A ceiling fan is a great thing. In the summer, it provides a cool breeze to make you more comfortable. In the winter, it forces the warm down where it can be useful to you. Unfortunately, a broken ceiling fan is nothing more than a safety hazard. Repairing it will not only ensure that you are safe, it will also make your home more comfortable.
Check the Switch to Ensure the Connections Are Solid
The first step in any electrical project is to turn the power to the area off from the breaker. An electrical shock is a quick way to spend your Saturday afternoon in the emergency room, and just flipping the switch in the room won't do it-- you must turn the power off at the breaker. Once that is done, trying to turn on one of the lights in the same room will help confirm that the breaker is labeled correctly.
Once you are sure that the power is off it is time to get access to the internal working of the fan. Before you tear into the internal workings of the fan, take a look at the electrical connections. If the wires are loose or have come off, then try resecuring them and see if that resolves the issue. If your fan is controlled by a wall switch, then you should repeat the procedure on the switch. If the switch is never able to turn on, then it doesn't matter how good the wiring in the ceiling is.
Replace the Motor
If the electrical work isn't the problem, then the motor has likely gone out, or the flywheel is starting to break down. The flywheel is a rubber disk that helps to connect the fan to the motor and stabilize the whole assembly. Either of these two items can cause issues with fan operation and are easy to replace.
If you need to install one of these parts, your owner's manual will be a good resource for you. In the likely event you no longer have the manual, check online or contact the manufacturer. You need to be sure that you are getting the right part for your ceiling fan. Once you have the part, the manual will be your best guide for how to install the piece properly. You can usually install a flywheel while the fan is still attached to the ceiling, but you may have to bring it down to the floor in order to get sufficient access to replace a motor.
Install the Fan Back Into the Ceiling
Now that everything is as it should be, it is time to put everything back together. If you had to bring the fan down, reconnect it to its support box. Regardless of whether you brought the fan down to the floor or left it up in the ceiling, now is the time to tighten all the screws and bolts that secure the fan to the joist above. Only a secure and balanced fan won't wobble, and since this is your best opportunity to tighten those bolts, you may as well take advantage of it.
Replace any wires you had to disconnect to work on the mechanical components and turn the circuit on temporarily to give the fan a try. It should be able to run smoothly without the decorative cover, so you can ensure that you really are done before you replace it. Once you've got everything up and running, turn the circuit back off for a few more minutes while you put the cover back on and put away your ladder.
If you aren't comfortable fixing your ceiling fan, don't be afraid to call in a professional residential electrician. Electrical projects can cause major problems if they aren't done correctly, and having a ceiling fan fall can cause serious injury to you or your loved ones. Far better to hire someone to do it properly than to risk a bad outcome from you DIY attempt.Share