window fan + lightning storm - will sparks fly?
June 11, 2009 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Is it okay to use a window fan during a thunderstorm?

I leave my window fans running all the time, even during thunderstorms. Frequently I'm not home and not even really aware that a storm will be coming, or it happens while I'm sleeping.

I'm on the 6h floor of a 6 story apartment building. Do I have anything to worry about with window fans & thunder storms?
posted by MesoFilter to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
It's not going to attract lightning, if that's what you're worried about. Like most electrical appliances, you shouldn't let the fan motor get wet.
posted by ryanrs at 10:57 PM on June 11, 2009

Mine says it has water resistant motors, and that it is safe to use when it is raining. I too leave mine in all the time. I have had one fail, but it was the electronics. I think it got a little too wet. Granted, that is one of the few things not plugged in to a UPS. I replaced it with the same model, and that has made it through many storms.
posted by Climber at 11:54 PM on June 11, 2009

Just don't touch it. during the storm, obviously.
posted by titanium_geek at 1:13 AM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: The fans are on exhaust, so mostly don't get wet, unless the wind force is enough to stop/reverse the motors.

Okay, I won't worry about the lightning then. Cheers all.
posted by MesoFilter at 5:26 AM on June 12, 2009

I don't see how there is any more danger than with using appliances in general in thunderstorms.

And I've always doubted that was actually risky. Can your TV / Etc actually be shorted during an electrical storm?
posted by mary8nne at 5:55 AM on June 12, 2009

It could get fried by an electrical a surge simply from being plugged in, regardless of if the fan is actually running or not.

It's probably not a good idea to run appliances while away, though.
posted by rumsey monument at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2009

Response by poster: I mean away at work, not away for a week.

I was just worried that the fan would attract lightning. I once had a fan sort of angled into the window at an odd angle, and rabbit ears somewhat nearby during a thunderstorm and I saw a tiny lightning bolt in the window & the fan shorted out. Ever since then I've been sort of wary of window fans. But I suspect that it was an odd configuration of window, fan & rabbit ears that built up the static electricity that attracted the tiny bit of lightning.
posted by MesoFilter at 10:43 AM on June 12, 2009

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