When your summer is heating up and your air conditioner is raising your electric bill, we often look at ceiling fans and wonder whether they’re working at all to help save money. The simple truth is that ceiling fans do a great job at a significantly lowering cost, but only if they’re turning in the proper direction. Why does it matter to your HVAC system and how can you ensure your fans are spinning in the right direction?
Round and Round: Getting the Most from Your Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans circulate the air in a room by moving it in two different directions, depending on its setting. Here’s how it works:
Summer Breezes: Keep it Counterclockwise
When you set your ceiling fan to turn counterclockwise, it creates a downdraft, cooling your skin and making you feel more comfortable. The more air the fan moves, the cooler it will make you feel. But don’t bother running them when there’s nobody in the room, because there’s no benefit from the air motion at that time and it wastes energy.
Winter Winds: Clockwise Rotation
Though a different mechanism is at work in the winter, the effect is the same – a more comfortable home environment. The reversed rotation of the fan in the winter moves warm air near the ceiling down to floor level, evening out the temperature in the room and making you feel warmer. If you don’t reverse the fan, the air will be blowing on you and make you feel cooler, which isn’t the desired effect in the winter. Stick with the slowest speed you have available during the winter to ensure the air is being gently circulated.
How to Switch the Setting
If it’s time to switch the rotation of your ceiling fan, it’s usually a pretty easy process. Typically controlled by a small black sliding switch on the fan body, you’ll just need to turn the fan off, then flip the switch in the opposite direction. Just like that, you’ve switched it. If your ceiling fan is just a bit out of reach, you can sometimes carefully flip the switch with a rod or wire hanger without having to risk a fall from a chair or ladder.
Do you need help getting the most out of your air conditioning unit? If so, please feel free to contact the experts at Cox Air Conditioning and Heating today to arrange for a service call.