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gailcalled's avatar

What's a good trick for remembering the directions my ceiling fan turns in order to generate cold air?

Asked by gailcalled (54579points) June 24th, 2010

When it rotates clockwise, it pulls the warm air up and cools the room. When counterclockwise, it pushes the warm air down and warms the room. How do I remember?

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24 Answers

HGl3ee's avatar

Maybe a little set of a red and blue arrow placed on one of the blades, red facing the way it turns to warm and blue pointing the way it turns to cool :)

ipso's avatar

Put a little red dot on the flip-switch showing which ways is “warm”.

Likeradar's avatar

I totally learned something today. I had no idea a fan could do anything but marginally cool a room.

Buttonstc's avatar

Perhaps think of it like a clock’s hands. As the hands of a clock go in their proper direction, the time ( like the air ) goes up.

If going in the opposite direction, time would go backwards ( down ) as does the air.

Hope that helps.

janbb's avatar

“C” for “Clockwise” and “C” for cool – shouldn’t that do it?

gailcalled's avatar

I found this unhelpful, even though I invented it.

Clockwise = caliente
Counterclockwise = cool.

Now I need a trick to remember that.

The directional switch is on the fan which needs a large stepladder to get to. Wall switch only sends current through.

Buttonstc's avatar


The trouble is that they both begin with the letter C.


What I just said to jan.

janbb's avatar

True dat. Maybe it has to be “wounterclockwise” then?

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s why I chose up or down instead.

I’ve encountered this problem before. And also when trying to create a mnemonic device for someone to distinguish a tricky word spelling.

gailcalled's avatar

I could have his tattooed on the insides of my eyelids or simply leave a note in my junk drawer.

Buttonstc's avatar


Not to mention the fact that you just reversed it from what you originally posted.

Does clockwise cool the room or not. That’s your first decision to make.

Proceed from there.

Now my head is spinning.


gailcalled's avatar

Clockwise brings the warm air up; that cools the room.

Counterclockwise draws the warm air down and warms the room.

The linguistics escape me.

wounterclockwise = warm air down = warm room
Wokwise = warm air up = cool room.

janbb's avatar

So there you have it – “C“lockwise “c“ools and “W“ounterclockwise “w“arms.

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: Wool answer.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well there’s your problem. You were using clockwise equalling caliente (hot).

See what I mean?

But if wounter helps, by all means use it :)

janbb's avatar

You have to admit it it’s a wounterful solution. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: It is if you’re Liberace. Sometimes I feel that I might be.

Buttonstc's avatar

Just don’t focus on the words as much as the mental picture in your head.

The normal course of events for a clock’s hands is to go clockwise.

The normal desire for turning on a fan is cooling. As the fan blades turn clockwise, just imagine all that warm air going UP in the same way that the hours progress UP on a clock.

Counter clockwise is the opposite of that. How’s that work for ya?

LuckyGuy's avatar

I took black sharpie marker and labeled the switch positions W and S for Winter and Summer. I never have to think about it again.

silverfly's avatar

Just stand underneath the fan. If it’s blowing air, it’s for the summer. If it’s not, it’s for the winter.

gailcalled's avatar

We have discussed this enough for me to remember now. Unfortunately, the switch is on the fan which is 20’ above the floor, hanging from a cathedral ceiling.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

@silverfly: So, if I stand under the fan and start to levitate, it’s turning counterclockwise?

silverfly's avatar

@gailcalled Correct! Or you’re possessed. :)

gailcalled's avatar

@silverfly: Your photos are stunning. I loved looking at them, particularly the ones of Thailand. And the close-up of the cat tickled my fancy.

gailcalled's avatar

@all; I took a pair of binocs. and finally (after 23 years in this house) noticed that the switch positions on the ceiling fan are labeled.

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