Take note for the chilly months ahead.
Southern Living senior editor Zoë Gowen already enlightened us all on how making sure your ceiling fan is spinning the correct direction for the summer season can make you feel four degrees cooler. And four degrees saved on the thermostat can translate in exponential dollars saved during hot Southern summers. Actually, it can save you 3 to 5 percent on total air conditioning costs per each degree you raise the thermostat, according to Consumer Reports.
So it follows that during winter, you do not need to turn your fan off—simply switch it to run the correct direction. And which direction is that, you ask? Let us lay it out: fans should spin counterclockwise in summer to force air down directly onto you, making you feel cooler. (Good tip from Gowen—remember the fan only makes you feel cooler. It does not actually cool off the room. So be sure to turn it off when exiting to maximize those dollars saved.)
In the winter however, the fan should spin clockwise, and at a low speed. This draws the lower air up, then forces the warmer air down towards the sides of the room—not directly onto you. (AKA no chilling effect.) This is especially helpful in rooms with sky-high ceilings, vaulted ceilings, and stoves or fireplaces.
Of course, you should double-check that the standards are true for your make and model. To change the direction of your fan, look for a small button near the motor. It should be as easy as flipping a switch.
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One more pro tip? Consumer reports suggests that for maximum benefit, ceiling fans should be installed in the center of the room, at least 7 feet above the floor, but at 8 or 9 for optimal airflow. They should be no closer than 24 inches from a wall or from window treatments. And don’t forget to clean! Ceiling fans work significantly better when clean than when spinning with a layer of dust.