Repairing an Automatic Kitchen Exhaust Fan Cover

two people discussing a kitchen exhaust fan
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Socket set
Old rags
Plumbers snaking brush
Plastic or glass pan

Repairing a kitchen exhaust fan cover is not complicated and can prolong the life of your exhaust fan. An improperly functioning or poorly maintained exhaust fan cover in your kitchen will result in poor air filtration, and the removal of smoke, smells, and vapors that are created by a variety of cooking methods. Repairing the exhaust fan cover doesn't take long and only a few basic tools and materials are needed. This is also a good time to maintain the fan itself, as the fan is what does all the work. Here is a list of necessary items to complete the job:

Step 1 - Remove the Fan

The first step is to remove the fan from the vent hood all together. First, shut off the power supply to the exhaust fan at the circuit breaker for the home. Test to make sure the power is off by trying to turn the fan on. Once assured the power is off, you can remove the fan. Fill the plastic or glass pan (do not use metal) with hot soapy water and add one half cup of ammonia

Disengage the clips securing the fan filter and remove the filter, placing it in the soapy ammonia mixture. Remove the fan by unplugging it, then removing screws or fasteners. Set it aside. After the filter has been soaking for about fifteen minutes, remove from the water and scrub away any remaining grime with an old, soft toothbrush.

Step 2 - Clean the Exhaust Fan Cover

modern steel and wood kitchen

Tie a rag soaked in the water and ammonia mixture to the end of the plumbers snaking brush and swab out the inside of the exhaust ductwork. Continue to clean it out until no more residue or dirt is visible. Clean the exterior vent cover as well with the water and ammonia mixture, making sure the flapper located inside the vent cover moves freely and is cleaned of grease and grit. The flapper allows the hot, moist, and smoky air to escape to the exterior of the home, and if it doesn't open, the exhaust will not work.

Step 3 - Clean the Exhaust Fan

Clean all the moving parts of the fan itself, being careful not to get the electrical components, such as the motor wet. Carefully clean the fan blades, and bend back into shape (careful here, if you break one you will have to replace the entire fan unit) using your fingers or a small set of pliers. Oil all the moving parts, wiping away any excess oil.

Step 4 - Reinstall Exhaust Fan

Reinstall the exhaust fan and the filter in the opposite order they were removed. Make sure the fan is securely fastened back into the unit with the screws that were originally removed. Insert the fan filter and secure with the clips.