For some reason many folks have got it in their heads that fans are cooling devises. They alone are not. But you see ceiling fans whirling away in rooms empty of people all the time. It drives me nuts to see folks so carelessly waste energy.

Yes my friends, fans of any type — ceiling fans, floor fans, except maybe window fans bringing in outside cool air — by themselves are heat machines. They are heat machines on two levels. First off the blades cutting through the air create friction, and thus they are causing heat not unlike the thousand of degrees of heat produced when a space capsule reenters the earths atmosphere. Moreover, the electric motor itself that is turning the blades is a heat generator, and thus, together, the whirling blades and motor will significantly raise the temperature of a room if there is no counter factor of air conditioning.

But of course fans can cool a person, but only when moisture is involved. Air blowing across water speeds up evaporation, and it is evaporation that is the cooling effect a sweaty person experiences in front of or beneath a fan.

But many folks insist on running both air conditioning and fans at the same time regardless of them being anywhere near a fan. Therefore they are wasting energy on two fronts as the warming effect of the fan, or more likely fans, is partially offsetting the cooling effect of the air-conditioning system. Save yourselves some money and shut the dammed fans off when not very near one when you are hot and sweaty.

And that was my grumpy old man rant of the day.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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