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What is the Proper Ceiling Fan Direction?

Ceiling fans are the must-have home appliance for summer, but did you know that ceiling fans are also handy in the fall and winter? Changing the direction of your ceiling fan in the summer and winter not only makes you feel comfy, but it also allows you to adjust the thermostat and give your AC or heating unit a much needed break (your wallet will also get some much-needed rest, trust us). Here's everything you need to know about changing your ceiling fan direction and how it can help you save.

Ceiling Fan Direction for Summer & Winter Video

Counterclockwise Fan Direction for Cool Summer Savings

Summer Ceiling Fan Counter Clockwise Direction

In the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor. The cool air evaporates perspiration and creates a wind chill effect, which makes you feel cooler without affecting the room temperature. This allows you to set the thermostat at a higher temperature without forfeiting comfort.

So, how you can you tell if your ceiling fan direction is set for summer? Turn on the fan, stand directly under the fan blades and watch the blades rotate. The blades should move from the top left, then down to the right, and then back to the top. Looking for a more telltale sign? You should feel air movement while standing under the fan. If you do not feel air movement, the fan is spinning clockwise.

Cooling comfort is just a small benefit of using a ceiling fan in the summer. Homeowners who use ceiling fans during the summer can save as much as 40 percent on air conditioning bills.

Don't confine your comfort to the indoors. If you enjoy spending a sunny summer afternoon outside, choose an outdoor ceiling fan for your patio, porch, or favorite outdoor spot. An outdoor fan not only helps you keep cool, but it also keeps insects and other unwanted pests at bay. See Del Mar Fans & Lighting’s selection of UL approved outdoor ceiling fans.

Clockwise Fan Direction for Warm Winter Comfort

Winter Ceiling Fan Clockwise Direction

In the winter, ceiling fans should rotate clockwise at a low speed to pull cool air up. The gentle updraft pushes warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling, down along the walls and back the floor. This makes a room feel warmer, which allows you to lower the thermostat temperature and decrease the use of heating devices. Homeowners who use ceiling fans during the winter can save as much as 15 percent on heating bills.

So, how can you tell if your ceiling fan direction is set for winter? Turn on the ceiling fan, stand directly under the fan blades and watch the blades as they rotate. The blades should move like a clock's hand - from the top to the right, then down to the left, and back to the top) at a low speed to pull cool air up.

Exception: If your ceiling fan is mounted on a two-story cathedral or a vaulted ceiling, the fan is too high to create a discernible wind chill, and therefore, can stay in a counterclockwise setting all year round.

How to Adjust the Direction of Your Fan

Blue Arrow Pointing At Ceiling Fan Direction Reverse Switch

Today, most ceiling fans include remote controls or wall controls that adjust the direction in which the fan blades rotate, which makes reversing your ceiling fan as simple as pressing a button. Press the forward button to set your ceiling fan to spin counterclockwise for the summer. Press the reverse button to set your fan to spin clockwise for the fall and winter. Remember to adjust your thermostat in order to save money and energy.

See Del Mar Fans & Lighting’s selection of remote ceiling fans.

If your ceiling fan does not include a remote or wall control, look for a toggle-switch on the motor housing just below the blades. Flip the switch to change the direction of the fan blades. For vertical switches, flip the switch down for summer direction (downward airflow) or flip the switch up for winter direction (upward airflow). For horizontal switches, flip the switch to the left for summer direction (downward airflow) or flip the switch to the right for winter direction (upward airflow).


Changing the direction of your ceiling fan not only guarantees year-round comfort, but also savings.

