Barn Fans for Heat and Fly Control: Top Product Recommendations
The mud is finally drying, we can cautiously celebrate the end of snow in the Northern Hemisphere, and the days are getting longer. Welcome the season of short sleeves on trail rides, awkward tan lines around watches, gloves, and helmets… and hot, muggy barns filled with flies. Ah yes, every season in the equine calendar has its downside. Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate flies, only minimize their annoying impact on our lives. One method to do so is by installing fans in the stables. This has the additional benefit of ameliorating the risk of heat stress in horses.
How to Recognize Heat Stress in Horses
One of the greatest risks for horses in the summertime is heat stress. It is comparable to the human condition of heatstroke, and it happens when the horse’s body heats more rapidly than it can cool itself off. The horse’s body constantly engages in the processes of digestion and respiration. These processes, as well as regular movement, produce heat in the body. When a horse is ridden or does some exercise, its body gets even hotter, and if the surrounding air is hot and humid, the horse’s natural cooling mechanisms are not always successful in cooling them off. Be extremely cautious if your horse is breathing and sweating hard after a workout, and you begin to see its muscles start to quiver. If allowed to progress, heat stress can lead to comas or worse. In these cases, it is not always enough to simply strip off your tack and put the horse in a stall. If the stall is humid, hot and not properly ventilated, it can become a sauna in a matter of moments.
Benefits and Risks of Fans in Stalls
Installing fans in stalls is a way to address not only heat but also flies. Circulating air discourages flies from settling and biting, while also maintaining a more comfortable temperature for the horses. However, a fan alone is not enough to make sure that flies are kept at bay. Regular stall cleaning, application of repellants, installation of fly traps, and other fly management and hygiene practices are necessary to control the pests.
Furthermore, if you choose to install fans in your barn or outbuilding, it is of the utmost importance that the building has a safe and up-to-date electrical system. Faulty electrical wiring or connectors can cause horrific, tragic barn fires that result in loss of life and property. It is also important that the fans be properly mounted in the barn so that they cannot fall or cause injuries.
How to Choose a Stall Fan: Top Product Recommendations
When looking for a fan for a horse stall or barn, it is critically important to make sure that it features a sealed motor. A sealed motor cannot be reached by dust, hay particles, bits of food, or insects, which can cause the motor to short out or spark.
One highly recommended product is the MaxxAir HVWM 18 UPS Wall Mount with 18-Inch fan. This fan has a sealed motor that can withstand the dust and hay particles typically found in barns. It can be easily mounted on the wall, ensuring that it’s out of the reach of horses.
For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Lasko 20″ High Velocity QuickMount is another great pick. It features a sealed motor and is versatile, meaning it can be converted from a floor to a wall fan.
Care must be taken, however, to keep all cords and hardware out of the reach of curious barnyard critters.
Stall fans can address the two biggest problems facing equestrians in summer – flies and heat stress. They can make the environment more comfortable and habitable inside barns and outbuildings, increasing airflow and minimizing the number of flies that settle. This makes overall barn hygiene better. However, it is of the highest importance that the electrical systems, including all cords and outlets, are well-maintained and protected to minimize the risk of electrical fires.
So, with these product recommendations in mind, would you install fans in your barn?