It May Be Time To Replace Your Bathroom Fan
The bathroom fan vents hot, moist air to keep the room comfortably dry. By controlling the humidity levels, it also prevents mildew and other biological growth throughout the space.
Because it operates in an ever-changing, moist environment, problems can arise quickly that make the fixture run at a less than optimal level.
Motor Stops Running
At some point, you may flick the switch and not have the bathroom fan turn on. This means either the motor has burned out or the electrical power to the motor has been compromised. You can check the power by using a voltage tester to the wall switch. Also make sure the breaker switch hasn’t been tripped, and is in the “on” position. This means power is getting to the fan, and the motor is most likely burned out and in need of replacing.
Grinding or Squeaking Motor
Sometimes you turn on a bathroom fan, and it grinds or makes a squeaking noise. This means it may have dry bearings. The moisture from the bathroom environment slowly washes away the original lubrication. A drop or two of bearing oil at top and bottom of the bearings will solve the problem and keep the fan operating smoothly.
Does your bathroom fan seem to be getting weaker over time? Test it by holding a piece of tissue near the grill that covers the fan. Does it hold the tissue in place? If the suction is minimal, it may need to be cleaned. Start by cleaning the grill and use a brush to wipe away lint and other buildup around the slats. You can also remove the fan motor and thoroughly clean the fan blades. After reassembly, check again for adequate suction.
If you determine that your fan has quit pulling air through the system, the exhaust duct may be clogged. A straight duct may be able to be cleaned by hand. There are also specialty heads made for cleaning curves and bends. Using a wet-dry vacuum, clean out the ductwork and give the system a thorough cleaning. Reassemble the fan and check for suction. If it still doesn’t work, it’s time for replacement.