Do you change your ceiling fan direction for summer and winter? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Murray Rule
Perfect can notice more heat already Thanks
September 20, 2013 at 9:27 pm
Morgan Douglas
Yes helpful
September 24, 2013 at 1:28 am
Marian Pukalo Siwy
fyi the first paragraph has a typo, it says clockwise for both summer & winter
October 9, 2013 at 9:07 am
Jacqueline Caplin Rousseau
Most helpful, thanks!
October 10, 2013 at 11:52 am
Jennifer Evette Rivera
that was AWESOME! I never knew and that was so simple :) Thanks
October 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm
Jeffrey Levandoski
October 15, 2013 at 10:08 pm
Daniel Blumentritt
So what about when you want to cool a warm room in the winter by opening a window, but the cold air is stuck at the ground? In that case the winter setting would still work, no?
October 18, 2013 at 4:06 am
Angela Strickland-Shires
Great video
October 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Yes, the winter setting would work. It would depend on the outdoor elements as well, how cold outside, how windy and what height the window is. So, it may not work perfectly.
October 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm
Sharon Woodard
Very helpful
October 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Hope Remetta
November 5, 2013 at 11:54 pm
Louise Bédard
November 6, 2013 at 7:49 am
R-LilRed BrownSugar
Awesome very helpful .
November 14, 2013 at 5:57 am
Betty Miller
Thank you for reminding me. The video is so helpful.
November 14, 2013 at 8:49 am
Janice Childs Farmer
Thank You awesome!
November 20, 2013 at 9:26 am
Donna Monir
Thanks,,,,the video helped a lot.
November 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm
Gary David
Great help!
November 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
Marliza Osburn
November 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm
Tami Kroeck
Hey! That's the fan I have in my living room! Good tip! :)
November 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Susie Shankwitz
Very straightfoward & helpful. Thank you.
November 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm
Pam Lewis
great! that's what I needed to know!
November 25, 2013 at 9:27 am
Crystal Bunney
Very helpful!! Thank You!!
November 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm
Cary Prater
Thanks for the quick and easy info!
November 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm
Christina L. McDade
Thanks. Very helpful and easy to understand
November 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Franklin Todd Thomas
Yes you helped me understand ceiling fan blade(s) rotation & esp. the correct rotation in the winter months. It is easily understood, esp. by the visual demo (video). You made it seem simpler too. Thanks!
December 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Mike Russell
Think you you helped me!
December 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Judy McCollough Harp
A big thank you!!!
December 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm
Paul Pedrosa Boston
thank you for the information for my fan direction to work in summer and winter it worked out great
December 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Mick Pace
Your fan direction in the video is backwards.
December 6, 2013 at 10:52 pm
Shaun Conroy
December 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm
Conan Troy Stufflebeam
Thank You for the helpful facts.........:D
December 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm
Linda Griffith Ryan
Never could remember which direction. I printed out the tips so I'll never have to wonder again! Thanks
December 11, 2013 at 9:18 am
Martha Hackenberger
I'm a visual learner so this was greatly appreciated. Fan is now spinning in the correct direction.
December 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm
Karen Davis
It was great to be able to see the tilt of the blades and direction needed. Thank you.
December 15, 2013 at 12:27 am
Jami Brown
YES, thankyou so much
December 15, 2013 at 5:56 am
Paul Coleman
Yes, Very clear directions. Thanks
December 16, 2013 at 9:30 am
Ann Z. Chan
Thx. Helpful.
December 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Bruce Dale
Every year, I need a reminder. Thanks!
December 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm
John Doxie
It was very helpful & easy to follow direction, thank you.
December 24, 2013 at 7:51 am
Heather Drier
vaulted ceiling fan how far would the ideal placement extend down to enable high effective use.
December 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hello Heather, For optimal air movement, ceiling fans should hang 8 – 9 feet from the floor. Depending on the height of the vaulted ceiling, you may need to purchase a longer downrod to hang the fan.
December 26, 2013 at 10:09 am
Carrie Bartlett
I never knew this. Awesome!
December 26, 2013 at 11:50 am
Lily Rodulfo
So simple to understand. I hope you don't mind that I posted on my Facebook page. Thank you!
December 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm
Kenneth Burke
Excellent! Very clear directions
January 1, 2014 at 7:11 am
Colleen Obryan
Thanks, I already feel warmer Colleen
January 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm
Lori Anne Gola
Thanks for the tip
January 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm
