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Published on June 26th, 2015 | by Peter Young

How and why to change the direction of your ceiling fans in summer and winter

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Did you know that your ceiling fans may actually spin in two different directions? It’s true, and it’s not just because they wanted to give you an option with which way it spins. There’s actually a few practical reasons for why you would want to switch the direction it spins (including energy efficiency!) This guide will walk you through the various reasons for changing the rotation of your ceiling fans as well as how to do it.

Why it should be clockwise in winter, and counterclockwise in summer

Your ceiling fan may be capable of spinning in two different directions (clockwise and counterclockwise) and depending on the season one is better than the other:

Clockwise – This direction is best suited for the winter months. By spinning your ceiling fan in this direction it will pull cold air up to the ceiling and force the warm air that’s built up back down the walls and into the room. You’ll avoid the windchill affect of your fan and more evenly heat your home, which in turn will allow you to turn down your thermostat and save energy.

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Counterclockwise – This direction is best suited for the summer months. When the blades on your ceiling fan rotate in this direction they will force air down into the room and create a windchill effect, which is what makes the room feel like it’s cooler (even though it really isn’t).

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How to change the direction of your ceiling fan

Changing the direction of your ceiling fan is as easy as flipping a switch, cause that’s literally all you have to do. Just watch this quick video to see just how easy it is to change the direction of your ceiling fan:

1. Turn off the power to your ceiling fan. Simply walk over to your wall switch and turn off the fan, or turn off the power to the motor on the fan itself by pulling on the appropriate chain.

2. Change the position of the switch that controls the direction of the fan. This will be located on the body of the fan and should be the only switch on the unit. Once you’ve located it all you have to do is click it to the opposite position and voila! Your fan should now spin in the other direction.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your home more energy efficient, be sure to check out our green home improvement projects!

Photo courtesy of the Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.



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