TikTokers in the UK have been warned against a “very risky” homemade air conditioning hack which involves tying ice bags to an electrical fan.
With Britain and many countries around Europe currently in the throes of an intense heatwave, many are devising unique and unconventional ways to stay cool this summer – from using tin foil around their homes, to buying more indoor plants.
However, the consumer safety charity Electric Safety First (ESF) has intervened to warn social media users against experimenting with the viral TikTok trend of securing ice bags to fans in their homes, in the hope they will blow cool air.
The ESF has said that having water near electronic devices like fans increase the chances of electrocution. Further, the weight of the ice bags may damage the fan’s rotating blades and even cause the appliance to topple over.
“Videos on TikTok are encouraging sweltering Brits to practice unsafe hacks with their electric fans,” ESF product safety engineer Giuseppe Capanna said, as reported by Daily Mail on Wednesday (20 July).
He continued: “Tying a bag of ice to a fan is very risky as it could destabilise the fan which may make it fall over, causing the blades to hit the guard and put the motor under additional strain, as well as potentially breaking your fan altogether.
“However, most importantly, the water that melts from the bag has a chance of coming into contact with the motor and causing an electric shock risk to anyone touching the fan,” Capanna warned.
While placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan is an old-school way to keep homes cool, the key is ensuring that the ice is kept as far away as possible from the fan.
The warning comes after a day after London’s firefighters reported their longest working day since World War 2, as they responded to over 1,000 fire calls on Tuesday (19 July) when temperatures breached 40C for the first time in London’s history.