How to Change Fan Direction

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Updated July 21, 2022

If you are new to the world of breezy appliances, you may wonder how to change fan direction. Many of the best fans, after all, include rotational bases and some ceiling fans allow you to switch up the blade direction. So, what are the various steps to get this done? Keep reading to find out.


  • Ceiling fan owners should change the fan’s direction twice each year to accommodate the different seasons and reduce heating costs and wind chill during winter.
  • For older pull chain fans, climb a ladder and look for a directional switch somewhere near the motor housing to change the ceiling fan blades.
  • For modern ceiling fans, use the remote control, a dedicated smartphone app, or a smart assistant.

Why Change a Fan’s Direction?

If you are learning how to position fans to cool a room, changing up the direction the blades spin can help maximize cooling efficiency. When it comes to ceiling fans, change the direction of the blades twice a year, once in fall and once in summer. A fan’s blades should spin clockwise during winter to create an updraft and circulate warm air, even if you are learning how to fix a slow ceiling fan.

Insider Tip

Be sure to clean your fan blades every two to three months to maximize effectiveness and reduce noise during use.

During the summer, make the blades spin counter-clockwise to allow cool breezes to circulate from open windows, even if you are conducting a Westinghouse ceiling fan review.

How to Change a Ceiling Fan Direction

This option is not available with tower fans if you are looking for the quietest pedestal fan. For ceiling fans, however, there are a few options depending on the make, model, and features of your fan.

Flip the Switch

Even older pull-chain fans allow for switching directions to suit different seasons. To do this, it requires a simple flip of the switch, though you’ll need a ladder. Turn the fan off and wait until the blades stop spinning. Next, climb up the ladder and check the housing, the lighting fixture, or the upper canopy for a directional switch. Flip the switch, climb down, and power on the fan. It should now be spinning in the opposite direction.

Use the Remote

If your fan includes a remote control, you can skip all that ladder climbing. Simply locate the remote and follow the instructions to change the fan’s rotation. If you are a bit rusty regarding the process, check the instructions that accompanied the fan, performing a quick web search for a PDF if necessary.

Access Smart Features and Apps

Modern fans typically feature integration with smart assistants and official smartphone apps. In other words, you may be able to simply ask Alexa to change your fan’s direction. If that fails, simply open up the official app and look for the settings.

STAT: If you have an older fan without a reversible motor, you could adjust the blade pitch to reverse the airflow. Adjust the blade pitch to the right to push air down. Adjust the blade pitch to the left to pull air up. (source)

How to Change Fan Direction FAQs

Does your ceiling fan reverse?

If you have a high or vaulted ceiling, climbing up a ladder only to discover your fan does not reverse is a huge frustration. Check the instructions ahead of time to see if you can change the ceiling fan direction during the summer months and winter months.

How is ceiling fan efficiency measured?

Fans measure efficiency differently from an air conditioner, using metrics that measure how much downward airflow is pushed through the space per minute.

Should ceiling fans be left on all the time?

Modern ceiling fan blades are durable and can be left on all the time. This also applies to outdoor ceiling fans, even though the motor housing may be susceptible to extreme weather.
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