Thursday, December 20, 2012

Saving on Electricity: Reverse Ceiling Fans for Winter

Ceiling fans are another tool we use here at the Frugal Workshop to help save money year round. Not only do they add beauty to our home, but they also serve as a supplement to both our heating and cooling systems. 

I don't know about your area of the country, but this December has been very warm here in south eastern Tennessee. Several times my daughter has wanted to turn on the air conditioning, but I turned the ceiling fans on instead, which provided enough of a cool breeze to avoid turning on the air conditioner, which ends up saving money on our electric bill.

Todays ceiling fans are very efficient in moving air around and are built to be used all year long. The key to using your ceiling fan properly is to adjust the rotation of the fan blades according to the temperatures. 

Because hot air rises, the air that we normally pay to heat at this time of year ends up accumulating towards the ceiling. When ceiling fan blades are reversed and forced to move in a clockwise direction, the air is pushed up towards the ceiling and down the walls. This moves the hot air down to the floor, thus making the room feel warmer where people are gathered, rather than being allowed to accumulate towards the ceiling.

Do you need to know how to reverse the direction of your ceiling fan? Here are directions to help you with this task. First off you need to turn the ceiling fan off and wait until the blades have stopped moving completely. Then you can follow these easy directions:
  1. Get a step stool or ladder to stand on.
  2. Locate the directional (forward/reverse) toggle switch on the body of your fan.
  3. Flip the toggle switch in the opposite direction.
  4. Get off step stool or ladder.
  5. Turn fan back on.
  6. Stand directly under the fan and make sure the blades are rotating in the proper direction for the season.
  7. Then sit back and enjoy the comfort and savings that a ceiling fan will provide year round.
Right now we still have our ceiling fans geared towards warm weather, but starting in January we will begin to experience the cold winter weather and will be changing the direction of our ceiling fans at that time.

What about your household? Do you have ceiling fans to help save money on your heating and cooling system? Are they rotating in the correct direction for the season?

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”


  1. WE definately switch blade directions here, esp. as I supplement our heat with a wood stove that is located in a room with UBBER tall ceilings-20 feet?

  2. That's very informative. We used to have a ceiling fan, but never new how to reverse the blade direction. Now, in summer we use floor fans where needed. We don't have too terribly hot weather here, but one week per summer, I'm begging my husband to approve getting an air conditioner. Then it cools back off, and I'm okay again.

    The bigger problem here is staying warm. It's very damp and feels chilly a good part of the year. If we ever install a ceiling fan again, I'll make sure we know how to have it set for the cool months!

    1. Sure before getting a ceiling fan I will make sure how I gonna set my ceiling fan for cooling so I can use it for summer as well winter, its really cool idea.,

    2. Thank you, Jerrica. Glad you could use this tip. :)

  3. Its a very good idea to use a reverse fan for heating during winter, I dont knew about this , will try at my home after reading this article.

    1. Happy to help, Michelle. Thank you for visiting my blog. :)

  4. In addition, if you are not that good with electronics and are afraid to experiment with your ceiling, controlling the fan speed is another method to save up on money. In the summer, it would be effective to keep the fan on high so that circulation of the air can rapidly increases evaporation. And the more air evaporation, the cooler the temperature. On the other hand, if the weather is cold, it is advisable to keep the fan on low, which reverses the air circulation. This forces the heat from the ceiling to circulate downward and heat the room.

    @Staci Severns

    1. Those are both great tips, Staci. Thank you for sharing. :)


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