Diagnoising Dead Ceiling Fan

Old 11-17-10, 04:23 AM
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Diagnoising Dead Ceiling Fan

I recently moved into an apartment, and it being a 90 year old building, there have been some issues (of course). Most of the issues I've been able to tackle solo, due to moderate critical thinking skills, but this issue might be a little more dangerous than the other repairs.

To make a long story short, the ceiling fan in my room does not work. The light switch does not respond, the fan won't turn on, and the light won't come on (tried changing the bulb). This leads me to the conclusion that there are two possible answers; either the wiring from the switch to the fan is faulty, or the fan is broken. I am leaning toward the fan being broken due to the fact that the last person to live in this room told me that the fan was unbalanced and shook quite violently.

I am aware that this issue should be diagnosed by a licensed electrician, but our maintenance person is the landlordís junkie son, and I really don't want him in my room.

I more or less know what has to be done to test the wiring. I have a multi-meter, so that should complete the first step of the equation. I just have a few questions:

1. Which setting on the multi-meter am I going to need to use to test for faulty wiring?

2. Will the power need to be off in my room to avoid unnecessary risk of shock, or do the juices need to be flowing?

3. If there does not need to be power, should I flip the breaker off, or just the switch?

4. Which contact needs to go to which wire to test this? There is only one switch, so the guess work is taken out of the equation.

5. Is there any way to test the fan with the multi-meter, or do I need to hook the fan up to a power source?

6. If the fan does need to be connected to a power source, would a car battery be too much for most household fans?

I appreciate any help that this community can offer. I really need to get this problem solved, because I am not able to sleep without a fan.

Thanks ,


P.S. To the Mods: I was not sure if this post should go in this section, or in Electrical. If it belongs in Electrical, just shoot me an email and delete this post.

Last edited by Binsky734; 11-17-10 at 04:25 AM. Reason: Spell Check
Old 11-17-10, 07:31 AM
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Unfortunately since this is an apartment you need to go thru the landlord and have them hire a licensed person for liability reasons. Perhaps you could ask if they would allow you to hire someone and take the price out of the rent.
Old 11-17-10, 07:44 AM
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As you said legally you can't touch the wiring in the apartment. If you feel that the owner will use an unqualified person to fix it send him a registered letter explaining your concern. If he fails to respond send him a second letter that you are hiring an electrician and will deduct the cost from the rent. Give him time to respond. I am not a lawyer and could be totally wrong but that is how I would handle it.

If the fan was vibrating it probably needs to be replaced. A little maybe it could be balanced but a lot could mean bearings or other problem. It could also mean a loose or improperly mounted box. As to why it doesn't work my first guess would be a connection at the fan vibrated loose. Bottom line you need an electrician or new apartment.

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