How to Fix a Leaking Extractor Fan

Exhaust fan above a range
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Soap and water
Oven cleaner
New filter
Rubber or foil tape

An extractor fan refers to the type of fan used to pull air out of a room in your house and filter it or carry it through a duct to the outside of your home. Also known as an exhaust fan, this can describe the fan in your bathroom or the fan under an extractor or range hood in your kitchen. A leaking extractor fan can be due to a couple of different factors, but once you find the source of the problem, it is generally easy to fix.

Step 1 - Identify the Kind of Extractor Fan

There are two kinds of extractor fans—ductless and ducted. A ducted extractor fan carries the air from a room in your house through a duct and out a vent that leads to the outside. A ductless extractor fan will filter any air that is sucked into it, and after it has been filtered it is released back into the room. You need to determine which kind of extractor fan you’re dealing with, as there are different methods of troubleshooting with both kinds.

Step 2 - Get Started

Whether you have a ducted or ductless extractor fan, you’ll want to remove the fan’s cover to be able to see what is going on inside. If the fan is ducted, you will also need to locate where the ducts are for the fan. Do they go into the attic or through the wall to a vent that leads outside?

Turn off the power to your exhaust fan. Use a screwdriver to remove the extractor fan cover. If the cover or blades of your extractor fan get too dirty, it could allow any cold air to linger and condense on them. You should use a soap and water mixture to clean your cover and the blades at this time. For a kitchen fan that is covered in grease, oven cleaner might work best. This cleaning alone may clear up the problem.

Step 3- Fix the Ductless Extractor Fan

bathroom exhaust fan

If your extractor fan is ductless, it is most likely that the problem is coming from a dirty or damaged filter. Once you remove the fan’s cover, you need to check the filter. If the filter is damaged, it should be replaced. Otherwise, you can use oven cleaner and water to clean the filter. Once the filter is back in place, run the extractor fan to see if it still leaks.

Step 4 - Fix the Ducted Extractor Fan

A ducted extractor fan generally has leaking problems because of the ventilation. If there is a hole or tear in any of the air ducts, it could be allowing moisture in and that could be the source of your problem. Return the electricity to the exhaust fan and turn it on. Follow along the air duct, checking for any leaks. If you notice a leak, fix it with rubber or foil tape.