Bathroom Fan Repair

A dirty bathroom fan and grill. Bathroom fans that share a home with pets tend to get this amount of dirt, dust, and dander.
A dirty bathroom fan and grill. Bathroom fans that share a home with pets tend to get this amount of dirt, dust, and dander.

Dear Mr. Electrician:  The exhaust fan in my bathroom stopped working after making some exceptional noise for several weeks.  Does the fan need to be replaced or can it be repaired?  Is this something that a homeowner can do?

Answer:  In many homes it is possible that a homeowner can fix hers or his own bathroom exhaust fan.  Quite a few fans were manufactured for a simple and fast installation by the original installer.  Consequently the repair can be almost as simple.

A simple bathroom exhaust fan motor with the impeller blade attached. This particular fan motor is held in place with two screws supporting th bracket. The electricity is connected with a plug.
A simple bathroom exhaust fan motor with the impeller blade attached. This particular fan motor is held in place with two screws supporting the bracket (Note the pear shaped slots). The electricity is connected with a plug.  The housing is already grounded from the power supply, so when the motor gets mounted securely, ground continuity is maintained.

The key to a successful bathroom fan repair is getting the correct replacement parts.  Many are still available, but identifying the correct parts can be a chore.

When your bathroom fan was manufactured, a model number was labeled inside of the housing or the fan motor support bracket.  (Note: This is not the number on the motor itself)  The model number may be stamped into the metal or there may be a label glued inside somewhere.  I remember having to repair a customer’s fan that did not have a model number anywhere.  I recognized the brand and called the customer service telephone line.  I described the fan and the person at the factory was able to give me the correct model number and also sold me the correct parts.  After I installed the new parts I made a point of writing the model number inside of the housing with a paint pen.

A bathroom exhaust fan duct connection in the attic.
A bathroom exhaust fan duct connection in the attic.

I wrote a book about repairing bathroom fans.  “Almost Everything You Need to Know to Repair a Bathroom Exhaust Fan in Your Home” is available as a free download by clicking here.

Replacing the bathroom fan motor can be just a few simple steps that a novice can complete.  You need to find the correct replacement parts.  My book can help with that.

I also suggest tools that may be needed, in addition to safety information.
In my book I list the contact information for most of the bathroom exhaust fan manufacturers and other suppliers of bath fan replacement parts.

As an electrician I have installed, replaced, and repaired many models of bathroom fans. There are certain factors that contribute to the optimum performance of a bathroom exhaust fan.  There are also a few things that a homeowner can do to maintain a bathroom fan and keep it running for as long as possible.  One important tip is to be sure to obtain the correct replacement parts when attempting a repair.

Many bathroom exhaust fans can be serviced by a novice with a few simple steps.

With all of the fans that I have repaired, one common problem was prevalent in all of them.

“Almost Everything You Need to Know to Repair a Bathroom Exhaust Fan In Your Home”

A Total of 19 Free Easy-to-Read Pages divided below:

Safety – When you work around your home, you take some of the same risks as a professional.  You need to protect yourself.
Diagnose – Things to check for optimum bath fan performance.
Identify – The correct model number and specifications for your fan.
Repair – How to repair your bath fan.
Prevention – Get the longest life from your bathroom fan.
Tools – Tools and materials that may be needed.
Parts – Where to obtain the correct replacement parts.
Glossary – Terms related to bath fan installations.