BRITS are digging out their fans once again as an unexpected September heatwave.
But before you rush to switch it on for an instant cool off, make sure it's set up right to avoid hidden dangers.
In extreme cases, it could even result in a devastating fire.
Here are six common mistakes identified by safety charity Electrical Safety First.
1. Is it OK to leave my fan on overnight?
You might be tempted to leave your fan on overnight to get around some uncomfortable temperatures.
But Electrical Safety First's expert Giuseppe Capanna warns people not to.
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You'll have no idea if there's an electrical fault as you sleep which could cause a fire.
Of course, most modern electric fans are safe to leave on for hours at a time and pose little to no threat.
Some also have timers – so maybe you could set it to go for a couple of hours then switch off automatically later?
If you do choose to leave it on overnight, make sure the device is clear of dust and is far away from curtains.
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However, those who are at risk of severe heat stroke or other adverse health effects, it's almost certainly worth leaving the fan on.
2. Where should I buy a new fan?
It's tempting to buy a second hand fan from sites like Facebook Marketplace to save a bit of cash.
But experts say it's best not to.
That's because it won't have the same safety testing as it would from a reputable retailer.
Substandard imitations and old kit could risk electric shock and fire.
3. Where should I put my fan?
Your fan should always be kept on a flat surface.
If it's balanced precariously on the edge of something, such as a dresser or bedside table, it could very easily fall off.
As a result, the blades may well hit the guard and put the motor under additional strain, thereby leading to overheating and even a fire.
On top of that, it could break your fan altogether as well.
4. What should I do about dusty fans?
Over the years, your fan's vents and motor can become quite clogged up with dust buildup.
This is especially the case if you've just dug it out from a closet for the heatwave.
Dust puts the motor under extra strain, increasing the risk of overheat and catch fire.
The dust itself can also act as a source of ignition if the motor were to overheat.
So make sure you regularly give it a clean.
Before cleaning the fan blades or motor, unplug the device and follow the manufacturer's instructions in the manual.
5. My fan is making a buzzing sound – should I be worried?
If your fan is giving off a faint buzzing sound it may be a sign of an electrical fault or ‘arcing’ occurring at the plug.
Always ensure your fan is plugged in securely and if you notice any smell of burning or unusual noises, turn it off immediately.
6. Check your fan for wear and tear
We often keep hold of fans for years, packing them away in the cooler months, where damage may occur to cables.
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It's important to check that the cables and vents are in good condition.
Damage to those parts can hinder the product's performance.
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