Attic Fan not working, why?


Old 04-18-07, 03:32 AM
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Attic Fan not working, why?

I have an attic fan that blows the air out. It does not work at all. I found a switch and tried to turn it (currently wires are exposed and no cover or knob are there). I can hear the fan wanting to work, but it won't start. Any suggestions? There is a silver-"battery" looking piece dangling from the fan. Could this be my problem. I am familiar with basic wiring, but not when extra parts are thrown into the problem. Any help or advice is appreciated.
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Old 04-18-07, 03:36 AM
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If it sounds like it is trying to run, it may need oil. If it does, there will be oil cups at each end of the motor near the shaft. But those motors are usually controlled by a thermostat, the thing hanging. They will not run below 90deg, so that could be the reason.
Old 04-18-07, 04:29 AM
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Is there a special oil I need to use, or will WD-40 work? Will I harm the fan if in a few months I turn it on and leave it on? Or should I just turn it all the way on to get it working again and turn the dial down until it shuts off and leave it there. Do they sell the thermostats individually? If I can save $90+, that would be great. Thanks for the info!!
Old 04-18-07, 10:11 AM
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Answers to your questions:
Don't use WD-40; it is not an oil. Use SAE-20 oil, available in any hardware store. You probably won't harm the fan, but it will waste power running when it isn't needed. Set it to come on around 90-95 degrees. Yes, you can buy new thermostats for attic fans.
That silver battery-like thing is probably a capacitor. It is usually attached to the motor. Not sure why it is hanging loose. You might be ahead to simply replace the motor, since it sounds like someone else was having trouble with it, and had things apart before.
Old 04-18-07, 05:19 PM
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attic fan

A few pointers, as I have replaced a few.

1. Most cannot be oiled. Most likely motor is toast as they only last 7-10 years.

2. Usually controlled by a thermostat and/or humidistat.

3. Getting just the motor is near impossible. Actually cheaper to buy complete unit (shroud, cover, and motor with fan blade connected).

4. Even if you could get just the motor the shaft size is usually different and fan blade won't fit shaft. Also the new fan blade most likely won't fit the shroud you have as they have changed the pitch on the newer blades to pull more air.

5. If you get the complete unit the newer ones have the thermostat and in some cases humidstat connected to the motor which may eliminate problems with yours if they have been tampered with.
Old 04-18-07, 05:20 PM
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I agree Andrew, that is most likely a capacitor, and that fan motor could be capacitor start. If this is the case and the capacitor is bad all the oil in the world wont get things going.
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