5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that comes in very handy this time of year…

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

1. Good Can Be Better

In doing a little research for this post, I learned that ceiling fans first appeared in the 1860s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they were built with the ability to change speeds. For the first 100+ years of their existence, fans only knew one speed. Now, nearly every fan you find features a control that can vary the speed, similar to how a light has a dimmer.

I imagine that when fans were first invented, there was probably very little complaining about the speed of the fan — people were thrilled just to have something that make a room feel less hot. But somewhere along the line a very smart person showed up and asked, “how can I make this better?” That person looked at something good and made it better. We too might be able to do the same simply by giving people a few options to choose from.

2. Faster Isn’t Always Better

I think the fan in my bedroom must be a close relative of a helicopter propeller. When it is at the highest speed, papers start flying, blinds begin rattling and it feels as if the whole room could come down at any moment.

Even when the house is as its hottest, the fan remains at medium speed. Sure, I could turn it up full blast, but while I would be cooler, I would be stuck cleaning up the remnants of my room. It is a good reminder that just because I can make something go faster, doesn’t mean the result is worth it.

3. We Become Complacent Easily

Does your ceiling fan rattle? Mind does. But I usually only notice it for like 2 seconds. Very quickly my ears just become used to it and I can no longer even hear the sound. If I get up, leave the room and then come back, I can hear it right away. I may even twist the light bulb or turn the glass casing, which usually fixes it. For like 2 seconds.

The noise comes back, but by that time I am sitting down and comfortable. I turn on the TV or zone out and the noise goes away. Because I lose focus on the issue so quickly, I am unlikely to fix the problem.

4. Going The Right Direction Makes All The Difference

These days, not only do fans have speed controls, but they also have the ability to change direction. When I first learned of this, I figured that it didn’t matter which the direction the fan went as long as it was spinning.

I was wrong. Apparently the direction matters very much. So much in fact, that one direction creates the feeling of cool air and the other direction creates warm air. Knowing which direction you want makes a world of difference.

5. Turn It Off When We Leave

Fun fact: regardless of the direction of rotation, fans actually add heat to a room. Fans never add cool air to the room, they only move the air around. The reason we feel cool with a fan is because of the wind chill effect.

It works like this…we sweat -> air mover over the sweat -> the evaporation rate increases. More evaporation = cooler sweat = cooler human.

Because of this, it does not make any sense to have a fan going if there is not someone in the room. All that happens is the electricity bill goes up and the room actually gets warmer.

Many of us have high stress jobs. We are constantly have to be on top of our game. But when we leave work, we may want to learn a lesson from fans and turn it off.

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