TikTok fan hack claims to help you stay cool in the heat but experts warn it is 'unsafe' and may be dangerous

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People are looking for ways to cool down as a heatwave approaches - but this may not be the way to do it

People are being warned not to take part in a TikTok hack which claims to help people cool down quicker, but is actually potentially very dangerous.

The UK is set to be hotter than Marbella and Ibiza this weekend (10 and 11 June), which has led to the UK Health Security Agency to issue a yellow hot weather alert. Temperatures are expected to get as high at 30C in several regions in England, and so it’s no wonder that people are bracing themselves for an incredibly warm - and somewhat uncomfortable - weekend.

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When temperatures do rise, it’s natural to want to look for ways to cool ourselves, as well as our houses down. We all know to seek out shade, wear loose cotton clothing, take a cool shower or bath, close the curtains, and drink plenty of water - and many of us also reach for a refreshing ice-cream or ice lolly - but there are times when these traditional hacks just don’t cut it.

While looking for new ways to beat the heat, however, people are being warned to stay away from one particular TikTok hack which involves a fan. It claims to be the ideal solution but could actually pose a safety risk. But, just what is the supposed hack, and why should you not do it yourself? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the TikTok fan hack?

The supposed hack involves either putting a frozen towel over a fan, or attaching bags of ice to the fan. This then becomes a makeshift air conditioning unit, and the intention is that these things will help to blow cold air across the room.

The idea first came to prominence last summer, when the UK recorded an unprecedented high temperature of 40C. Now another heatwave is upon us, the TikTok videos showing this in practice are gaining more views again. In fact, they have a total of over nine million views.

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TikTok fan hack claims to help you stay cool when it's warm but experts warn it is 'unsafe' and may be dangerous.TikTok fan hack claims to help you stay cool when it's warm but experts warn it is 'unsafe' and may be dangerous.
TikTok fan hack claims to help you stay cool when it's warm but experts warn it is 'unsafe' and may be dangerous. | Adobe Photos/NationalWorld/Kim Mogg

Why is the TikTok fan hack dangerous?

Despite TikTok users saying that the hack had helped to keep them, and their houses, nice and cool during the day and night, people are being warned by experts not to replicate it themselves. This is because they could be putting themselves at the risk of electrocution or even death.

There is then a very serious risk of electrical shock to anyone who touches the fan. It could even kill you.

Thomas Faver, Director of Faver Electrical Services

Thomas Faver, Director of Faver Electrical Services, told NationalWorld: “The ice will condense in the heat and become water, and then the water will begin to drip. It could drip into the fan, and as water conducts electricity there is then a very serious risk of electrical shock to anyone who touches the fan. It could even kill you.” 

Faver said that this scenario would be particularly dangerous for anyone who does not have an up-to-date residual current device, which switches off electricity automatically if there is a problem, fitted in their home. He added: “This could also cause a fire, as water meeting electricity may cause sparks, and that could lead to flames.”

Even if people manage to not give themselves an electric shock they could also break their fan. The extra weight attached to it may cause it to be unsteady and fall over - something else which could be dangerous when you think about the spinning blades held within a fan. There is also a risk that the towel or the bags holding the ice cubes could get sucked into the fan thanks to the air being produced, and this could obstruct and ultimately damage the blades, as well as the towel or bags.

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Charity Electrical Safety First are so concerned about the supposed hack that they have warned people to ignore it. Giuseppe Capanna, Product Safety Engineer at Electrical Safety First, said: "Yet again, we are seeing TikTok influencers who are demonstrating 'heat hacks' with their fans which are potentially unsafe."

The charity also advised people not to leave their fans on overnight or to leave them unsupervised, to only buy them from reputable retailers, to ensure that fans are on a stable surface when in use and that they are cleaned to prevent dust build-up.It also said that it is a good idea to check that fans are in good working order before use, particularly as fans tend to be unused for many months at a time. If it is giving off a buzzing sound, for instance, or looks like there is some wear or tear, then it should be turned off and checked over before use is continued. If in doubt about the safety of your fan, it is best to buy a new one.

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