How to Repair a Heater Exhaust Fan

What You'll Need
Soldering gun and solder
Wire Stripper
Shop vacuum

Heater exhaust fans are integral parts of any bathroom. Not only do these fans work to rid bathrooms of offensive odors, but they also suck moisture out of humid areas and vent it outside. If a heater exhaust fan breaks down, moisture can collect and begin warping wood fixtures or worse, seep into the attic and begin mildewing or molding. To keep this potential health risk from happening, make sure the heater exhaust fan is working properly, and if it’s not, try following the steps outlined in this article to fix it.

Step 1 – Check the Circuit Breaker

Many times when an electrical instrument that is hardwired into a house fails to work, it is simply because a power surge of some sort has tripped the circuit breaker that the instrument is connected to. To fix this, simply locate the breaker box, identify the breaker that has been tripped and flip the switch back.

Step 2 – Examine the Wiring

If resetting the circuit breaker fails to fix the fan or the breaker continually trips whenever the fan is activated, there may be a short in the wiring. To fix a short circuit in a fan, first, turn off the power. Once the power is off, disengage the fan from its mount. Carefully examine the wiring looking for damaged wires or wires whose leads may be touching a ground wire or grounded piece of metal. Once the faulty wire has been identified, use a soldering gun to melt the solder at the contacts and remove the wire. Expose the ends of a new piece of wire with a wire stripper and solder it into place. Replace the fan, turn the power back on, and test the fixture

Step 3 – Check the Motor

If the fan will not turn and there is no electrical problem keeping it from doing so, the problem may be within the motor. Pry open the housing located near the motor shaft and look for the small bearings encased within. After confirming that the bearing can spin and rotate freely, remove them and cover them with grease before reassembling the motor. If the fan still will not turn, it may be a defective unit that needs to be replaced. Check the warranty information that came with the fan. Depending on the amount of time the fan has been installed, some companies may replace the fan for free as part of their warranty program.

Step 4 – Check for Blockages

If the fan runs, but it is simply not sucking away the moisture like it should, check the fan for blockages. Begin with the vent cover. Because fans draw air towards them, the vent covers in front of them often collect large amounts of dust and hair. Using a shop vacuum, clean the vent cover as thoroughly as possible. If the problem remains, remove the fan and vacuum the vent behind the fan. Finally, if the fan still does not seem to taking away moisture, check for a blockage at the exterior exhaust port on the outside of the house.