RacingJunk.com and industrial and commercial fan producer, Big Ass Fans, have teamed up this summer to give away a Yellow Jacket portable fan to one lucky winner in the “RacingJunk.com 2014 Beat the Summer Heat With a Big Ass Fan” contest. The fans are used in everything from construction to mechanics shops to home garages to living rooms, delivering high tech cooling and air circulation with state of the art construction. We sat down with the team behind these high quality, highly diverse fan producers to learn a little more about the products, the company and the folks that makes them.
Q: We love the name “Big Ass Fans” – it’s memorable as well as accurate! Who came up with it?
A: Our ceiling fans first hit the market in 1999 with the unremarkable brand name “HVLS Fan Company,” as a nod to the concept of moving high volumes of air at low speeds. After years of customers referring to the industrial models as big-ass fans, we adopted the name and our mascot, Fanny the donkey.
Q: Can you give me a little bit of history about the company? What are you most known for?
A: Founder and CEO Carey Smith (or Chief Big Ass, as he prefers) spent part of his childhood in the South and knew just how hot buildings without air conditioning would get in summer. Before he started Big Ass Fans, he founded a company that installed sprinklers on the roofs of industrial buildings to cool their interiors, just as he and his siblings did to their Alabama home growing up. Carey visited thousands of facilities while running that start-up, and he consistently saw that workers would more often turn to a relatively simple device — fans — for comfort inside. But traditional box and pedestal fans moved little air, took up valuable floor space and used inefficient motors.
Carey shuttered his first business and started Big Ass Fans, which offered the solution – a large ceiling fan that would use its size, not speed, to move high volumes of air across these expansive spaces. Because Big Ass Fans use incredibly energy-efficient motors, the fans cost just pennies per hours to operate, making them far cheaper and better for the environment than installing expensive air conditioning.
In recent years, our company has invented a line of silent ceiling fans specifically for air-conditioned buildings. The line of fans allows owners to raise their thermostat setpoints and reduce energy costs while still keeping occupants comfortable. In 2012, we launched Haiku, the reinvention of the residential ceiling fan that ENERGY STAR has rated the world’s most energy-efficient ceiling fan.
In 2013, the company started Big Ass Light, which offers energy-efficient lighting for industrial and commercial facilities, and became Big Ass Solutions. Big Ass Solutions is fans, lights and our unique approach. Big Ass means quality, design and working directly with customers to solve their problems. We don’t do things halfway. We go Big Ass.
Q: RacingJunk.com is giving away a Yellow Jacket Big Ass Fan? What’s special about this product?
A: As with most of our products, the Yellow Jacket was born from our customers telling us they just couldn’t find what they really needed. Other direction/portable fans made too noise, used too much energy, were built poorly from cheap materials and essentially self-destructed by shaking themselves apart over time or after one lick from a forklift. Big Ass Fans’ engineering and design always focuses on durability, efficiency and quiet performance, so designing the Yellow Jacket was truly a good fit from the start.
The end product of this new development process was a unique slicing blade design and a fan constructed with heavy-duty steel and extremely dense plastics that can withstand even the toughest environments. The Yellow Jacket also features an efficient direct-drive motor that uses a fraction of the horsepower (and energy) compared to other fans while showcasing impressive performance.
Q: How can one of these fans help our readers, comprised largely of racers and race enthusiasts?
A: The concept is simple – the human body performs well when it can maintain a comfortable set of parameters, one of which is temperature or thermal comfort. Human thermal comfort takes into account numerous environmental factors including temperature and air speed, promoting the body’s natural cooling process. Evaporating sweat off of your skin is the primary way in which our body works to stay cool and Big Ass Fans provide elevated air speeds across the skin to exponentially speed up that process. The Yellow Jacket provides this cooling effect in a portable, durable option. [editor’s note: if the fan can keep a field of apes cool, it should be able to cool off a pit crew, a weekend band of race fans, or a few folks wrenching in the shop on a hot day.
Check out this video on Yellow Jacket’s work at the Center for Great Apes to see what we mean.]
Q: What the most unusual place your fans have ended up?
A: An alligator farm in Florida that needed fans to help keep the crocs in a good mood. Basically – we saved those trainers’ lives by keeping those dinosaurs happy.
Big Ass Fans has retained a sense of utility and fun in everything they do, and RacingJunk.com is thrilled to give away a Yellow Jacket fan to a lucky reader. There are a variety of mounting options and bases, oscillation settings, a misting system, and remote mounted controls, giving users accessibility as well as comfort.