Ceiling Fan Rotation
How to Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction in Summer and Winter to Save Money on Heating and Cooling
In any season, running a ceiling fan in your room can add an extra level of comfort to your indoor climate. What's more, it can substantially reduce the amount of money you spend on heating and cooling costs throughout the year. But in order to achieve that extra benefit, it's important to ensure that your ceiling fan rotation is correct.
Did you know that most ceiling fans have a switch that allows them to reverse direction? This is because reversing the ceiling fan rotation redirects the air flow in the room, top to bottom or bottom to top. Depending on the time of the year, and whether you are trying to cool off or warm up, it's useful to know how to manage your ceiling fan rotation for optimal effect.
Summer Ceiling Fan Rotation
It's not hard to appreciate the effect of a ceiling fan in summer. When you stand beneath those spinning blades, you immediately feel cooled and refreshed by the breeze. Ceiling fans don't actually cool the air, of course. But they make you feel cooler by blowing the hot air away from your body. It's just like the effect of wind chill in the winter. Plus, if you're sweating, the ceiling fan speeds up evaporation which cools your body even faster.
But to fully appreciate these effects, you need to make sure your ceiling fan direction is set to blow air down from above. For most fans, the ceiling fan's direction should be counter-clockwise. Since manufacturers vary, however, check the angle of the fan blades to ensure your ceiling fan rotation is correct. As it rotates, the leading edge of the fan blade should be pointed up towards the ceiling. This way, air will blow down on anyone standing or sitting beneath the fan.
When you cool your body with a ceiling fan in the summer, you'll find you don't need to set the thermostat on your air conditioner quite so low to keep cool. This can lead up to substantial savings on your energy bills. If you consider that every degree below 78 degrees Fahrenheit can increase energy costs by 3 - 4%, even a few degrees difference can result in a noticeable reduction in your costs.
Winter Ceiling Fan Rotation
The cooling effects of a ceiling fan in the summer are easy to appreciate. But did you know that a ceiling fan can help keep you warm in the winter? The trick, of course, is to remember to reverse the ceiling fan rotation so that, instead of blowing air down onto to the people below, the fan is pulling air up towards the ceiling.
If you think back to your high school physics class, you will doubtless remember one of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics: heat always rises. This means that when you heat your home in the winter, the hot air rises to the ceiling. It doesn't do anybody much good up there, which is where your ceiling fan comes into play. By reversing your ceiling fan direction in winter, you can force hot air away from the ceiling and distribute it more evenly throughout the room.
In most cases, ceiling fan rotation should be clockwise in the winter. But because manufacturers vary, you can check to make sure your ceiling fan direction is correct by looking at the angle of the fan blades. For the winter, you want the leading edge of the fan blades to be tilted down towards the floor. This has the effect of pulling air up towards the ceiling, where it disperses the hot air collected there and bounces it over to the walls and back down to the floor.
By better distributing the heated air already in the room, you'll find you can lower the temperature on your thermostat and still stay warm and comfortable. Just remember to keep your ceiling fan on the lowest setting in the winter to avoid creating a wind chill effect when you don't want it.
How to Change Ceiling Fan Rotation
Changing a ceiling fan's direction is a very simple procedure.
First, turn off the fan and make sure it has stopped spinning completely - reversing the fan's direction while it's rotating could damage the motor, not to mention you! Somewhere on the body of the fan, between the light and blades, you will find a small unmarked switch going up and down or side to side. Check your owner's guide if you have trouble finding it. Just flip the switch to reverse the ceiling fan rotation and turn the fan back on.
Of course, many contemporary ceiling fans make it even easier to switch ceiling fan rotation by including a button on a remote control or wall switch! Just make sure you stop the fan completely before switching the ceiling fan's direction or you could damage the motor.
Some Exceptions for Ceiling Fan Direction
There are a couple of exceptions for these basic guidelines for ceiling fan rotation.
If your ceiling fan is a room with very high ceilings, it might be too high overhead to provide any noticeable wind chill effect even when it's set on high speed. In this case, even in the summer you're better off leaving your ceiling fan in the reverse (winter) direction so it can help circulate the air in the room.
You'll also want to leave your ceiling fan in the reverse direction if it's hanging directly over a dining table, desk or other work surface. Keep it on high or medium to create an indirect wind chill effect without scattering your papers, or cooling off your dinner before you have a chance to eat.
Energy Savings with Ceiling Fans
At any time of year, a ceiling fan can provide significant reductions to your heating and cooling expenses. Even running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a ceiling fan can cost as little as $100 a year to operate (depending on your electricity rates) and can save you up to 40% on summer cooling costs, and 10% on winter heating costs.
Now that you know the savings you can earn by using proper ceiling fan rotation, doesn't it make sense to install a ceiling fan or two in your own home? Check out our offerings today, and start saving tomorrow!
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