Summertime heat is rolling in and air conditioners are firing up from coast to coast. But if you live in a home with ceiling fans, there’s one more thing you need to do when you switch the thermostat from heating mode to cooling -- change the direction of your ceiling fans.

In warm weather, ceiling fans should turn counter-clockwise. This creates a downdraft effect that feels like a cooling breeze -- literally a wind chill. The faster your fan is turning, the cooler you’ll feel.

It makes sense to use your ceiling fans in the winter as well, but the blades should be spinning clockwise whenever your rooms need more heat. In this mode, ceiling fans create an updraft effect that pulls the warmer air near the ceiling downwards and distributes it around the room. It’s best to use the slowest fan speed during the winter, as this will save energy while effectively circulating warm air.

Stay Cool

It’s important to note that the wind chill effect you get from your ceiling fans in the summertime is only for your comfort -- it has no effect on the actual temperature of the room. So if you leave the room without turning the ceiling fan off, you’re wasting energy. This is an easy habit to fall into, so if you’re looking for more ways to reduce your electric bill, you can start by making a concerted effort to only use your ceiling fans in rooms that are occupied.

Another important consideration is your thermostat setting. If your fans help you feel cooler, you can afford to turn the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer without sacrificing your comfort. If you don’t adjust your thermostat accordingly when using your fans, you’re actually using more energy than you would if you were only running your air conditioner.

Opportunities for Efficiency

Your existing ceiling fans offer a simple way to reduce your energy consumption, but what if it’s time to replace them or install them in new rooms? It pays to shop carefully, as energy efficiency varies quite a bit among models and manufacturers.

If you’re looking for a shortcut to the most energy efficient ceiling fans available, you can check the models certified by the federal ENERGY STAR program. ENERGY STAR’s product data also offers a great opportunity to see how ceiling fan efficiency is measured.

Air flow is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. The higher the CFM, the more powerful the fan. And as electricity is measured in watts, the critical measurement for ceiling fan energy efficiency is CFM per watt. This is called airflow efficiency.

As you browse the ceiling fans on ENERGY STAR’s list or on most commercial websites, you’ll see the airflow efficiency for each model broken down by speed setting. This makes choosing the most efficient model clear and simple.

If you’re looking for more effective ways to improve your household climate control and energy efficiency, get in touch with your local HVAC experts today.

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