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Your Fan Is Probably in the Wrong Spot. Here's Where You Should Move It

Looking to lower your home's temperature? There's a specific place where you should put your fan.

A round fan on a table
Stay comfortable longer by maximizing your fan's cooling potential.
BrAt_PiKaChU/Getty Images

Though much of the country is dealing with cold and stormy weather, others have been experiencing winter heat waves -- which means staying cool may be a high priority for you. Although adjusting your thermostat is an option if you have air conditioning, energy bills are soaring and running the AC constantly will drain your wallet. A window fan is a cost-effective option for dealing with heat. But for your fan to work its best, you need to place it in just the right spot.

Here we'll explore some fan tricks to maximize your comfort and coolness, no matter the season. For more, check out our tips for how to save on heat and air conditioning with a small home upgrade and five signs it's time to replace your window AC unit. Plus, you'll also want to make sure your ceiling fan is rotating in the correct direction for the season (yes, there's a difference!). 

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Fan location matters

One big thing you may be overlooking when you turn on a fan is its placement. To ensure optimal cooling with a window fan, the US Department of Energy suggests putting it in a window where the wind is blowing away from the house. This helps pull the hot air out of your home. 

Make sure other nearby windows are closed so the hot air is forced to travel out the window with the fan. 

To take advantage of cross-ventilation, you can open windows in rooms farther away from the fan, especially where wind is blowing toward the house. This works best if the open windows are in cooler, shaded areas rather than direct sunlight so that cooler air is coming into your house as the hotter air is being pulled outside by the window fan.

If your home has more than one story, you should install your fan on the second floor and open windows on the main floor for cross-ventilation, according to the DOE. Otherwise, you could install multiple fans in different sections of your home.  

A couple of additional tips

Even if you don't have a window fan, you can create cross-ventilation with open windows to make your space a bit more comfortable. Experiment by opening a window where wind blows toward the house and another window across your home where wind blows away from the house. This should help cooler air move into the house and expel the hotter, more stagnant air. 

If you have a ceiling fan in your home this summer, make sure it's rotating counterclockwise to pull warmer air up and push cooler air down. Read more about how to safely switch the direction your ceiling fan rotates.

For more on how to stay warm or cool (and save money), check out our guide on where to install a thermostat and the ideal thermostat setting to save money without sacrificing comfort.