Which Way Should a Ceiling Fan Spin?

Updated: Jan. 03, 2024

Help your home stay cool in summer or warm in winter just by flipping a switch.

A ceiling fan can help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But did you know you should change the direction your ceiling fan spins from season to season?

Why It Matters

Ceiling fans help circulate air in your home. While most people are familiar with the cooling effect that circulating air can have during the warm-weather months, they may not realize that circulating air can help keep your home warm when the temperatures turn cool. This makes ceiling fans great to use during any time of the year.

It all depends which direction the ceiling fan rotates. Spinning it the right way at the right time can help keep everyone in your home comfortable and save money on your utility bills.

What Direction in Summer?

Your ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise, or “forward direction” during the summer months.  A ceiling fan that spins counterclockwise forces air downward, providing cooling relief when it’s hot. It’s recommended to run the fan faster the hotter it gets to increase the cooling airflow.

What Direction in Winter?

Conversely, a ceiling fan needs to spin clockwise, or “reverse direction” during the winter months.  Because warm air rises, the air near the ceiling can be three to four degrees warmer than air near the floor. A ceiling fan that spins clockwise will draw cooler air up and force warmer air near the ceiling down and out toward walls. It’s best to run the fan on a low speed so that it doesn’t create too much of a cooling breeze.

Does It Matter Which Room?

Keep the fan direction in mind when you’re looking to cool down or warm up a room. For instance, run the fan counterclockwise if an oven heats up your kitchen beyond what’s comfortable, or body heat from a gathering of people makes a room too toasty. Conversely, run a fan clockwise to amplify the heat from a fireplace or any other heat source in a room.

How to Change the Direction of a Ceiling Fan

shutterstock_736362115 install a Ceiling FanDmitri Ma/Shutterstock

Most types of ceiling fans have a switch on the motor that lets you change the direction by sliding it one way or the other. You will most likely need a ladder to reach it. Always make sure your fan is turned off and completely still before getting on the ladder. More tricked-out ceiling fans come with remote controls with buttons that let you easily and conveniently change the spin direction and speed of the fan.