Pro Tip: Change Your Ceiling Fan Directions in the Winter & Summer

Alex Collins
3 min readNov 16, 2021

When summer comes to a halt & the cold weather approaches, you may start looking for ways to keep warm, especially without cranking up the temperature in your house when natural gas costs hit an all time high. One way to reduce heating (& in the summer cooling) costs in your home and make your home more comfortable, is to change the rotational direction of your ceiling fan. This can save you money, and helps to maintain the temperature of a room, all without touching your thermostat.

Your ceiling fan uses very little energy, so you can save power in the winter by running it in conjunction with your furnace. Operating a ceiling fan correctly can help lower your utility bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in the summer, you can turn your thermostat up by about 4 degrees with no reduction in comfort. The same goes in the winter time, with turning your thermostat down a few degrees from normal.

Pro tip: Ceiling fans are only considered safe in rooms with 8-foot ceilings or higher, for the safety of people walking around in the room. But to maximize their efficiency, make sure your blades hang 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling and somewhere between 7 and 9 feet from the floor.

When the fan blades rotate towards the left (counterclockwise), they blow air onto your skin. But when they rotate towards the right (clockwise), they draw the air up instead. Hot air rises, so as your furnace is working to warm your house, the second floor will be broiling by the time the first floor starts to get warm. However, by changing ceiling fan direction to clockwise, you can create an updraft, which will draw cold air up towards the fan. That cold air displaces the hot air, which is then distributed to your home. To change your fan’s direction flip the switch at the base of the fan. Then, turn it on and stand under it. In summer, you should feel a breeze on your skin. In winter, you shouldn’t.

Ceiling fan manufacturers claim that doing this consistently and correctly can reduce heating bills by up to 15%. For extra savings, run the fan at a lower speed in winter.

How to Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction

Almost every ceiling fan has a switch on the outside of the motor that changes the blades’ movement from counterclockwise to clockwise, and vice versa. When winter arrives, you should first check your wall panel (if your model uses one) for a reverse-direction setting, which is the easiest way to flip from summer mode to winter mode. Press it once and look up at the fan to ensure that the blade direction has reversed.

If your ceiling fan doesn’t operate via a wall panel (many do not), you’ll need to change the direction manually. Turn the fan off, wait for the blades to stop moving completely, and climb a sturdy ladder or step stool to reach the small switch on the motor housing. If the switch isn’t visible, check the top of the motor housing, above the blades. *ensure that the fan is completely off before doing this* Flip the switch, climb down, and turn the fan on low, then make sure it’s running in the correct direction.

Ceiling Fan Installation & Replacement Services

If you are in the market to replace your current ceiling fans, then give our professional electricians a call today at Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric. You can reach us by calling our office at 479–289–8708.