Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.
Which Way Should A Fan Spin In The Summer? (Find Out Now!)
During the hottest months of the year, any measures that can be taken to provide a cool space are imperative. You could lean on your HVAC system, but that can be costly, especially if it is running all of the time.
A ceiling fan can be a great way to stay cooler during the summer. But did you know that the orientation of the ceiling fan can play a major role? During the summer, the fan blades should turn counterclockwise. Turning counterclockwise creates cool air while a clockwise motion creates warm air.
Table of Contents
- Which Way Should My Ceiling Fan Spin?
- Changing the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan
- Switching Direction on Pull Chain Ceiling Fans
- Switching Direction on Remote Controlled Ceiling Fans
- Switching Direction on Smart Home Ceiling Fans
- Exceptions to the Rule
- Why Would a Ceiling Fan Have Only 3 Blades?
- How Do I Choose a Ceiling Fan That Fits My Room?
- How Do I Pick the Fan’s Hanging Height?
- Are Metal or Plastic Fans Better?
Which Way Should My Ceiling Fan Spin?
What far too many people don’t realize is that it matters how your ceiling fan spins. It may seem arbitrary and you may think that the ceiling fan only turns out cold air. The fact of the matter is that it should be turning a specific way depending on the season.
During the winter. During the colder months of the year, your ceiling fan should be turning clockwise. This effect creates an updraft. Updrafts keep the air warmer than it would be otherwise, helping keep your home warmer when the temperatures start to drop.
During the summer. On the flip side, your ceiling fan should turn counterclockwise when temperatures rise. The counterclockwise motion produces a downdraft. The downdraft blows cold air down, creating a cool breeze that is more than welcome during the summer.
If you have been struggling to regulate the temperature in your home and can’t figure out why, the ceiling fan can be a major component. Make sure that it is spinning the proper way and you will notice a stark difference.
Changing the Direction of Your Ceiling Fan
Not all ceiling fans are created the same. There are many different types and models out there, so one method may work for yours but not another. Whether you have pull chains, a remote control, or a smart ceiling fan, changing the direction is relatively easy.
Switching Direction on Pull Chain Ceiling Fans
- Turn off the fan. Turn the ceiling fan off and make sure that it has stopped completely. Not only is it difficult to change the direction of the rotation, getting hit with the fan blade is never fun. Save yourself some hassle and pain by turning off the fan.
- Look for a switch. On pull chain models, there is generally a fan switch located somewhere within the light fixture or the body. Carefully locate that switch.
- Flip the switch. After locating the fan switch, simply flip it in the opposite direction. Be certain that you note the rotation before starting; you don’t want to accidentally flip it in the wrong direction.
- Replace hardware and turn it back on. If you had to remove anything to get to the fan switch, replace that hardware now. More than likely, it could be glass features covering the switch. With everything secure once again, turn the fan back on and make sure that it is rotating in the proper direction.
Switching Direction on Remote Controlled Ceiling Fans
- Turn off the fan. Whenever you are working on a ceiling fan – even something simple like this – turn the fan off. While nothing catastrophic should happen, getting whacked really hard with the fan blades are never a pleasant experience.
- Fan button. On the ceiling fan’s remote, there should be a fan button. Press it and hold it down until the light blinks. The blinking light indicates that you have successfully changed the direction.
- Turn the fan back on. Turn the ceiling fan back on and verify that it is spinning in the right direction. Having a remote control is arguably the easiest way to make changes to your ceiling fan.
Switching Direction on Smart Home Ceiling Fans
There are some ceiling fans that come with a smart connect feature. You can pair them with smart home devices and even use your smartphone to make any adjustments or changes. Like the remote-control process, it is a simple 3-step process.
- Turn off the fan. You know the drill by now. Let the fan come to a complete stop before making any adjustments for optimal safety.
- Toggle direction. Using your smart connect feature (the name may be different depending on the brand), toggle the direction using voice command or a smart device app. Most smart fans should be compatible with smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
- Turn the fan back on. If this all wasn’t easy enough, you can use voice command or the app to turn the fan back on. In just a few taps or voice commands, you can switch the orientation of your fan.
Exceptions to the Rule
While the directions set forth for summer and winter are generally accurate, there are a few exceptions that you should be aware of.
Vaulted ceilings. When you have vaulted ceilings, leave the fan set to counterclockwise all year. Because of the height of the mount, you probably won’t feel the chill of the draft anyway.
Dining rooms. Having a fan in the kitchen can lead to food cooling too quickly. Combat the issue by turning it clockwise and setting it at a low or medium speed. The draft won’t be quite as intense and shouldn’t compromise your food.
People who smoke: If you or someone who visits often smokes, turn the ceiling fan clockwise. Setting it to clockwise draws the smoke upwards and then eventually out of the home. You can help the process by opening up a couple of windows or even running your AC’s exhaust fan.
Outdoor ceiling fan. For some covered patios or porches, you may have an outdoor fan. You will want to keep it rotating counterclockwise at high speeds. Doing so will help keep insects like mosquitos at bay, keeping your guests annoyance-free.
Why Would a Ceiling Fan Have Only 3 Blades?
You may notice that there are a variety of ceiling fans out there and they come with different numbers of blades. But why is this the case? Well, fans create airflow. The best fans do so without creating a ton of noise in the process.
Depending on the climate that you live in, 3 fan blades can be the optimal number for efficiency and air movement. By adding more blades, you may actually increase the drag on the fan motor, reducing performance along the way.
Fans that have 3 blades have been shown to be optimal for cooling comfort and air delivery. They are also whisper quiet, delivering that performance without making its presence known.
How Do I Choose a Ceiling Fan That Fits My Room?
Yes, size does matter when it comes to ceiling fans. You want one that will match up to the room that it is going in. The size of the fan is generally dictated by square footage. When a fan is either too big or too small, the air won’t be able to properly circulate.
The best way to determine the proper fan size is by measuring the diameter of the blade sweep. Start at the tip of one blade and measure straight across from it. If the fan has an odd number of blades, measure from the tip of one blade to the center part of the fan and then just double that number.
For larger rooms, you can always go with two smaller fans for better airflow without having one big, focal point.
How Do I Pick the Fan’s Hanging Height?
Depending on building codes, the bottom portion of the fan should be a minimum of 7 feet from the floor. If you are looking for optimal circulation, you’re probably better off going 8-9 feet off of the floor. There are, however, a couple of situations that can dictate fan height.
Low ceilings. Rooms that have ceilings 8 feet or shorter, look for a fan that hugs the ceiling to create a lower profile. This kind of fan generally leaves out the downrods that are common in other types of ceiling fans.
Average and high ceilings. When a room has a ceiling that is at least 9 feet in height or more, use a downrod. You can find downrods that range in height from 3-72 inches. The downrod is what suspends the fan from the canopy located on the ceiling. You get better spacing and get better circulation with the downrod.
For rooms that have a 9-foot ceiling, get a fan that has a 6-inch downrod. Anything larger, add 6 inches for every foot of ceiling height.
Are Metal or Plastic Fans Better?
Another debate worth considering when choosing a fan is the material type. Generally speaking, fans can be bought in either plastic or metal. Both come with their own pluses and minuses that are worth considering.
Metal fan blades. Metal fan blades generally move a lot more air, resulting in better cooling capability. The downside is that they tend to be quite a bit louder.
Plastic fan blades. Plastic fan blades may not move quite as much air around as a metal fan blade, but they are noticeably quieter. Depending on which you value – quiet or cooling – one will be substantially better than the other.
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