Ceiling Fans: Cutting Your Air Conditioning Costs With The Right Rotation


Through the years, we have found that the discussion of the direction of a ceiling fan’s rotation can lead to a lengthy argument full of opinions. Should it be counter-clockwise or clockwise. And when a fan is spinning clockwise when you look up at it, is it actually spinning counter-clockwise?

These are all deep, philosophical questions that could be debated for a long time (and have been.) We will eventually get to the right answer, but let’s first discuss the real question behind these other questions – what is the purpose of a ceiling fan?

Ceiling fans should increase your comfort

That is the most basic function of a ceiling fan, right? They don’t just hang from your ceiling for their industrial beauty, they perform a function – to help keep you cool in the summer (and warm in the winter).

But how does a ceiling fan keep you cool?

It’s simple: moving air feels cooler. Why? Because it speeds up your body’s ability to keep cool through convection and evaporation. You have likely experienced this phenomenon when getting out of the pool of shower – a small breeze can be enough to make you shiver.

It is this property of ceiling fans (the ability to move air and keep you cool) that makes them so valuable. In fact, according to many studies, using your ceiling fans can help you cut your air conditioning costs by up to 20%. How? When you use your ceiling fans properly, you will be able to increase the temperature on your thermostat and use your air conditioner less.

So which way should my ceiling fan be turning?

Instead of thinking in terms of clockwise and counterclockwise, which can be misleading (different manufacturers install fan blades in different ways,) think in terms of airflow.

During Southern California summers you want to be cooled, so the best setting should be one that blows air over your skin to cool you off. For most rooms, this means your fan should be blowing air downward.

How to tell if your fan is spinning the right direction in the summer

Stand under your ceiling fan and see if you can feel a breeze. If so, your fan is blowing air downward. If not, flip the switch on your fan and repeat the test.

For most rooms, this (downward) is the ideal ceiling fan direction for the summer. However, in larger rooms or rooms with high ceilings, the opposite direction may be more comfortable. So experiment and find out what works best for you in your Southern California home.

Service Champions is an air conditioning and heating company located in Southern California and serving the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Contact us online for information on how we can help you improve your home’s comfort.