Monday, January 9, 2012

Cold Nights, Fans, Closed Rooms

On a chill December night travelling while the trained swayed its way through the tunnels of Kadugannawa one could feel the cold wind hitting with such power sending a shrill through the spine. The wind comes in occasional strikes and when the peacefulness sets in momentarily the croaky old fan was doing its part to make it even more colder. 

This reminded me of a discussion we had exactly an year before as soon we checked in to a small back packer joint in Katmandu, where one of the guys wanted to keep the fan on while the temperature was around 6 degrees (to put this in to context we had just arrived in Nepal without knowing how cold it will be and of course without any winter clothes) . The best part of the story was the he used physics theories which sounded perfectly logical to build the hypothesis why having a fan switched on in a closed room will eventually make the room warmer. The other two of us found that it was not the time to discuss physics but to somehow counter the immediate shivering pleaded to switch off the fan.

Funnily out of curiosity I Googled to find whether the physics explanation was right. Instead of ending up with an answer for the question I ended up reading about an interesting Korean myth on electric fans! 

"Fan death is a widely held belief in South Korea that an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those inside. Fans sold in Korea are equipped with a timer switch that turns them off after a set number of minutes, which users are frequently urged to set when going to sleep with a fan on." []

I am now wondering whether if that explanation is correct!


  1. U missed some of the parts I guess,

    That day we did agree with the logic obviously, that damn kinetic energy had to be passed on to the air and generated heat. No doubts on his logic that day.

    But the fact that it will circulate the cold air initially until the entire room gets warmer, the immediate result would be getting more colder before it actually gets warmer, we were not ready to take that gamble as it was freezing. We just wanted to get into the quilt!

  2. You should experiment and write another blog on the findings :P