see if your ceiling fan rotation is correct, turn the fan on to high speed and stand right under it. You should feel a blast of air circulating down and around you. If you feel no air movement at all, then you need to reverse the ceiling fan rotation to enjoy its cooling effect for the summer months.