(NEXSTAR) – With heat records already falling this summer, you may be running your ceiling fan nearly non-stop, but did you know you may not be as cool as you could be?
If you’ve ever taken a close look at the fan, you may have noticed a small switch located on the side of the fan base. The switch, which is found on nearly every fan, can change the direction the fan spins.
Using that switch according to the season will not only keep you more comfortable, but it can also help you save money.
In the summer, make sure that your fan is going in a counterclockwise direction, which forces cool air directly downward and creates a “wind chill effect,” according to Home Depot. In the winter, you can switch it up so the fan rotates clockwise at a low speed, circulating the warm air that gets trapped near the ceiling.
If you have ceiling fans as well as air conditioning, using the fan correctly will allow you to raise the thermostat by roughly 4 degrees Fahrenheit and still feel just as comfortable, according to the Department of Energy. In moderately hot weather, you may even be able to turn off the AC. The DOE reminds people to turn off fans in unoccupied rooms.
According to Energy Star, if you raise your thermostat by just two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower the cost of air conditioning by up to 14%.
If you’re in the market for a ceiling fan, larger fan blades will move more air than smaller ones, but you have to make sure it’s an appropriate size for the space.
The Department of Energy recommends blades be 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches away from the ceiling. The blades should be no closer than 8 inches from the ceiling and 18 inches from any walls.