Call Us: 201.303.0534

Mail Us: info@wellwellusa.com

Call Us: 201.303.0534

Email Us: info@wellwellusa.com

Fans Aren’t Cool in Extreme Heat

Reliance Is Dangerous for At-Risk Groups

the effectiveness of fans in hot weather conditions.

By John Salak –

Summer is fast approaching and fans are taking some heat when it comes to their ability to help keep people cool.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa have gone as far as to throw cold water on their ability to effectively cool down people in extremely hot weather. This proclamation is no small concern considering that heat waves appear to be becoming more frequent due to climate change and that fans are used by many as a safe and relatively inexpensive way to keep chill out.

The research team acknowledged that a steady breeze has some benefits, but ultimately not nearly as much as many people think.

“Fans do improve sweat evaporation, but this effect is not strong enough to significantly lower your body’s internal temperature when it’s already really hot (above 33-35°C). In older adults, who may have a reduced ability to sweat, fans provide even less cooling benefits,” explained post-doctoral fellow Robert Meade, who led the research effort. “In fact, even in younger adults, fans only provide a small fraction of the cooling power of air conditioning.”

The study went as far as to deliver a chilly recommendation that health organizations continue to advise against relying on fans during extreme heat events, especially for older adults and those at higher risk of heat strokes. The Canadian team instead stressed the need to provide access to alternative cooling solutions, such as air conditioning, while also exploring ways to make these options more accessible and environmentally friendly.

The study’s conclusions were developed by using “human heat balance” modeling techniques. By extending these models to estimate core temperature under a range of conditions and modeling assumptions, researchers were able to compare the expected effects of fan use under a wide range of scenarios.

“Results from the 116,640 alternative models we produced in sensitivity analyses indicated that fans likely do not significantly reduce core temperature in high heat or match air conditioning cooling. Comparisons with more advanced modeling techniques and laboratory heat wave simulations supported this conclusion,” Meade added.

Fans aren’t totally useless, the Canadians admitted. They are good at circulating air and they may help moderate temperatures. But ultimately they have limited value in extreme heat.

Limited value aside, fans are, nonetheless, extremely popular, boasting an estimated worldwide market of more than $11 billion, Allied Market Research reports. Their popularity is only expected to grow in the next few years, reaching $16.9 billion by 2031.

“Keeping indoor temperatures cool is important for vulnerable individuals, but cooling strategies like air conditioning can be costly and harmful to the environment. It is crucial that we improve the accessibility and sustainability of air conditioning and other forms of ambient cooling to protect those in need,” said Meade. “Fans can still have an important role in this, since they can be effective for cooling at lower temperatures, meaning we don’t have to set our air conditioners so low. However, when it gets really hot, a fan alone is not going to cut it.”





Newsletter Sign-Up

Social Media

Related Posts

Related Podcasts

WellWell delivers a big dose of health and wellness news, product information and discounts straight to you.

Subscribe to The WellWell Newsletter