Do Ceiling Fans Help With Heating Costs? (Things To Consider)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

outdoor ceiling fan

I was visiting a colleague of mine recently. It was a cool day in the middle of winter. I noticed that his ceiling fan was on and asked him why he is using a ceiling fan in wintertime, and he told me that it helps with his heating cost. This made me wonder: “Do ceiling fans help with heating costs?”

Ceiling fans help with heating costs. Most ceiling fans can run in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. When you run a ceiling fan in a clockwise direction and a heater is on in the room, the ceiling fan sucks the cold air up and pushes the warmer air that rises to the ceiling and back into the room. 

Studies have shown that using a fan in a clockwise direction can reduce your heating costs by a little more than 20 percent because of the heat not escaping through the roof. So instead of heat escaping, it is circulated back through the room. I will share the research on ceiling fans in winter mode in the post.

Do Ceiling Fans Aid With Heating Costs?

Recent studies and controlled testing by a prominent lab company have shown that ceiling fans are effective during winter to push down warmer air that has risen to the ceiling level. You do this when you run a ceiling fan in the reverse setting located on a ceiling fan. The tests they did in the lab with thermal imaging using specialized equipment.

The information from the lab shows clear evidence that a room becomes warmer when a heater and a ceiling fan are on together; what makes this so great is that you can set the heater down to a lower temperature. It makes it clear that a person will save on heating costs. Here is the information from the test:

  • The lab used a convection heater to maintain a constant temperature of 18.5 degrees Celsius.
  • First, thermal imagery clearly showed how the hot air rises to the ceiling.
  • Next, they switched the ceiling fan on in the winter setting, which means that the fan blades ran clockwise.
  • The subsequent thermal imagery revealed that the ceiling fan regulated the temperature because the fan circulated the warmer air back into the room.
  • They measured the warm air that rose to the ceiling at 26 degrees celsius, and when it was circulated, it maintained a temperature of between 18.5 and 19 degrees Celsius.
  • They achieved all this by using the induction heater at a lower setting using only 1.67 kW.
  • The ceiling fan used 0.009 Kw, meaning the combined energy used between the heater and the ceiling fan. 
  • The combined energy consumption of the heater and the ceiling fan is lower than that of the heater at a higher setting.

I am impressed with the data showing that using a ceiling fan with a heater helps reduce heating costs. The test did not end there, though. They also did a test using a standing fan. Unfortunately, it did not have the same positive results.

Why Ceiling Fans Help With Heating, But A Stand Fan Doesn’t?

standing fan

When you use ceiling fans in their clockwise setting, they pull up the cold air and move the hot air above it back into the room. It helps in maintaining a constant temperature throughout the room. You can’t say the same thing about a standing fan, though,

A standing fan only blows the cooler air around the room at a much lower level. It means that a standing fan is not effective in helping with heating costs. Using a standing fan in conjunction with a heater will cause the temperature to be even cooler because it does the exact opposite of what is needed to help with heating.

I know that most people will say that it would have a better effect if you directed the standing fans higher, but a standing fan does not have the desired design to circulate the air properly. In addition, standing fans were not designed to help with heating costs. On the other hand, your ceiling fan does a splendid job of helping to reduce costs. 

How To Put A Ceiling Fan In The Setting To Help With Heating

If a ceiling fan is not set to run in a clockwise direction, it will circulate the cold air instead and have an unwanted effect on the heating effort. If you stand under the ceiling fan, you will be able to feel the difference immediately. Here is how you set the ceiling fan:

  • The first important thing to consider is the height of the ceiling fan. If you use the wrong method to gain access to the ceiling fan, it could lead to severe injuries if a fall occurs.
  • Make sure that you switch the ceiling fan off before attempting to change the rotation direction of the ceiling fan. It is better to also switch it off at the wall switch. Now climb up to the ceiling fan. 
  • The directional switch needs to be aligned with the arrow facing the roof and not the floor. You can find this switch on the side of the ceiling fan above the light fixture.
  • Now that the ceiling fan blades are running in the correct direction, you can switch them on and enjoy saving costs on your heating bill.

Remember to switch back to summer mode when you need to circulate cooler air again; otherwise, the ceiling fan will not help in the warmer months.

Conclusion

Most people do not know why ceiling fans have a directional switch. But most of us know,  we now know that the blades of a ceiling fan must work clockwise in the colder months and anti-clockwise in the warmer months. This will result in you saving costs on your heating. I hope that this information helps and that you too will save money on your own heating costs.

Make sure to climb up to the ceiling fan using approved methods and equipment. Injuries and/or property damage may occur if you don’t, and remember to switch off the power before working on the ceiling fan.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.