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Get Your Ceiling Fan Spinning in the Right Direction


Years ago, a reader sent in her handy tip: "In the winter, make your ceiling fans spin counterclockwise." Or was that clockwise? To be honest, I don't recall. But I do remember the barrage of responses I received. Some thanked me for printing the correct answer, while others told me fans should spin in the opposite direction.

Today I have the real answer for you.

The terms "wind chill index" and "heat index" indicate what the temperature feels like, not what it is in reality. Ceiling fans cannot reduce the temperature inside your home in the summer, but they certainly can make you feel cooler. Ditto for winter; they can make you feel as if the temperature is higher.

Whether you have a wood stove, a fireplace, space heaters or a forced-air system, knowing how to use fans to circulate the hot air is very important because you will be able to achieve comfort while creating less actual heat. The key is to circulate the hot air without creating a draft.

The direction your ceiling fan should spin in the winter depends on the type of fan you have and at which angle the fan blades have been set by the manufacturer (or you, if you altered them).

First look for a switch marked "forward" and "reverse." If the blades are angled properly, you want the fan to spin forward during the summer and in reverse in the winter.

Set on forward, the fan blows air downward, directly on you.

During the winter you want to set the fan to "reverse" so it blows air upward to the ceiling, forcing the hot air down to warm the occupants of the room. Set it on a slow speed to make sure you are not creating a draft.

Now, is that clockwise or counterclockwise? It depends on your specific fan and the way the blades are set.

Are you all mixed up now? Simply set the fan to high and stand under it. Do you feel the air blowing down on you? Then that is your "forward" direction. Make a note.

As the weather cools, make sure each ceiling fan is spinning in the direction that sends air upward. This will increase the heat index in your home without increasing the temperature.

Mary Hunt ( is the founder of and author of 16 books, including "Debt-Proof The Holidays." To find out more about Mary Hunt and to read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
A ceiling fan serves three purposes: it circulates the warm air throughout the area or a room, to provide a cooler environment by creating a chill in the space, and to beautify the room in which it resides.

For optimal heat air distribution, your fan should run in reverse during the winter months.

During the summer months, the ceiling fan should operate in the forward position and at a slightly higher speed.

Or take a look at the link given here...
Comment: #1
Posted by: Mark
Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:17 AM
This is not a comment It is a question. pl help. my fan spins in the reverse direction. so no air blow on me when I stand underneath it. It is ceiling mounted. It work on the no-off switch mounted on the wall. (It does not have a forward/reverse switch.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jayakumar R.
Wed May 8, 2013 7:02 AM
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