Flip Your Fans to Save Energy This Winter

November 23, 2021

Winter heating bills are nothing to scoff at. Running your furnace, boiler, or heat pump can quickly add up, resulting in hundreds of dollars per month just to stay comfortable through a cold winter night. That means even small changes to improve efficiency can make a big difference, and one of the biggest things you can do to improve efficiency in your home might be right over your head without you knowing it.

Most people know that ceiling fans are great for keeping your home feeling cooler on a hot day, but did you know they can also help your home feel warmer in winter too? By simply reversing the direction your ceiling fans turn, you can completely change the way they handle the air in your room, creating a warmer, more evenly-heated home even in multi-story dwellings.

What Does Reversing Your Fan Do?

If you look closely at your ceiling fan, you have probably noticed that your fan blades are ever so slightly tilted in one uniform direction. This is so the blades scoop up air and force it downward, creating the air movement that give fans their drafty feel. However, this only happens when the fan is spinning in the proper direction. If you reverse the direction the blades spin, they actually scoop air the other direction, forcing it straight upward.

What does this have to do with heating? Well, the air that is up near your ceiling fan needs to be able to go somewhere, and that somewhere is typically outward. By pulling air continuously upward, the warm air that has accumulated near your ceiling is forced to the sides and downward, creating a uniform airflow that dramatically evens out the temperature in a particular space. Suddenly, that heat that accumulated out of reach can be felt at any level throughout your room, creating a much more comfortable indoor environment!

How to Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

Reversing your ceiling fan is actually an incredibly simple task. Look closely at the motor housing on your ceiling fan (it will typically be immediately below where the blades attach to the fan itself). On that housing, you should notice a pretty substantial switch that can slide in two different directions. This is the switch that controls what direction your motor turns.

With the fan shut off and the blades not moving, carefully flip this switch to the opposite side. Then, making sure any ladders you may have used are out of the way and that your fan isn’t spinning at all, turn the fan on once again. You should find that the fan starts to spin in the other direction. Do not reverse your fan while the blades are spinning, as this could cause injury or burn out the motor trying to reverse the momentum from spinning blades.

Other Tips to Follow

When you reverse your ceiling fan, make sure you thoroughly clean your fan blades before turning it on. Dust that accumulates on fan blades has often done so in a way that allows it to stick even when spinning at a high speed in a particular direction. Reversing the airflow over these blades forces the dust off of the blades, creating a nasty mess that can be frustrating to clean up and terrible for your allergies. Take a few minutes to wipe your fan blades down before running them again.

Second, as with a fan running the standard direction, only run your fan in the rooms that you are using. Running a fan in a non-used room simply wastes energy and results in added wear and tear that can lead to your fan falling apart prematurely.

Stay warm this winter with heating repair and maintenance services from Winters® Home Services! Call us at 617-221-5899 to schedule an appointment today.