Temperatures are set to soar this weekend, but will running an electric fan to stay cool also send your bills skyrocketing?
This week the Met Office issued an orange extreme heat warning for much of England and Wales for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There was also a red warning for parts of Englandwhere temperatures could reach 40C.
Many people will have had fans running all week – perhaps to provide a breath of fresh air while they work from home or bedside at night.
Many more are considering buying one: Sales of electric fans have increased by as much as 1,630% this week, according to online marketplace OnBuy. However, energy bills have skyrocketed during the cost of living crisis, and running a fan will increase your expenses.
Guardian Money set out to find out how much it would cost to run different types – although the actual figure will vary depending on the fan and how much you pay for electricity.
The estimates are based on the electricity supplier’s standard variable tariff, which is protected by the energy price cap.
According to figures calculated by Uswitch, it costs 1p to run a standard desk fan for an hour – in other words, 8p for an eight-hour working day.
If you decide to have it all day and all night it would cost 24p over 24 hours, so seven days of that would add £1.68 to your bill. Pedestal fans cost more, at just under 2p per hour, which would be 14p for an eight-hour working day.
Running a pedestal fan for 24 hours at a stretch would cost 41 pence a day; it’s £2.88 after seven days.
Portable air conditioning units are more expensive to buy and more expensive to run at 28 pence an hour.
A built-in air conditioning unit comes with the highest price of them all: according to Uswitch research, it will cost 75 pence per hour.
Air conditioning is, of course, bad news for the planet: it accounts for around a fifth of the electricity consumed in the world. Much of this comes from power plants that emit greenhouse gases.
Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com, says: “We’ve all gotten used to the fact that staying warm costs more than ever, but so does staying cool as we enter the first wave of heat of the year.
He adds that while many people working from home won’t have a perfectly air-conditioned office, there are things they can do to keep their homes cool.
“While air conditioning units are an effective way to keep a room cool, they use a lot of energy and could lead to a nasty surprise on the next energy bill.
“With high energy prices, it’s important to keep energy bills down even in the summer months.”
In the UK, a health alert has been issued asking people to be careful of the elderly, young children and babies, as well as people with underlying health conditions, who may be battling the heat.
Britons have been advised to draw curtains in rooms exposed to the sun to keep temperatures down and to remember that it can actually get cooler outside.
The Met Office recommends drinking plenty of water, not consuming too much alcohol and dressing for the weather.
Our pick of the best budget fans
We’ve rounded up some of the best rated fans on sale.
It’s worth shopping around before investing in a fan to make sure you’re getting the best value, and also checking the power consumption, to get an idea of what it might add to your electricity bill.
There is a range of Oypla electric fans available on Amazon including a desktop model (£12.99) which can also clip onto surfaces such as shelves.
Igenix also offers a sizable lineup, many of which receive good reviews.
The Honeywell Comfort Control Tower Fan was £55-£60 from Amazon this week. It has three speed settings, a timer function and can be controlled remotely.
Meanwhile, the portable HandFan (around £22) scores 4.5 out of five on Amazon. It has three speed modes, is foldable which means you can put it on a desk and can be charged via USB. It has a “misting feature…to keep the air hydrated while cooling you down,” with a 55ml water reservoir that it says lasts up to 40 minutes.