Patricia Cubberly
Thank you!!! Never new the correct rotation for either summer or winter!
January 5, 2014 at 10:49 am
Retha Miller Starkey
Thank you, just what I needed
January 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm
Sunshine Perez
Thank you
January 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm
Patti Saurette
Here's a tricky question for you....We have an A-frame. The A-frame structure is 2 stories high with no interior walls. It wide open all the way up. Our ceiling fan hangs from the A-frame directly in the middle. It is pretty snug to the ceiling:. Directly below the ceiling fan, two stories down is a stairwell to the basement. It divides the dinning and living area. In the winter, if we set the fan to the proper rotation, are we not just blowing our warm air down the stairwell? The basement level has in-floor heating and if anything it would be nice to pull air UP from the basement. What would you do?
January 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm
Patti Saurette
I should add that our climate in winter can get as cold as -15f so every extra degree of warmth is appreciated. By the way, your video is very helpful! I knew the direction would have something to do with the tilt of the blades. Am I correct to assume that every manufacturer tilts the blades in the same direction?
January 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm
Eileen Mix
Thank you it sure helped.
January 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm
Peggy Gill Ivey
totally answered my questions. Thanks so much!!! And i won the arguement with my husband, too.!!!
January 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Dinah Carol Hughes Fewell
Exactly what I needed to know!!!!
January 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm
Jayne Lovelace
Sure did, just the inf. I needed.
January 7, 2014 at 7:26 pm
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hello Patti, Thank you for the question. The optimal height for installing a ceiling fan is 8 to 9 feet above the floor. Depending on the height of your two-story home, it likely that the ceiling fan is not strong enough to circulate warm air down to the basement when it is in the reverse direction. With the ceiling fan in the reverse direction it will recirculate the warm trapped air high in the ceiling down. The structure of the staircase may also affect airflow. However, if you are concerned, use a barrier such a curtain or door to prevent warm air from trickling down to the basement.
January 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm
Mike Banfield
Great video..nice and clear and to the point.
January 13, 2014 at 9:28 am
Paula Rough
Precise and short and even a video to make it very clear what happens, just what I needed to know. Thank you
January 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm
Barbara Montellese Bono
Very clear directions. Right to the point. Thank you.
January 17, 2014 at 9:43 am
Lesa Lambert Kerr
Awesome! Thanks for the demo!
January 20, 2014 at 7:15 pm
Tami Druin
Thank you so much! :)
January 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm
Lori Gudgeon
Thank you ;-)
January 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm
Deb Arndt
According to the video, you state that the fan should spin in a clockwise direction in the winter to push heat down, but the fan is spinning in the counter-clockwise direction in the video and vice versa for the summer direction........or am I just not looking at the video right?
January 23, 2014 at 8:35 am
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hello Deb, Thanks for the question. We apologize for any confusion the video may have caused. In the summer, the preferred direction for a ceiling fan to spin in is a counterclockwise direction as you look up at the fan blades. You will feel a cool downward airflow as you stand directly under the fan. In the winter, the preferred direction for a ceiling fan to spin in is a clockwise direction. You will feel no air movement while standing under the fan, while recirculating warm air close to the ceiling down.
January 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm
Heather Rickett
January 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm
Richard Zern
Exactly what I needed. thank you.
January 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Kathy Florio Bell
Very helpful info, thank you! Kathy Bell
January 30, 2014 at 10:04 am
Met Garner
Information was clear and to the point - Thanks!
February 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm
John R. Billups III
Will my upstairs fans in the summer mode help bring down stairs heat upstairs for better heat circulation?
February 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm
Scott Voelker
Thanks, we appreciate folks like yourself for the quick tips.
February 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm
Shirley Hanson
The pictures were most helpful for me. Have gone through this question twice a year forever! Now have pinned the pictures.
February 7, 2014 at 12:41 am
Whitney Ashley Streets
Thanks ! Very useful!
February 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Roselyn Lohner
Instructions very helpfulMar Fans & Lighting
February 8, 2014 at 7:20 am
Carlos Colón
Very helpful.
February 8, 2014 at 11:18 pm
