(This site may include affiliate links—See full affiliate disclaimer)
If you’ve worked around fans as long as I have, then you’ve probably heard unexplained sounds and music.
Can fans pick up radio signals?
Fans pick up radio waves by vibrating at the same frequency as the transmitter within the electromagnetic field. They become a temporary antenna. This usually happens when your fan is close enough to a radio tower and you are close enough to your fan to hear it.
How Do Fans Pick Up Radio Signals?
If you live near a radio tower with a strong transmitter, your fans can pick up radio waves and serve as an antenna, similar to how crystal radios work.
Essentially, the metal in your fan conducts the signals and vibrates enough to produce sound.
You can mimic this effect with virtually any metal object attached to a mostly flat and unmovable surface.
In fact, in World War II, allied soldiers used nails and razor blades to listen to music from nearby towers in Italy.
Can Fans Pick Up Radio Waves If They Are Turned Off?
Yes, fans can pick up radio waves even if they are turned off. The power doesn’t really matter.
It’s the metal parts of the fans that conduct the radio signals.
What you’re hearing is the fan vibrating to the electromagnetic field. Since its metal, it will conduct those vibrations and make noise.
The only thing that could make this effect less likely to happen is if your fan was made of plastic or if your radio tower didn’t emit strong signals.
Can Unplugged Fans Pick Up Radio Signals?
Yes, unplugged fans can pick up radio signals.
Although it might seem like ghosts or that you’re hearing voices, it’s actually just basic science.
All you need to create the effect is a strong transmitter and something metal as the conductor.
In this case, you have both—a fan and a radio tower.
It’s not that your fan is haunted or that something supernatural is going on. It’s just science working itself out the way it should.
Can Ceiling Fans Pick Up Radio Signals?
Yes, ceiling fans can pick up radio signals.
They do it in the same way that floor fans or other mounted fans can transmit voices or music.
Just as with other fans (or objects), it works best when your fan is within the electromagnetic field of a powerful transmitter.
Usually, this means your ceiling fan is close enough to a radio tower to pick up the radio waves.
Can Small Fans Pick Up Radio Signals?
Yes, even small fans can pick up radio signals.
Any fan can do so as long as the right elements are in place: metal, strong transmitter, and proximity.
Therefore, the size of your fan doesn’t really matter as much as the necessary mix of circumstances.
Is My Fan Picking Up Radio Waves Or Am I Hearing Auditory Hallucinations?
When you hear voices in your fan, there are only a few possibilities.
Either your fan is picking up radio waves or you are hearing auditory hallucinations. These are the two most common reasons.
Some people also believe in more supernatural sources, but we’ll stay grounded in the natural for this article.
To figure out why you hear sounds from your fan, here’s what you can do:
- Ask if anyone else nearby can also hear the sounds.
- Move the fan into another room and see if you can still hear the sounds in the original room.
- Replace the metal fan with a fan made mostly of plastic.
If anyone else can hear the sounds, then you are probably not experiencing an auditory hallucination.
It is, however, possible that your mind is trying to find patterns in the white noise of the fan. This is a very common occurrence.
For example, many people report hearing voices in air conditioning or running water.
If other people do hear the sounds or music from the fan, odds are your fan is picking up radio signals.
You can record the sounds and play them for others, or invite someone you know to stand or sit near the fan.
Of course, if no one else can hear the sounds, you hear them often, and the sounds interfere with your normal life, then you might want to reach out to a professional for a mental health check-up.
What Else Can Pick Up Radio Signals?
Almost any metal object or electronic in your house can pick up radio signals.
I’ve heard that everything from your bed frame to your refrigerator can amplify radio waves, but you’ll only hear the sounds if the objects oscillate fast enough and loud enough.
There are even reports of people hearing local radio stations faintly through their braces.
Scientists in Israel even believe that parts of rat and human brains transmit sensory information much like an FM radio.
Check out this 2-minute video where a guy demonstrates how he picks up radio signals from his wedding ring:
How to Stop Hearing Voices In Electronics
I never minded hearing the occasional sounds or music through my fans.
But, let’s say you do mind and want to stop the noise. No problem. You can totally do that with a little ingenuity.
What you want to do is to change, replace, or remove the electronics (such as the fan).
Often, a slight shift in the location or angle of the fan is enough.
Another possible option is to soundproof your room or the entire house. If the radio waves can’t reach your fan, they can’t vibrate it to produce any sound.
If that’s not possible or too inconvenient, you can cover up the fan with a sound-muffling fabric, such as a thick blanket.
Final Thoughts: Can Fans Pick Up Radio Signals?
Hearing voices and music from your fans is a bizarre experience.
If you are really interested in the phenomenon, you can always check to see if there is a radio tower near you.
You might get better results in college towns or small towns where radio towers might be more accessible and be built closer to residential neighborhoods.
What to read next:
- What Is a Hugger Fan? (Explained for Beginners)
- Are Fans Bad for Fruits? (SOLVED)
- Are Fans Bad for Vegetable Gardens (Answered)