Most ceiling fans are designed to be reversible, that is the blades spin in both directions at the flip of a switch. This feature was introduced to market the use of ceiling fans in the winter.
A ceiling fan fan serves two primary purposes: to provide a cooling breeze, and to circulate the air throughout a room or area. The first purpose is used primarily in hot weather but circulation can assist with heating as well as cooling. However you likely do NOT want to feel a cooling breeze in the winter. So the idea was introduced to run the fan in updraft instead of downdraft, blowing up towards the ceiling. This way air is circulated throughout the room without a breeze.
99% of ceiling fans currently in use run clockwise in “reverse” (updraft or winter mode) and counter-clockwise for regular operation. If you are not sure about your fan, run it on high and stand directly under the blades. If you do not feel a breeze, reverse the fan. When you feel the strongest breeze, that is downdraft or “forward” for summer operation.
Some fans do not have the reverse feature. Don’t worry, you can still use your fan to circulate heat in the winter without a draft. See “Ceiling Fan FAQ” for more information on ceiling fan operation.
Forward – for Summer time usage
For usage during the summer, your fan should run in the forward direction. This is actually counter-clockwise. This forces the air down and will make you feel cooler. As it gets warmer and warmer in your home, you can turn the setting up to move more air around. This helps cut down on the energy usage that is spent in terms of air conditioning. It’s a well known statistic that a ceiling fan can actually help cut down on energy cost by as much as 40%.
Reverse – For winter time usage
In the winter time, the fan should run in reverse, or a clockwise direction. Use the fan at a low speed. This gently draws the air up towards the ceiling and then pushes it towards the walls. This will reduce the cooling or chilling effect that you feel from the fan. Winter time usage of your fan helps cut down on the cost of heating bills, which are constantly on the rise in many parts of the world.