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Bathroom fans are one of those household fixtures that everyone tends to forget about until something goes wrong. Yet they pack a lot of punch in a small space by:

  • Directing excess moisture and unpleasant odors out of the bathroom.
  • Helping prohibit the growth of mold.
  • Being placed on timers that shut the fan off automatically.

Some even have built in lights that can be dimmed. Like all electric devices, bathroom fans eventually break or malfunction from continual use. If you have a broken bathroom fan, it may be repairable. If not, a replacement is in order. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Broken Bathroom Fan Diagnosis

hands installing bathroom fan lid

You may be able to determine your bathroom fan’s issues yourself. Some are easily fixed; others may require the services of an electrician.

  • Dead motor or switch. Try removing the exhaust fan cover and unplugging the motor from its outlet. Plug in another small appliance like a hair dryer and see if it turns on. If it doesn’t, then your wall switch is bad. If it does, the switch is fine, but your fan motor is shot.
  • Dirty fan housing or bad blower wheel. Does the fan make a loud humming noise when it’s running? It might just need a good cleaning, or the blower wheel may be going bad. Try using a vacuum with a small brush hose to clear any dust out of the fan. If it still hums, it’s probably the blower wheel.
  • Vent pipe issues. All bathroom fans should use a vent pipe to move moist air to the outdoors; venting into the basement or attic can cause mold to grow. When a fan’s vent pipe is pinched or plugged it’s not able to remove humid air from the bathroom.

Repair or Replace a Broken Bathroom Fan

If you try these DIY fixes but nothing seems to make a difference, it might be time to replace the unit. Even if you manage to fix an older fan it may be worth replacing with a newer model that has more features and runs more efficiently and quietly.

If you want to try and fix a broken bathroom fan yourself, keep in mind that working with electrical circuits requires knowing how to shut down the specific circuit that powers the fan. If you’re unsure or wary of working with electricity, it’s best to call in an experienced, licensed electrician to safely do the job for you.

Call in the Pros

Spyrka Electric has years of experience in repairing and replacing broken bathroom fans as well as other electrical devices throughout your Sonoma County home. To learn more about all our electrical services including residential lighting installation, code corrections, and panel upgrades, contact us by phone, email, or online.

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