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Gadgets & Home Improvement

How fans keep you cool

Fans keep you feeling more comfortable by moving the air around
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - March 7, 2011
By: Adele Ong
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How fans keep you cool

Ceiling fans, and floor and table fans, work by circulating the air in a room. The circulating of air keeps us cool because it helps blow away the air immediately surrounding us which is heated by our bodies, and replaces it with cooler air from other parts of the room. It also helps even out the temperature of the air in a room by not letting warm air collect in one place.

A ceiling fan, however, is not always the most suitable or efficient way to cool a room through air circulation. It cannot, for example, be used in rooms whose ceilings are too low – such an appliance in a low-ceilinged room is just a dreadful accident waiting to happen. A ceiling fan whose blades are too short will also not cool a bigger room well. Longer blades are needed for larger spaces; in some of the biggest rooms, you may even need two ceiling fans.

Wherever ceiling fans are inappropriate, you can consider using fans designed to stand on the floor or on a tabletop, or which can be mounted on a wall. For the greatest circulatory effectiveness, these fans ought to be oscillating models. Floor, tabletop or wall-mounted models that are fixed and do not oscillate will often circulate only the air that is directly in front of their blades, while the rest of the room remains stuffy.

An important fact to be aware of when choosing cooling appliances and systems for your home is that circulatory fans do not actually cool down a room, unless they are designed to draw in cool air from outside the room and push hot air out. They simply move the air around so that the people in the room feel more comfortable. They do not lower temperatures the way air-conditioners do. In fact, a fan may even raise the temperature of a room because it generates energy while it is in operation.

Therefore, you should keep a fan on only if there are actually people in the room, or if the air in the room needs circulating because it has just been painted. When a room is unoccupied, you will be doing your wallet and the environment a favour by switching off all the fans.


How do evaporative coolers work?