Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Makes Me Sneeze Just Thinking About It

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This past weekend I did a major cleaning of the bedroom and bathroom I share with my husband.  Don't get me wrong, I am constantly cleaning and picking things up, but once in a while I do a major spring cleaning type of event where I wash baseboards, door handles, light switches, etc.  This past weekend was it.  One thing I cleaned was the ceiling fan.  By the way, this picture IS NOT my ceiling fan but look at the dust!


My question is, how in the world does a ceiling fan, that is in perpetual motion, get so dang dusty?  I am not a dirty person.  You could walk into my house at any point in time and it would be clean but I knocked dust balls off that thing that were the size of a mouse.  It just blows my mind.  You would think, any dust that settled on the fan would immediately be blown off when you turned it on.  Not so, according to my research.  Apparently ceiling fans are dust magnets.

Here is an explanation from an expert, Charles Ausburn, of Casablanca Fan Company:

"The air always has a great deal of dust in it -- larger particles that you can see, and also microscopic ones. Over time, a large volume of the circulating air hits and collects on the blades of the fan. People often ask why spider webs and dust can be seen on the fans. But they must understand that there is a lot of dust in the circulating air."

Further, another expert, physicist Chris Ballas, of Vanderbilt University explains:

"The charged dust particles are attracted and cling to any surface that develops a charge. This can be electrical equipment or a surface subjected to frictional forces, which result in a static electricity build-up. The latter is the case for ceiling fans. As the blades rotate, they experience frictional forces as they `rub' against the air; this knocks electrons around, causing the blades to build up a net charge. The charged dust particles then stick to the charged areas of the blades.  The leading edge of the blades usually develops the thickest layer of dust. That's because the leading edge, the edge first cutting the air as the blade spins, encounters the most friction and develops the largest charge.  So the dust doesn't collect on the blades simply by `falling' or landing on them. The electrical-attraction effect plays a large part."

Who knew?

Ahhh-chooo!

R. K. Avery
@RKAvery1