Why is Your Ceiling Fan Not Blowing Air Down?

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Not feeling a cool breeze from your ceiling fan? You’re probably thinking something surely has to be wrong with the fan? The answer may be simple. I’ll go ahead and outline some issues that can cause your ceiling fan to not blow air down as you would expect.

Visit our fan troubleshooting guide if you are having bigger problems like wobbling and weird noises.

The simple answer, and hopefully the solution to your problem is by simply reversing the direction of the fan (if applicable) to counterclockwise. Other causes could be that the fan is too small for the room, or is not installed with the proper downrod.

Ceiling Fan Direction for that Cool Breeze

If your ceiling fan has a reversing functionality. You’ll want to utilize this feature when the seasons change. Clockwise for winter, which pulls air up and will distribute the warmer air stuck at the ceiling back down to where it is much better served.

For spring and summer, you’ll want to hit the reversing switch and go counterclockwise. This allows the blades to push air down and give the chilling effect that you are used to.

My Fan Still Doesn’t Feel Like it’s Blowing Air Down

There are a few other factors that will play into this. Fan size, room size, fan height, fan speed (CFM) all play a role in the air in is able to move. If one of these is off, it will reduce its ability to function efficiently.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors.

Fan Size

Biggest ceiling fan
Is bigger always better?

Do you need a bigger fan?

First, find out how large your room is. You’ll want to find the square footage of the room by measuring down one wall and up the next. It’s a simple equation, length x width = square feet. Now it’s time to measure your fan. For fans with an odd number of blades, measure from the center of the fan to the tip of the blade and multiply that by 2. For fans with an even number of blades, measure across from the tip of one blade, straight across to the tip of another. This gives you the fans size as measure by the manufacturer.

Use the guide below to see if your fan is the right size for your room:



Less than 75 sq. ft. 28-26 inch fan
76-145 sq. ft. 36-44 inch fan
146-225 sq. ft. 44-54 inch fan
226-400 sq. ft. 50-72 inch fan
400+  sq. ft. more than one fan install of 54-72inches

Fan Height

If your fan is too close to the ceiling, you’ll limit its ability to move air, if it’s too low, your tall friends could be in for a bad day. In fact, building codes require that a minimum of 7 feet of clearance from the floor is maintained.

Fan height can be modified by downrods. These downrods can be added to pretty much any fan, before or after installation. If your setup is currently incorrect, it’s a much easier and cheaper fix.

Most common room ceiling heights are between 8 and 9 feet. The simple setup for these heights is no downrod or a 3-inch for an 8ft ceiling and a 3-6 inch downrod for 9 foot ceilings. For 10 foot ceiling and higher, you’ll want to get a downrod that’s 1-3 feet in length. I would use that as a sliding scale depending on your ceiling height (don’t get a 3-foot downrod for a 10-foot ceiling!)

Fan CFM Rating

CFM (cubic feet/minute) is a measure of how much air is moved. All ceiling fans come with a CFM rating and you should pay attention to these numbers. Too low a CFM rating and you won’t feel any air movement, to high and it’ll look like a tornado blew through. Follow this simple table for best practice CFM ratings

ROOM SIZE (square feet)

CFM rating

Under 145 1,000-3,000
145-225 1,500-4,500
225-400 2,500-6,500
400+ 5,500-13,500

Summing it all up.

Now that we’ve shown how to size up your fan. You should have a good grasp on what needs adjusted if you haven’t been feeling the breeze this summer. We recommend going with the most simple fixes first, and work your way into other options if need be.

Leave a comment below and let us know how you fixed your summertime ceiling fan troubles!

Need Help With Your Ceiling Fan?

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electrician fixing a ceiling fan

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6 thoughts on “Why is Your Ceiling Fan Not Blowing Air Down?”

  1. Our fan will blow for awhile then all of the sudden you can hear the air “switch” and you no longer feel the breeze. We have to turn the fan off and on all night.

  2. Ceiling fan doesn’t blow air down in the summer or winter position. It’s a new ceiling fan. Anyone have any ideas.

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