How dangerous are ceiling fans?
Everyone at some time has looked at the fan whizzing around at top speed and wondered what sort of damage it could do to you. And we’ve all seen a wobbly fan and thought it on the point of falling off the ceiling. The answer to the question, ‘how dangerous are ceiling fans?’ depends on the fan and how fast it is spinning.
The MythBusters TV show investigated the myth that a fan can decapitate a person and concluded that wooden domestic fans are much more likely to break than you. That said, fans with metal blades can cause very serious injuries to children who jump into them from bunk beds or are lifted into them by careless adults.
How do you make fans safe?
It’s recommended that fans be 2.1 metres from the floor to prevent accidents. One way of doing this is to put in fans with a shorter downrod – that’s the shaft of the fan. Bunk beds and ceiling fans don’t mix because it puts children within jumping reach. A solution is a guard on the fan. They look like the cage you see on pedestal fans. It’s not the most elegant look. It’s probably better in situations where the ceiling is low to install what are called semi flush mount fans, which are an encased fan without any downrod and with a grille over the fan.
As for fans actually falling off the ceiling because of extreme wobble, this is not likely. Fans can fall, but that is simply because they haven’t been mounted properly. Wobbling fans look alarming, but don’t fall because of the wobble. Bits may come off, such as the light cover, but the fan itself will stay put. The wobble is not the result of loose mounting, but misaligned blades. One may be slightly bent and you can carefully bend it back into shape to control the shakes.
Too Close for Comfort
Ceiling fans are frequently located above beds to make sleeping easier on those hot summer nights. They can in some circumstances get a little close for comfort, and you really don’t want your head or your hand struck by a metal blade moving at speed. In Townsville, a fair sized city with a fair few fans, there were 50 people who went to the hospital for ceiling fan injuries in a 2 year period from 1995 to 1997. Meanwhile, between 2005 and 2010, 136 children also reported to the Townsville hospital emergency department! Some of the most serious injuries were skull fractures.
While you won’t have to worry too much about the MythBusters establishing that a fan can’t cut off your head, they can still give you a very nasty knock indeed.
If your fan is wobbling around, or it’s just time for an upgrade, contact Mr Emergency. Our local electricians can help you with any repairs and installation – so you can avoid any injury!