'Big Ass Fans' can help you fight COVID-19: Here's how
As COVID-19 continues to proliferate across the world, claiming thousands of lives every day, engineers and scientists are racing to find solutions that could contain and end the pandemic. Now, one such team in the US has come up with a truly unexpected way to kill the novel coronavirus behind the disease - a ceiling fan. Here's all you need to know about it.
Kentucky-based Big Ass Fans, a popular manufacturer of smart fans and lights, has created a ceiling fan that uses short-wave ultraviolet (UV-C) light to disinfect rooms. According to CNET, the company had already developed a fan that shed regular decorative light onto the ceiling, but in light of COVID-19, it re-purposed that idea to integrate a UV-C-emitting sanitizer for instant disinfection and protection.
"Mid-March, all of a sudden, it's kind of, wait a minute, we're already working on an uplight... We put about four months of additional research and engineering to make sure...we're doing this the right way, but we were already 90% there," said the company's spokesperson.
Big Ass Fans claims that the UV-C technology integrated with its new smart ceiling fan, a part of its luxurious Haiku lineup, directs invisible light upward, creating a disinfection zone that kills up to 99.9% pathogens. "Haiku's powerful air mixing improves circulation within the space, bringing more pathogens into the disinfection zone and halting the spread of disease," the company states on its website.
The company claims that the UV-C can kill most viruses, bacteria, mold, and other harmful airborne agents. In tests with phi X 174, a bacteriophage used as a stand-in for deadlier pathogens, the fan was able to achieve the 99.9% kill rate within just 10 minutes. "If it does well against this...it's going to do well against other stuff, too," the spokesperson told CNET.
While the company does not explicitly claim its fan can kill the COVID-19 coronavirus, there is no reason to believe it does not. UV-C lamps have long been used for disinfection purposes and have already proven effective in destroying coronaviruses behind SARS and MERS on a cellular level. Several companies have also launched their own UV-C disinfection chambers in response to the current crisis.
The UV-C-integrated Haiku line of smart fans starts at $1,750 (approximately Rs. 1.31 lakh) in the US. Their disinfection mode can be switched to automatic or you can manually use the company's application to enable disinfection light whenever needed. Also, as the ultraviolet light falls directly on the ceiling, there no need to worry about anyone getting exposed by sitting underneath the fan.