2018, as we all by now know, has been an incredible summer. Unbroken sunshine, record temperatures, the small matter of a World Cup semi-final… there has been so much to enjoy. 

But beyond the weekends and the obligatory summer holiday, the likelihood is that we have also been working through this heat, and only catching glimpses of the sun through the office blinds.  Sat at our desks, sweating (metaphorically at the pile of work in front of us, and literally with the temperature) the only saving grace has been the desk fan.  Now imagine if that fan broke down?  The office would become a sauna, and the 9-5 all the harder to get through.

The desk fan is the office worker’s best friend and so this guide has been designed to a) stop that happening and b) provide emergency assistance in the case that it does. But before we get to that doomsday scenario, here are some ideas for maintaining this now essential piece of office equipment, and for keeping your personal space nice and cool for as long as possible.

Try to find time to clean your desk fan once in a while. By its very nature, your fan will gather dust and if that gets inside and then builds up, it can damage the motor. Use a vacuum cleaner to help with the front of it, and perhaps wipe the blades down.  For a more serious clean you’ll need warm soapy water and a cloth (and don’t forget your toothbrush) Unplug the fan, then take off the front grill, the blades and the back grill. Dip your cloth in warm water mixed with washing up liquid (squeezing out the cloth so that it is not too wet), then gently wipe down the various bits of grill and the actual blades. Why the toothbrush, you ask?  Well, that is for the motor, which should only be brushed lightly, without allowing it to get wet. Then allow plenty of time for the varied components to dry, before putting them back together.

Beyond cleaning, you can also help the long-term performance of the fan by keeping it lightly oiled, including the gears and the blades. Also, think about where the fan is kept when not in use (perhaps locked away somewhere free from dust) and replace defective parts as soon as you notice a problem. 

With your desk fan working overtime in this heat, it’s somewhat likely that your fan needs repairing. There are a couple of things you can be thinking about to fix problems with your fan. If you can hear the motor in the fan working, for instance, but find that the blades aren’t turning, take off the screen and motor cover and see if you can lubricate around the gears… it may be that they’ve become stuck.  Or alternatively, try to replace the defective part, which may well be a lot cheaper than buying a whole new unit.

If the problem is that your fan has started making lots of noise, it might be that the blades have become unbalanced. Again, unplug the fan, take off the cover and, rather like balancing a wonky table, see if you can tape a small object safely to the blade and see if that rebalances the blades and stops the noise. If the fan is not coming on at all, and there are no signs of life, firstly check the fan is plugged in, and that all switches are on. If there is still no joy, don’t panic – it might be the power supply that’s defective, rather than the fan, and you might want to check that first.

However, in conclusion, trying these remedies in the first instance is certainly preferable to a replacement fan or indeed a whole new unit. Equally, if you leave a fan running when it’s obviously feeling poorly, it is much more likely that it will eventually give up and splutter to its ultimate demise, in which case you certainly will need a new fan.  And if finance won’t spring for that, then the working day is going to get… sticky.