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hi John, Thanks for the question. Heat naturally rises to the ceiling of a home. The best way to circulate the warm air is to reverse the direction of the ceiling fan so it spins in a clockwise direction. This will redistribute any warm air trapped near the top of the ceiling. If you set your ceiling fan for summer (i.e. to spin counterclockwise), you will actually create a wind chill effect). We hope this helps!
February 10, 2014 at 9:34 am
Hollie Chapman
Great job with the video can't mistake the direction thanks
February 13, 2014 at 9:03 am
Maria Pastia
February 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm
Carol Fisher
Won an argument with my husband on this one, Thank You.
March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm
Wendy Frederick
the video made it very clear
March 5, 2014 at 8:03 am
Charmaine Brayton
I was aware of changing fan rotation but wasn't sure which way for warm weather. The video was most helpful. Thank you!
March 17, 2014 at 7:18 am
Judy Casperson
Thank you straight to the pont!!!
March 22, 2014 at 9:46 pm
Debbie Sherrill Stegall
THanks! Very helpful!
April 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm
Deb Rocco Barnum
Thank you! I had it backwards!!
April 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm
Bubba Richards
Ceiling fans cool PEOPLE not rooms. If nobody's home...turn 'em off. ;)
April 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm
Juan Martinez
Thanks for that valuable information.
April 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm
Todd Smith
This was very helpful...and makes complete sense now...LOL
April 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Peggy Aspinwall
Thanks for the answer to Debs comment. I had the same comment and would not have asked if I could have seen others comments. My fan doesn't give the immediate cooling effect as stated, which is why I asked. Maybe I need a bigger fan.
April 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm
Peggy Aspinwall
I will write on the fan, by the switch....S and W.... with a permanent maker.
April 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hi Peggy, The ceiling fan’s airflow depends on the cubic feet per minute rating (CFM). The CFM depends on the fan motor, blade pitch, and blade length and size. Large fans with wide, long blades and high pitch circulate more air, and you feel that immediate sense of cooling. We hope this helps.
April 23, 2014 at 10:32 am
Rodney Lee Williams
The video helped greatly. I can actually feel air now that I've set my fan in the right direction. I wanted to ask if it is warm, and humid out should I close the window while the fan goes? Because I've also been told I should create a crosswind by having windows opened in different rooms. I as of now have closed the window in the room where I am with the fan, and feel very comfortable. Even though I've left the window open in another room, where no one is in anyway...lol...So should I just close all windows in my situation? Thanks in advance to whomever can provide an answer to my question.
April 29, 2014 at 1:08 am
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hello Rodney, Thanks for the feedback. This is a great question. If the climate is cool, leave one or more windows open to create a draft (crosswind). This works best when you open windows in rooms far from the fan and leave the doors open between those rooms. During warm, humid climate keep the windows closed during the day to prevent heat from entering the home. If you live in a two-story home, open a window on the top floor for hot air to escape. We hope this helps!
April 29, 2014 at 11:17 am
Terry Salazar
responding to comment below: yes the fan is rotating in opposite direction of what he is saying...
May 2, 2014 at 10:34 am
Randy N Rose Carlson
May 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm
Jackie Galloway White
Thank you very much very helpful
May 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm
Ashlee Ornelas
In lumens terms in summer the blade should go from left to right and in winter right to left.. the way I am looko at them anyways. The counter click did not work for me. :/
May 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Matt Adam
Del Mar Fans & Lighting: Am I crazy or is the description for clockwise/counter clockwise the exact opposite for each term? Doesn't clockwise mean to move like a clock's hands from the from the top to the right, then down to the left, and back to the top?
May 9, 2014 at 11:13 am
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hi Ashlee, Thanks for the great feedback. In the summer, fans should rotate counterclockwise (the blades should move from the top to the left, then down to the right, and back to the top). In winter, fans should rotate clockwise (the blades should move like a clock's hands - from the top to the right, then down to the left, and back to the top). We hope this helps.
May 9, 2014 at 11:51 am
Del Mar Fans & Lighting
Hi Matt, You have a great eye for detail. We’ve corrected the wording and apologize for any confusion it may have caused.
May 9, 2014 at 11:56 am
Ruth Kaylor
Great. I wasn't exactly sure which way was right and this article cleared it up! Thanks!
May 17, 2014 at 11:40 am
Linda Lyles
Very helpful
May 23, 2014 at 1:57 am