Ceiling Fans and Direction

I have a ceiling fan in my master bedroom which is upstairs. The ventilation in my house isn’t all that great, so the upstairs tends to be much warmer than the downstairs.

What I want to know is which way the fan blades should be running - clockwise or counterclockwise - to help cool the upstairs down. Oh, and if I should keep them on high speed or not - Mr2U says all I’m doing with the speed on high is moving the hot air around. I explained to him that I call that moving air a “breeze” and makes things more comfortable - he still disagreed and said I was making it worse.

Which is it? Clockwise or counterclockwise, and high or low speed?

My thanks in advance!

There’s a few different schools of thought on that. The one I usually hear is that in summer it shoud be blowing UP to pull the cool air off the ground and in winter DOWN to blow the heat off the ceiling. The second way I’ve heard is the opposite, in summer have it blowing DOWN so that there’s a breeze on you, in winter have it blowing up so that the heat gets pushed to the edges of the room and pushed down without there being a breeze on you. The third I’ve heard is that it doesn’t matter, eitherway it’s mixing all the air up be it summer or winter it’ll blow the hot air down and the cool air up and make the entire room the same temp. In that case, I suppose having it blow down in summer is nice for the breeze.

It’s always good to see the return of a popular and controversial topic:
Help for the ceiling fan illiterate
ceiling fans and the seasons
Help me keep my bedroom cool!

Next week; “How Do I get Rid of the Ants in My Kitchen?” :wink:

As a long-time user of ceiling fans, I agree with:

The breeze is what provides the most cooling effect in summer.

Breezes are horrible! If I wanted a breeze, I’d open a window. Papers go flying, it’s annoying on the face. Horrible.

Oh, wait – is the OP referring to the use of a fan in conjunction with or without air conditioning? Maybe I’ll advocate the breeze if the fan’s all she’s got.

I recall seeing the instructions having mentioned this at one time, but for the life of me I can’t remember the answer. The sad fact is I reqired all of my fans with a third wire just for independant switch control, added X10 to them, and never remember to use the dang things.

I feel a breeze no matter which way the blades are turning, but I have read in many places that they should be turning counter-clockwise in the hot weather and clockwise in the cold weather. This makes the air go to the right places. But it feels all the same to me.

This probably won’t help you, but in my home in the summer, I use my living room ceiling fan to blow cool air up to my studio. If it were pointed down instead of up, I don’t feel as cool. Also, turning on the ceiling fan in the studio makes me feel hotter, no matter which way it blows.

The most useful would probably be a fan in the upstairs window, blowing the hot air out of the house. Cooler air from downstairs would replace, thus cooling off the upstairs. (This assumes that the outside is cooler than the upstairs of your house.)

The ceiling fan in your bedroom won’t do much at all for this process. Like your husband says, it just blows the hot air around. But as long as that hot air is less than 98.6°F, it will feel like a cool breeze to your skin. So set it to either up or down, whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

Clockwise and counterclockwise are meaningless terms unless you know the direction that the blades are angled. Fan manufacturers recommend that the blades blow down in the summer (meaning that when the fan is turning, the higher edge of the blade goes first and the lower edge of the blade follows it) and up in the winter (leading edge down). (Various individuals claim that the manufacturers are wrong.)

As to the speed, that depends on the angle of the blades. Our bedroom fan is angled so steeply that, at high speed, the blades are pushing the air ahead of them as much as forcing air down. This makes the fan very loud and makes the highest setting a waste of electricity. (At which point, Deb and I re-enact the same dispute of you and your spouse because I hate the noise–especially knowing that we’re burning more electricity for no purpose.) HOWEVER, if the fan blades are more efficient at high speeds and actually thrust more air downward, (as the fan in our living room does), then the highest speed makes sense. Unfortunately, the only way to discover the fan’s efficiency is to have an expert come out and measure it for about the price of one year’s household electricity, so you will probably have to agree to disagree and either have one spouse win or take turns setting the speed.

Could be; however I have four ceiling fans and there is only one way to assemble them. The little Y-shaped thing that holds the fan blade is angled in such a way that there is only one direction in which the blades can point. The Y-shaped thing can’t be turned upside down so no matter which way you turn the blade, it will always point in the same direction.

My fans are all from different manufacturers and one has replacement Y-shaped thingies. Other people’s fans might be different, of course.

Many thanks to everyone who chimed in. I certainly appreciate the input! We tried both directions last night - the thing tomndebb said about the blowing up and down was what made a difference. Plus the whole breeze thing.

In any event, at this point I have the blades blowing down, I put the speed back on high after Mr2U goes to sleep, and if and when worse comes to worse, I will sleep on the couch. It’s colder downstairs anyway. :smiley:

Oh - Squink - what DO I do about ants?? :wink:

So which way are they angled? I think all tomndeb was saying is that without knowing which way they are angled…Not saying that they are reversable (the blades themselves that is) just that we don’t know which way they are angled. Also, is the CC and CCW from the POV of the floor or ceiling.

My remark was to say that all of my fans came angled the same way from the factory. Perhaps there are older fans that could be assembled in different ways but the ones that I have seen are all angled the same way, which would generally require that they rotate counter-clockwise in hot weather and clockwise in cold weather, in order to get the optimal breeze.

Regarding point of view, I have read that it’s when you are standing below the fan looking up.

At night, when it is cooler outside than inside, the walls are cooler than the air temperature in the room. This cools the air against the walls, so that air becomes heavier and flows down. In turn, the air in the center of the room, being relatively warm, flows up. This is the movement of air caused by convection. Setting the fan to push the air upward will be working with the flow of air caused by convection, and with the natural cooling process of your bedroom at night. So, if it is cool enough, do that.

If it’s too hot, then you need to reverse it to blow down on you. This won’t work with the convective forces, but it will blow air on you in the same sense that you blow on a spoonful of hot soup to cool it.

Which option you take depends on how hot you are; you may have to take a higher ambient temperature in order to have the cooling breeze blowing on you.

If you’d like, and if it fits the conditions of fair use, I can scan the relevant page of How Buildings Work and email it to you.

Please don’t go to all that trouble - although I do appreciate it!! I will be taking this thread home to show Mr2U though - even HE can stand to learn something!! :smiley: