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What Direction Should I Run My Ceiling Fan?

by Denver Plumbing, HVAC, $ Electrical Company

Ceiling fans offer an affordable way to keep your rooms cooler in the heat of summer, and you can also use them to keep your home warmer in the winter. The job of a ceiling fan is to help circulate air. What most people don’t realize is that fans have a few settings to not only adjust the speed of the rotation but also the spin direction. Here we explain how to make the most of your ceiling fans all year long.

Ceiling Fan Spin Directions

Most ceiling fans have two spin directions: 1. clockwise and 2. counterclockwise. Although it might seem what direction your ceiling fan spins makes no difference, it is an important feature you should know how to use. Both directions help move stagnant air in a room which in turn allows you to either create cooler air or force the hot air that rises downwards. You choose the direction that will keep your room comfortable. If you run it the wrong way, you will get the opposite effect.

Clockwise Spin

The clockwise spin is designed to create an updraft. As a result, this is the direction you want your fan to spin in the winter. Although the term clockwise sounds like the spin is going in the intended direction, in the case of ceiling fans, clockwise actually refers to a reverse rotation. When the fan spins clockwise, it draws cold air up and sends warm air down into your room. This allows you to conserve energy because the extra warm air allows you to set your furnace thermostat lower.

Counterclockwise Spin

Counterclockwise rotations are the norm for ceiling fans. When spinning in this direction, the blades are moving forward, creating a downdraft. This is the circulation you want on hot days, as it moves air downward creating a cooling breeze.

Do I Need Ceiling Fans with Air Conditioning?

Although you don’t “need” a ceiling fan if you have air conditioning, you can still benefit from ceiling fans according to the U.S. Department of Energy. When used with air conditioning, your ceiling fan can improve room temperature allowing you to set your thermostat up to four degrees higher. This can save an average of 17 cents per hour. If you don’t have air conditioning or want to reduce the costs of running your AC every day in the summer, an AC unit uses a whopping 3 kilowatts of electricity at 36 cents per hour, while a ceiling fan uses just 30 watts at about 1 cent per hour.

How to Choose the Right Ceiling Fan

This is important because room size impacts the effectiveness of your ceiling fan. The general rule is to use your room’s square footage to determine the fan size you need based on the following:

  • 29” fans cover up to 64 square feet
  • 42” fans cover up to 100 square feet
  • 52” fans cover up to 225 square feet

For rooms up to 400 square feet, you can choose either a 56” or 60” fan or install two 52” fans.

How to Improve Ceiling Fan Performance

Having the right size fan isn’t enough to ensure you get the best use of it. You also want to consider where you install your fan to improve performance. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best spot for your ceiling fans:

  • Center the ceiling fan in the room to get the best circulation
  • In L-shaped rooms, you will need a fan centered in each area
  • Your fan blades need to be at least 18” away from the walls
  • Fans should only be installed in rooms with a minimum ceiling height of 7’
  • You get better airflow if you can install the fan 8’ to 9’ from the floor
  • Choose Energy Star ceiling fan/light combinations as they are 60% more energy efficient
  • Keep the blades of your fan free of dust and grime as dirt can slow them down
  • Do not use a dimmer switch for your ceiling/fan light combinations

These tips will optimize your ceiling fan’s performance.

How to Clean a Ceiling Fan

As mentioned above, keeping your ceiling fan blades clean improves their effectiveness, but it is important to avoid putting pressure on the blades when cleaning. This can damage the blades or set them off balance. As well, never spray your blades directly with cleaning products as this can get into the mechanisms. Instead, lightly spritz a clean cloth or sponge, and then gently remove dirt. Always allow the blades to dry completely before turning the fan on.

If you would like more tips on improving energy efficiency in Denver, speak to the experts at Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, & Electrical today.

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