Box Fan Joys and Dangers

By Terry Golson

Tonka loves his box fan. On hot and humid days, he stands in front of it. His mane blows up and down (how cute!)


Fans can be a godsend for a horse in the summer. This big guy has an allergic reaction to bug bites. Despite drugs and excellent care, his skin lumps up and is ever so itchy. His owner bought him a big fan. He chooses to stand in front of it – the bugs blow right past him.

That fan is industrial, and designed for the harsh conditions in a barn. And harsh they are! Even the tidiest barn is dusty. Wires are exposed to the elements. Sockets, too.

The main cause of barn fires is electrical. Some say that in the summer, box fans are the main cause of fires.

Inexpensive box fans, sold to put in your bedroom window, should NEVER be used in a barn. The motors aren’t protected. The wiring and the plug aren’t up to the challenges of a barn environment. They’re easily broken and frayed, gnawed on my mice, and gunked up by dirt. Saving a few dollars isn’t worth the risk. Far better is to invest in fans engineered to be safe in your stable, like this one.


I board, so have no control over the quality of the fans used, but I can inspect the wiring, and keep them dusted if necessary.

One more thing to be aware of… When Tonka was at this barn, he delighted in unplugging whatever was in the socket next to his stall. I learned to leave the sliding door open only when I could keep a vigilant eye on him!


For more about horse barn fire safety, read this excellent article.