Fan Tricks to Beat the Heat


People tired of battling the heat to get a good night’s sleep could take a tip from New Zealand-based eco design adviser Nelson Lebo – turn the fan around.

Point it out the window to blow the hot air out, and open a window on the shady side of the house to draw the cool air in.

“It really is the best, low-cost, highly effective technique to keep a home cool, but it is virtually unknown,” Lebo said.

He said people should set up the fan as soon as the outdoor temperature dropped lower than that in the house.

He recently consulted John and Jenny Hornblow about what they could do to relieve the upstairs heat in their Palmerston North home.

As a start, he picked up the fan they had directed toward the bed, took it to another room, and pointed it out the window. A single open window in their room set up the through draft.

“It’s brilliant,” Hornblow said. “It dropped the temperature in our room significantly.

“We had a comfortable night’s sleep because we were getting the outdoor temperature in our room, not just circulating warm air. And it cost about 10c to have the fan running.”

He said every home in Palmerston North could benefit from the eco design service that the city council provided free for residents.

“Nelson is so sensible and practical, with so much technical knowledge and experience, and his explanations made it completely understandable.”

Lebo said turning the fan around seemed counter intuitive to most people.

While it was true that air movement gave the illusion of cooling the skin, the fan was not cooling the air or drawing cool air into the house if used that way.

In a variation of fan theme, Lebo said sceptics could carry out a simple experiment.

After sunset, close the windows, except for one in the bedroom, and turn on the bathroom extractor fan.

“You will get the best night’s sleep ever.”

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