Should Ceiling Fans Go Forward or Reverse?

Homeowners in the Springfield area often wonder if ceiling fans should go forward or reverse. The answer is they are able to rotate in both directions! However, the best use of a ceiling fan depends on the season. In our most recent blog, the heating and cooling technicians at MB Heating & Cooling explain how to use your home’s ceiling fans to optimize indoor comfort in both the summer and winter and when it’s time for a new fan.

The Purpose of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fan use doesn’t affect the actual temperature of a room, but it does help occupants feel that way. The reason ceiling fans are installed in homes is they assist in air movement. When a room is occupied, using a fan set in the appropriate direction for the season helps occupants feel more comfortable while reducing heating and cooling system use. They’re not just for helping you feel cool – ceiling fans have heating benefits, too!

Turn ceiling fans off when no one is in the room because no one is present to benefit from their use. Running a ceiling fan in an empty room just generates wasted electricity.

How to Use Your Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans go forward or reverse depending on the settings selected. On the exterior of the fan’s motor casing is a ceiling fan direction switch which allows the user to control which direction it rotates.

  • Set the fan to rotate clockwise, or reverse, in the winter.
  • Fans should rotate counterclockwise, or forward, in the summer.

Winter Ceiling Fan Use

Operate ceiling fans in reverse during the cooler months to gain more comfort from the heating produced by your heating or air conditioning system. Warm air rises and gathers higher in the room at ceiling level, leaving temperatures lower in the occupied area below. Using a ceiling fan rotating in the clockwise direction pulls room air upward to force warm air down to the occupied space. Warm air is redistributed back to the areas where people are so they receive more benefit from the home’s heat.

Summer Ceiling Fan Use

In the summertime, fans rotate forward using the counterclockwise direction. When used in this direction, the fan pushes air directly down to the occupied area to create a wind chill effect that helps bodies feel cooler. Increased airflow causes moisture on the skin to evaporate, making your body feel cooler at the same temperature. The fan’s wind chill effect will help you survive the hottest days of summer.

What Direction Is My Ceiling Fan Spinning?

How do you tell if a ceiling fan is moving in forward or reverse when in operation? Turn your fan on high and stand below it. Watch the ceiling fan direction or blade movement. When rotating counterclockwise, fan blades cycle from the top left, then down to the right and back to the top.

It can be difficult to determine if ceiling fans are going forward or in reverse by observing them in motion. Instead, you may need to get a feel for it! You should be able to either feel a direct gust of air, meaning it is set to spin counterclockwise. If you don’t feel a gust of air, the fan is moving clockwise.

When to Replace Your Ceiling Fan?

If the direction switch no longer makes ceiling fans go forward or reverse, the unit needs to be replaced. If you don’t feel much air movement from your fan regardless of the setting, it might be time to upgrade to a new fan.

New energy-efficient ceiling fans use DC motors which consume very little electricity when ceiling fans go forward or reverse to generate vast air movement. Fans need to be sized correctly for a room to operate at their best. 

  • Fans with a 32-inch diameter are used in spaces 64 square feet or smaller.
  • 42- to 44-inch diameter fans are appropriate for rooms 144 to 224 square feet.
  • Use a fan with a 50- to 56-inch diameter in rooms that are 225 square feet or larger.

Ceiling Fans from MB Heating & Cooling

Save money on your energy bills when you install fans in your home. The technicians at MB Heating & Cooling install new ceiling fans to help improve your home’s overall comfort in both the summer and winter. Contact us today for more information.

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