8 expert fan hacks: clever ways to cool down a room with a fan more efficiently

Make your cooling fan more efficient during hot weather with these expert-approved fan hacks

picture of electric fan on desk beside a houseplant to support expert tips and fan hacks to stay cool
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the hot weather finally approaching, many of us will be scrambling to get our fans out of storage to stay cool. To truly feel the benefit of them why not give one of these efficient fan hacks and enjoy the much cooler air? 

There’s a reason so many of us storm the shops when the heat hits. Having a fan is one of the best ways to cool down a room without an AC but it can sometimes feel like their reach is somewhat limited. 

So whilst you may have previously thought your fan was a simple one-trick pony, these experts are here to show you just how wrong you are. Yes, with some hacks and unique methods, you can get even more satisfaction out of your fan than it simply blowing a lacklustre amount of cool air in one direction. 

Before you get hot and bothered, here are some tips to upgrade even the best fans on the market and keep you from breaking a sweat. 

8 smart fan hacks to stay cooler during the heat

"Contrary to popular belief, fans don't cool air; they move it," explains Sonia Madaan, a devoted engineer and the founder of EarthEclipse.com. "The sensation of coolness we feel is the effect of the moving air evaporating perspiration from our skin." 

For this reason, how we use fans can make all the difference in how effective the cooling efforts feel as some of the most common cooling mistakes can make your home warmer.

From adjusting the ceiling fan direction to reconsidering the positioning beside a window experts say there are easy ways to make all fans more effective at beating the heat.

1. Give your fan a clean

dusting inside a fan with a feather duster to

(Image credit: Future)

Cleaning a fan of any kind is a good place to start, to ensure the blades are running to the best of their ability and ensure the motor is not affected by a build-up of dust 

Dust can slow down the fan's blades, meaning the cooling appliance is not working as efficiently as it could be.

It's always worthwhile cleaning your appliances to enhance performance and prolong their lifespan, so perhaps give your dehumidifier a clean too to improve your indoor air.

2. Alternate between facing in and out of a hot room

oscillating fan on a desk in front of a window to show a fan hack to make the room feel cooler

(Image credit: Getty Images | Ucpage)

The question of whether it is better to have a fan blowing in or out of a hot room is a frequently asked one, and for good reason, because it matters a great deal it turns out.

"For a window fan, the direction should depend on the outside temperature and the room temperature," explains Felix Wilson, home editor for the home and lifestyle experts Unclutterer

"If the outside temperature is cooler than the inside (usually at night), the fan should be blowing into the room to bring in the cool air. If the outside temperature is hotter, the fan should be blowing out to expel the hot air from the room."

This fan hack is especially useful for keeping a bedroom cool at night, to make it easier to sleep in the heat.

3. Reposition to create a cross breeze

A fan on a table to show how repositioning a fan a worthwhile fan hack to try for cooler air

(Image credit: Future)

The key to creating a breeze indoors is to reposition your fan to create maximum airflow from room to room.

"Thoughtfully positioning fans in certain ways can also make a difference," says Felix. "For example, placing a fan across from a window can create a cross breeze effect that can cool an entire room efficiently,"

Look to elevate fans onto tabletops or higher surfaces so you benefit more from the direct breeze on your skin.

4. Make your own AC with ice

a small desk fan behind a bowl of ice to show how to cool down a room without ac

(Image credit: Getty Images | Kyle Liu)

All you need to replicate the feel of an icy AC unit is a fan and a bowl of ice. "By positioning the fan to blow over a large bowl filled with ice, the air from the fan will pick up the cold water from the ice's surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist," explains Felix.

This well-documented fan hack does indeed work surprisingly well, as Sonia can attest. "It's funny but in my desperation during that heatwave, I discovered the trick of placing a bowl of ice in front of the fan. The air blowing over the ice was noticeably cooler. Kinda like our improvised air cooler."

5. Reposition the angle

fan in a room in front of a window and houseplants support a guide for handy fan hacks

(Image credit: Getty Images | Central IT Alliance)

Heat rises, meaning it's essential to aim your fan to direct hot air away from you. As you might welcome a blast of cooler air directly into your face it is more beneficial to reposition the fan to elevate the hot air up and away from the body entirely.

When using a fan to assist while sleeping it's important to direct the fan onto the main areas of the body that need to stay cool in order to sleep better.

"The secret behind regulating body heat is keeping your body warm but hitting core pulse points such as your head, neck, wrists, and feet,' explains Alison Jones, a sleep expert at Sealy

"By keeping those key areas cooler, and away from the heat of the covers, it will help to lower core temperature."

6. Use alongside a dehumidifer

testing Meaco dehumidifier at home to qualify for our pick of the best dehumidifiers

(Image credit: Future)

The body's job to keep you cool down is to sweat, but that is less effective when the air surrounding you feels too humid. The lower the humidity in a room, the cooler and more bearable it will feel. This is where it can be beneficial to use a fan in conjunction with the best dehumidifier and why buying a humidifier in summer is beneficial.

Similar to why dehumidifiers are good for drying clothes they can also make your fan more efficient. Dehumidifiers work by extracting moisture out of the air. When used with a high-speed fan the increased airflow ensures that your dehumidifier is pulling in more of the warm, humid air at a faster rate. 

Chris Nye, overseas property expert at Your Overseas Home says: "While dehumidifiers won’t necessarily reduce room temperature, they can help control the sticky, thick air that makes hot days even more uncomfortable."

"Humidity decreases the rate at which our sweat evaporates, making us feel much hotter and sweatier, so investing in a dehumidifier can make your home a bit more comfortable during the hottest and most humid days."

These are our top-rated dehumidifier models...

7. Change direction of your ceiling fan

ceiling fan in a white bedroom to demonstrate fan hack to make it more efficient in summer

(Image credit: Getty Images | Ucpage)

Changing the direction of the ceiling fan's blade rotation is crucial to getting the best results. In particular, we are talking about ceiling fans that feature a switch to automatically change direction.

During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to make you feel cooler. Here is Brad Roberson, president of air conditioning company Aire Serv to explain why.

"Counter-clockwise circulation of fan blades in the summer pushes cool air down to the floor, producing a wind chill effect on the skin and making a room feel up to 8 degrees colder to those underneath," says Brad.

"Ceiling fans also help your air conditioner, reducing the need for constant central or window air conditioning. Warm air rises in a home. During hotter months, a slow speed that pushes air down can increase comfort. In warmer summer months, pulling cooler air toward the ceiling can create a more consistent temperature throughout the room."

8. Switch off electrical devices

If you're looking to help your fan work faster and more efficiently it pays to reduce the room temperature by removing any unnecessary sources of heat. 

When the temperatures outside are becoming stifling you won't wish to open the windows as much, meaning the air inside won't be able to circulate as easily as any electrical devices producing heat will add to the increasing temperatures you'll be feeling inside. 

When looking for the best way to cool down a room with a fan look to switch off all other electrical appliances you don't need during the hottest parts of the day.

When taking into consideration how much it costs to run an electric fan, there's really no reason not to use them during the summer months. However, should you have the space and budget to do so, investing in an air conditioning unit can be a great choice for those who particularly struggle with keeping cool in summer

Tamara Kelly
Lifestyle Editor

Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 22 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.

A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trend forecasting events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.

With contributions from