How to Adjust Your Ceiling Fan Direction for Summer and Winter

Here's the right ceiling fan direction for each season.

With temperatures dropping as we enter winter, most of us find ourselves reaching to crank the thermostat up a few degrees. A drafty home is not what we want for the holidays—which is why it seems counterintuitive to turn on the ceiling fan in December. You can always whip up winter comfort foods to stay warm and toasty, but your ceiling fan can help heat a room, too. You just need the right ceiling fan direction.

For the warmer months, here are some myths about your air conditioner we need to clear up.

Why Does Ceiling Fan Direction Matter?

If you take a close look at your fan, you’ll notice a few things. The first has to do with the blades. They should all be positioned at a slight angle in the same direction, which makes sense—flat blades slice through the air; angled blades move air more efficiently. Second, with your fan on low speed, observe the direction that it’s spinning in, either clockwise or counterclockwise. Once you make note of your ceiling fan’s direction, you’ll be able to determine if it’s circulating hot or cool air.

By futzing with your fan’s remote control or flipping a switch on the fan, you should be able to change the direction it spins. Just turn the fan off before you climb up on a ladder to check things out. While you’re up there, you might find a lot of hidden dust. Here’s how to clean a ceiling fan and other hard-to-clean household objects.

Which Way Should My Fan Spin?

During the summer, our fans should spin counterclockwise. This ceiling fan direction creates a downdraft, which means that air is pushed downward, creating that lovely, refreshing breeze we so desperately need on summer days.

During the winter, change the settings in your fan so that the blades spin clockwise. Keep it at a low speed, though, otherwise you’ll create an unwelcome breeze. In this direction, the blades will work to create an updraft. Warm air that’s settled around your ceiling will be pushed up and out around the room, leveling out the cooler temperatures. This method is best used in addition to a toasty fireplace!

Are your teeth still chattering? Here are other ways to warm up a cold room.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.