How to Use a Fan

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Updated February 10, 2023

Even if you own a premium fan, you cannot attain comfortable indoor air temperatures unless you learn how to use a fan effectively. You can employ multiple fan strategies to create a cool breeze and save money on air conditioning. Whether you have a ceiling fan or a bedroom window fan, you can lower your indoor temperature if you know how to use a fan correctly. So, stick around for our top tips for how to use a fan.


  • Using fans and air conditioning together is a fantastic path to energy-efficient cooling and in-home air circulation.
  • Ensure your ceiling fan blows air in the correct direction for the season.
  • Create a cross breeze with multiple fans by utilizing an even number of inward and outward-blowing fans.

How to Use Fans the Right Way

Knowing how to position fans to cool a room is great, but you should understand how a metal blade fan vs a plastic blade will affect your airflow. You can read our guide on what a cooling fan is to learn how to make a fan blow cold air. That said, you can see what a box fan is and use a bucket of ice to defeat the dry heat of summer.

Insider Tip

Ensure you buy a unit with a blade size appropriate for your space. You should have one CFM per square foot of floor space. For example, the correct size for a 12′ x 12′ space is a 144 CFM fan.

Lastly, investigate how to use an air circulator fan because it isn’t the same as what an oscillating fan is. Multiple layouts will create a cooler temperature in your home, depending on the types of fans you have.


If you use a ceiling fan, set the fan speed to high and ensure that the blades are spinning in the correct direction. Use a counterclockwise spin in the summer and a clockwise rotation in winter.


If you have a portable unit like a pedestal or tower fan, place it near a window. When the outdoor temperature is cooler than the indoor temperature, use the fan to draw in cold air. If the indoor heat is high, use the fan to blow hot air from your home.


Running your air conditioning unit and pedestal fan while the windows are open is a waste of energy. Instead, only use your fans while the outdoor air temperatures have cooled down.


Create a cross breeze with multiple fans. Pick two windows on opposite sides of your room and open them. Place an outward-blowing fan on one side and install an inward-blowing fan on the other. This system ensures your home sees a constant air current.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 27.5% of American households use four or more ceiling fans. (source)

How to Use a Fan FAQs

Do I need multiple window fans for cooling?

Window fans offer a cross breeze that regular fans do not provide, but you need two units to accomplish this cooling method. Ideally, you would install an inward-blowing fan in a shaded part of your home and place an outward fan in sunny areas. Alternatively, you can set the outward-blowing fan in an upper-floor window since hot air rises.

Can it be too hot for a fan?

If your indoor air temperature reaches 95 degrees, you should power off the table fan. Since fans do not cool the air, the air temperature must be colder than your body to have a cooling effect. Blowing hot air on your skin can disrupt your body temperature regulation, raising your core temperature.

Should I run my central air conditioning with my fan?

You should run both units together because it can lower your air conditioning costs by 4% to 8% on average. That said, you need to raise your AC thermostat a few degrees to affect your electric bills.
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