Which Way Should A Ceiling Fan Turn?

That sounds like a pretty simple question, right? 

It deserves a pretty simple, short answer too, right? But on a second thought, your guess is as good as mine: not quite! Just kidding… The reality is, there is a basic response to this question and there is a broader consideration to other factors that will determine which way a ceiling fan should turn. Using a ceiling fan is largely beneficial if you are looking at cutting down on energy costs while not missing out on air circulation.

Let’s start with the time of the year.

Which Way Should A Ceiling Fan Turn At Summer And Winter?

When it is summer, it is always a hotter time of the year. The heat can be unbearable, and fans are most useful at such times. To have a cooling effect at that time of the year, you would have to turn your fan counterclockwise. This means that you will turn on your switch to run your fan in the forward direction so that this will force the room air down. This gives you the wind chill effect that makes you feel a lot cooler in the heat. 

On the other hand, when it is winter, you would have to turn on your fan’s switch to run your fan clockwise at a low speed. That’s in the reverse shape, gently drawing up the air in the room towards the ceiling. This forces the warm air down and out towards the wall. That avoids the wind chill effect you naturally get from a cold, shrill winter season. 

A good way to feel the impact of air movement, oftentimes, is to stay directly below the fan to confirm whether the way the fan is set is effective. For example, during the summer, if the air movement from the fan seems weak, you might have to flip the rotation switch to reverse it in the right direction. This is the same thing for the winter season too. 

If neither approach is effective or felt, you might have to change the fan to another one. At this point, it is only appropriate you buy a fan with the right size, blade span for space, and strength to enjoy its quality. If it is still covered by warranty, you can easily take it for repairs or replacement at no cost. 

Aside from the season factor, you can also decide from the following scenarios which direction your ceiling fan can turn in order to enjoy the best airflow irrespective of the time of the year it is.

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Other Consideration Factors

Dining Time

If your dining table is directly under the fan and you are concerned about napkins flying around or your food turning cold on time, you can switch your fan’s blade and turn it clockwise. That is in the reverse direction. What this does is that it helps circulate the air gently around the room without blowing off gusts of wind that can affect your dining area.

Card Time

The same direction you turn the fan in for dining time (clockwise) is useful here too. When you are playing your cards directly under a fan, the gust of wind can blow the cards off the table. 

If it is summer and you need enough cool and still enjoy your game, after turning your fan in reverse, ensure to run it on the switch’s highest speed. This helps the fan to easily draw up air from the table and blow it across the room right to the back and other parts of the room.


People keep the fans fixed for different purposes, and some might not like the sight of a static, winding fan, blowing directly on them, affecting their sleep and also increasing the risk of having a cold or flu for some others. 

If such kind of person is you, the best way to sort this is the same style advocated above. Run the fan’s switch on its highest speed but let it be in reverse so that you don’t absorb the air movement directly.  However, if you like to sleep with much air blowing on you, you can stay cool through your night sleep if the fan is turned counterclockwise. 

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Large Rooms 

In bigger spaces, like the living room, it might be difficult to enjoy air in the room as you might not be sitting under the ceiling fan.
Many times, for larger rooms, it is more reasonable to buy multiple fans, but whether it is one or two, turning the fan clockwise is still a reasonable choice. It will help you circulate the air throughout the whole room by creating a peculiar vortex in the airflow that allows it to get to you irrespective of where you are seated in a larger room.

To Air Out A Room

By this, we mean blowing out any odor or foul smell or even smoke in the house that chokes the air there. You still turn the fan clockwise here, however, you put the switch at a medium speed not the highest. This will help draw the air up and that’s out toward the walls. 

You should also consider opening the doors and windows here to help get the bad air out and let the cleaner air into your room. This same procedure can work for smokes from cigars and not only in the kitchen. 

Cigar lounges do this often although many are assisted with the presence of exhaust vents in their ceiling to suck out smoke from the room.


There are generally excellent outdoor fans with a very good amount of air. But the assumption here is that you might be spending lots of time outdoors too during summer and using the fans there. 

Fans with strong wind-blowing blades are helpful outside with keeping the bugs and pesky flies away. In this case, you would have to turn it up counterclockwise, that is, forward, and keep it switched on, on its highest speed. 

If, however, your preference is for outdoor games, like the card game, that could be disrupted by the fan’s gust of wind, you would have to change the switch turn and keep it on reverse. You can do this and keep the speed to the medium. That way, you protect your game from blowing away and still keep yourself and your outdoor companions relatively cool.

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Winding Down…

So, keep to heart where your ceiling should turn when it is put on. As established, that depends heavily on what your reasons and time or season of use is. If you are looking for ways to improve your energy savings, provide better cooling or heat in the room depending on what season, or whatever indulgences you need the fan on for, you should learn how it turns. 

It is important to end by saying that the fan setting and blade angles are generally set by manufacturers. What these design features do is to dictate how the fans would operate. It is possible, or highly likely, that your fan’s design is set up to work opposite to the forward and reversal settings of fan turns. In that case, the clockwise movement could now be the anticlockwise factory setting and/or vice versa. 

In the absence of such clear product information, always revert to the settings given in the article above. 

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