Maintaining and repairing your stuff is an eco-friendly and economical way to keep furniture looking good, preserve silverware, or simply refresh your home.
No matter where you live, a good floor fan is an important asset. Not only because it can help you cool down on hot days, but also because it can reduce your electricity costs by not having to turn on your air conditioner.
But what do you do when your fan makes noise when it’s running? Just because a fan isn’t working doesn’t mean you have to rush to the hardware store to buy a new one; it just means that our guide to fixing a non-spinning electric fan just became valuable to you… Fix it and you’ll have a quiet fan again! Whether it’s a small fan or a large one, you can follow this tutorial!
Gather your tools
Before any DIY project, you need to make sure you have all the right tools, and repairing a fan is no exception.
Check if it’s plugged in
A fan that stops working doesn’t always mean it’s broken; sometimes it can also indicate that the cord isn’t plugged in properly.
The more you use your fan, the more vibrations from its motor can loosen the plug from an old outlet, so be sure to always check this.
If your fan still doesn’t work but you hear a humming sound, it means the fan is still receiving electricity.
Remove the blade guard
This allows you to better inspect the blades. But first, make sure the fan is turned off and unplugged. It is much easier to repair a fan without blades.
Look for the clips on the sides of the blade guard that hold the two guards together. If you find any, unhook them and remove the front guard. If there are no clips, try turning the circular center of the fan counterclockwise. If this loosens the guard(s), unscrew them.
Clean the fan blades
Although each fan is different, the blades are usually locked in place by a small washer on the shaft, or by the shaft housing itself. You can also look for a latch on the side of the pin that locks the blades in place, depending on your fan model.
Give the blades a good wipe down with a dry cloth while they are still attached (a dusty motor can also be the cause of a non-functioning fan).
Check the electric fan motor
Carefully examine the electric motor after you remove the blades. Look for dust, dirt, scratches, anything that might give you a clue as to why your fan is not working.
Clean the motor area
Using another dry cloth, gently wipe away dirt and dust on and around the motor. If you’re an expert at DIY, you can remove the grill that protects the motor, but keep in mind that doing so may cause you to lose the fan’s warranty.
Warning: Never use water to clean the area around your fan motor. This is the quickest way to risk electrical failure or, worse, to completely destroy your fan.
Lubricate the fan gears
With your hand, turn the front of the fan to see if it turns. If it is sticky or resists turning, it may need lubrication. A spray lubricant is the easiest way to do this, as you simply insert the nozzle into the motor and spray! Be sure to place another clean cloth under the pin to catch any oil drops.
Tip: The more you use your fan, the more the oil/lubricant in the pin wears out, so it’s recommended that you re-oil the pin from time to time.
Warning: Be sure to use enough oil to completely cover the pin, but do not put lubricant on the motor itself.
Spreading the lubricant
Rotate the fan bolts around a section that has already been lubricated while rotating it. When you have completely oiled your shaft, slide the bolt back into place.
Hold the bolt with your non-dominant hand. Then grasp the bolt with your dominant hand and, while rotating the bolt by hand, slide the bolt back and forth over the oiled section. Repeat this procedure for the bolts on the other side of the pin assembly, as this ensures that enough lubricant is inside the bolts that hold the fan pin in rotation.
Tip: If you prefer, you can slide the bolts out and lubricate them individually.
Clean your fan assembly
Since your fan has been disassembled, this is the perfect opportunity to clean all the parts. So, while your fan is still disassembled, take a damp cleaning cloth and gently wipe away any dust and dirt that has accumulated on the fan.
Reassemble your fan
Since all the parts of your fan should now be clean, you can start assembling it again. Be sure to use your instruction manual to make it clear which part fits where.
Test your fan
After all is said and done, if your fan still doesn’t work (and you’ve verified that it’s plugged in and turned on), the best solution is to
- a) call the manufacturer for further assistance, or
- b) return your fan to the store / buy a new one.
Fan Tip: If you need to replace your fan, take the opportunity to consider buying a better model for longevity. It’s a good idea to look for a model with metal blades and a fully enclosed motor housing, which helps keep out dirt, dust and debris. And to avoid future breakdowns, look for a fan with a long-life ball-bearing motor. Sure, these models may cost more up front, but they perform significantly better than fans designed with plain bearing motors, which are typically used for inexpensive fans.