Experts Reveal the Dos and Don'ts of Electric Fans as Heatwave Hits Britain

08 July 2022

Those seeking to beat the heat as Britain braces for soaring temperatures are being warned against risky behavior in their bid to stay cool as parts of the country are set to exceed 30 degrees.   

Consumer safety charity, Electrical Safety First, is urging consumers to follow its six tips on staying cool when using a fan after a Level 3 Heat Health alert was issued in certain areas by the Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency. 

Measures that the public take to keep cool throughout the warm nights could risk an overheating disaster as Product Safety Engineer of Electrical Safety First, Giuseppe Capanna, offers six essential tips when using your fan:  

  1. DON’T leave your fan on overnight
    It may be tempting to keep the cool air flowing as the nights become humid but households risk putting themselves at risk if a fault occurs with their device while they are sleeping. Always turn you fan off before you go to sleep and ensure you have working smoke alarms in your property.  
  2. DO purchase your fan from a reputable retailer you know and trust
    Purchasing electric fans from online marketplaces could leave you vulnerable to substandard and potentially dangerous imitations which could risk electric shock and fire.  
  3. DON’T balance your fan on the edge of a surface
    Always place your fan on a flat stable surface. If your fan is balanced precariously on the edge of a surface it could tip over, causing the blades to hit the guard and put the motor under additional strain, as well as potentially breaking your fan altogether.  
  4. DO clear your fan of dust build up
    If the vents or the motor build up with dust, there are two risks: one the motor may be placed under additional strain from the dust and grime and two, the dust could become a source of ignition if the motor were to overheat. Always clean your vents to ensure your fan works efficiently and is kept in good use. Make sure to unplug your fan and to follow manufacture’s instructions before opening the guard or attempting to clean the fan. 
  5. DON’T ignore a buzzing sound
    If your fan is giving off a faint buzzing sound it may be a sign of an electrical fault or ‘arcing’ occurring at the plug. Always ensure your fan is plugged in securely if you notice any smell of burning or unusual noises, turn it off immediately.  
  6. DO check your fan for wear and tear
    We often keep fans for years, storing them away in the cooler months where damage may occur to cables. Always check your device to ensure the cables are in good condition and that the vents are free from the build up of dust, which can hinder the product’s performance.  

Product Safety Engineer of Electrical Safety First Giuseppe Capanna commented: “With temperatures projected to exceed those of Los Angeles, people will look for any option to cool themselves down. It’s important to make sure you don’t risk fires or burns  in your bid to stay cool so ensure you follow our essential tips to avoid an accident occurring. People should buy their fans from a reputable High Street retailer they know and trust, register the product with the manufacturer and never leave it on whilst asleep or out of the house!” 



Notes to editors: 

  • Electrical Safety First is a charity dedicated to reducing death and injury caused by electricity in the home.
  • For more advice on cooling fans, visit our dedicated page here.