ceiling fans in the winter

Ceiling Fans in the Winter: Why and How

It’s a common misconception that fans always bring down the temperature. However, there’s a little more to it than that. When I was a kid, our home didn’t have central air or heat, so in the winter we’d build a fire in our wood heater, open the bedroom doors, and slowly let the heat spread into those areas.  

One cold night, I was sitting in the living room trying to get warm when my mom turned on the ceiling fan. I quickly objected because, like many others, I thought that fans were supposed to cool you off, not warm you up!  To my surprise, however, our fan brought down the nice, warm air from our 11 foot ceilings and warmed me up in no time. 

So how can you make this work in the winter? Fans are remarkable. They use the ‘wind chill’ effect to change body temperature, even though they don’t change the ambient temperature of the room.  Hot air rises, so a fan can push that warm air down from the ceiling (where it isn’t benefitting anyone!) and bring it down to your level instead.

Interestingly enough, a fan should spin counter-clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. If you’re unsure how yours is spinning, stand directly underneath it and turn it on. If you need to change it, turn the fan back off and look for your fan’s direction switch. 

Fans are an energy efficient way to create a comfortable temperature at home—even in the winter! They can literally be run all year round, (assuming they are spinning the correct direction). Feel free to call Stewart Lighting with questions.