When the indoor temperature hit 79 degrees the other day, I glared up at the living room fan, thinking I ought to be using it. But I can’t remember how. Oh, I know where the switch is, of course. But I recall an admonition to run it in one direction in summer and reverse the direction in winter. Otherwise, your house could explode. Or implode, depending on the season.
Using a fan correctly has to do with the blade angle and the direction air is swept. But that's as much as I remember. That's because I never took physics in high school. Mr. Schumaker, who warned us that we would be sorry if we didn’t take his science class, would be wagging his finger and sniggering at me now. Except that he’s either in his grave or approximately 213 years old.
However, since my Neanderthal youth, I have learned that warm air rises, being less dense. And if I were less dense, I could figure it from there.
So should the blades angle down in front to scrape the warm air down from the ceiling? And would this action further melt the Arctic glaciers – or the ice cubes in my freezer?
Or should the blades angle up in front to scoop cold air from the floor?
I’m so confused!
My living room ceiling is nine or 10 feet above the floor, and I remember learning that air is colder at higher altitudes. But then, warm air rises, confusing me again. See, students, science is difficult, and you should take English instead. The subjunctive pejorative pluperfect participial verb tense is much easier to understand.
I snipped fan-use directions from a “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine years ago, but finding it would require ransacking drawers crammed with yellowed newspaper clippings, book reviews, travel articles and faded receipts.
It’s easier to put on a bikini or a parka, depending which way the stupid fan blades are angled. And whether the front curtains are open.
I’ve always had a problem remembering things when I don’t understand the WHY involved.
My best friend, an excellent seamstress, once tried to teach me how to sew. We selected a simple A-line dress to begin. She laid out the pattern and gave directions that sounded like: “Put this here, pin it there, sew it here, turn it all about and do the hokey-pokey.”
Completely lost, I mumbled, “Why?”
“That’s how it’s done,” she sighed.
My A-line dress became an A-line pot holder, and that was the end of my sewing lessons. So when it comes to my ceiling fan, I need a simple, well-explained physics lesson.
Meanwhile, I don’t need Mr. Schumaker to explain how to take advantage of cold ice cream.