How to Fix Common Problems of Attic Fans?
By Michelle Sonali
Updated: May 23rd, 2019
Attic fans are installed at the roof level of your home to regulate the heat level. As hot air rises to the top, fans push the hot air out and cool down the home by drawing in the fresh air.
They can help you save a lot of money on your energy bills as you may not have to use air conditioning if the weather isn’t too hot. A faulty fan could cost you quite a bit to repair, but you can make up for it as it will cut down your electricity bills.
When you have a fan, you’ll need to inspect it from time-to-time to ensure that it’s working and in good condition. Taking a look at the belt and blades of each fan and checking whether there is dry rot will help you find out if the fan is in a good working condition.
Dry rot is usually present when there are extreme changes in temperature and because of high amounts of moisture present.
Making sure to keep your fans in proper working condition saves you time, money, and the trouble you face trying to cool a very warm house. Factors like these can affect the functioning of the fan cause malfunctions.
Common Attic Fan Problems and How to Fix Them?
You’re probably familiar with the problems that you face with your attic fan. Knowing how to identify the cause of the problem and troubleshoot it could help you repair simple issues on your own, without calling a repairman. Here are the most common problems that homeowners face with fans along with solutions to the problems.
1. Attic Fan Not Turning On
If the attic fan isn’t turning on it could be an electrical issue, a problem with the thermostat, or the motor of the fan that’s not working.
Your attic fan may not be turning on because of an electrical problem like a tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse, or a bad connection. You can diagnose it by plugging other electrical appliances that are working into the same outlet and by plugging the fan into a different power outlet. Here are some tips to help you reset a circuit breaker or fix a blown fuse.
If the fuse and circuit breakers are fine and none of the outlets are working, it could be a problem that is beyond the fan and you will have to call a professional to inspect it.
Attic Fan Thermostat
If your fan has a thermostat, turn the fan on and off bypassing the thermostat. If the fan comes on, you know that the problem lies with the fan thermostat. The cost of repairing the thermostat depends on the cause of the attic exhaust fan problem. Sometimes, it works out more economical to replace the attic fan thermostat instead of repairing it.
Attic Fan Motor
This attic fan motor is the most expensive repair for attic exhaust fans. After you realize that it’s not an electrical or thermostat problem, the chances of it being a problem with the motor are quite high. If the motor isn’t working, you will need an attic fan motor replacement or attic replacement fan.
2. Fan Motor Runs but the Blades Don’t Move
Sometimes you face an issue where the attic fan’s motor comes on but the fan blades don’t move. The cause of the problem could be the belt. You’ll need to take out the outer casing of the fan and look to see if the belt is cracked, sagging, worn out, or broken. If there’s a problem with the belt, replace it with a new one.
3. Little or No Airflow
The fan when running at a high-speed setting, it runs hard or sluggishly. If the fan is running very sluggishly or isn’t producing enough air at the high-speed setting, it could be a problem with the intake or exhaust. You’ll have to check the intake of debris and make sure that the fan is placed high and close to the roof.
4. Attic Fan Making Humming Noise
The attic fan tends to makes a humming noise when it has a few blades and is running at a high-speed setting. In order to get rid of the hum, you need to either operate the fan at a low speed or replace the fan with a new one that has more blades. If you intend on replacing the fan, make sure you run it at the store to test whether it makes noise before you buy it.
5. Attic Fan Making Loud Noise
Attic fans rattling and shaking are quite common and it’s a problem faced by many homeowners who have fans. This happens when the fan doesn’t receive enough air. If you have a closed-off attic, open a window at the other end or install one to solve this problem. This will give the fan the airflow it needs.
Ps- Make sure the window is at least 30 feet away from the fan.
6. Burning Smell from Attic Fan
If you get a burning smell from the exhaust, it’s very likely that there’s a problem with the fan motor. You may need to replace the motor. But before you change the motor, try greasing the gears that turn the blade shaft or try checking whether the belt is slipping. If the problem isn’t solved after this, go ahead and change the motor.
7. Attic Fan Not Turning Off
Some people face the issue of the attic fan not turning off. The reason behind this could be that your thermostat is set at a very low temperature. It could also be because someone hotwired it to the power source. For all of you who are struggling with that question, “how to turn off the attic fan”, there are two ways to do this. You could either go up to the attic and check if the fan has a switch. If yes, turn it off. If the fan in the attic does not have a switch, you will have to turn off the circuit breaker that controls the fan in the attic.
How to Maintain Your Attic Fan to Make Sure it Lasts Through the Summer?
Now that you are aware of why you should maintain your attic fan, all the problems that you could face with it and the remedies to the problems. Here are some tips that can help you keep your attic fans in proper working condition.
Basic Maintenance for Attic Fans
Attic fans don’t really need much maintenance, however, a little bit of cleaning and lubricating always helps prolong the life of any appliance. To give your attic fan the full life that it can have, you’ll need to get it serviced by an HVAC expert once in every few years. Follow these maintenance tips for your attic fan once in every 2-3 years.
Professional Maintenance for Attic Fans
If you want to keep your attic fan in top condition all through summer without having any issues, schedule a seasonal inspection and HVAC maintenance appointment before the hot season begins. From the inspection, you may find out that a part needs to be replaced or that the fan has conked and the entire unit needs to be replaced.
- Belt Drive: If the problem lies with the belt drive, some whole house belt-driven attics fans can be adjusted or fixed. Quite often it works out cheaper to upgrade to a more quiet, energy-efficient model.
- Direct Drive: Attic fans in which the blades are directly connected to the motor usually cannot be repaired due to the lack of availability of parts. Some models that have timers and variable speed switches can be repaired if the problem lies with the switch and not with the motor.
- Attic exhaust fan: Typically, it is impractical to attempt repairs and the best option would be to replace the entire unit.
Home Warranty for Your Attic Fan
As we already said earlier, replacing a motor or the entire unit could turn out expensive. Not just attic fan repairs, even repairs for your refrigerator or HVAC can turn out to be quite a burden on your pocket.
Sometimes appliances and home systems break down when they are kept running all through the day. Such breakdowns are especially common during summers and winters when air conditioning units or furnaces are left on at long stretches.
Some home warranty policies cover attics fans, however, all home warranty companies offer to cover HVAC systems, refrigerators, washers, dryers and other systems and appliances. If your home is covered by a home warranty policy and faces the breakdown of a covered item, you are in luck (in luck for a situation as such)!
Home warranty policies pay for the fan repair or replacement of a list of home systems and appliances that have occurred due to regular wear and tear. That means that if you do your part by cleaning and servicing the units regularly, you won’t have to shell out money to fan repair or replace it.
So, if you have a home warranty policy that covers your fan, you don’t have to worry too much about the cost of fan repair or replacing it when it breaks down.
Your home warranty company will have you covered. Apart from investing in a home warranty policy, you will need to pay a deductible or a service call fee everytime you request for a service.
This deductible usually ranges from $50-$125. It varies from policy to policy. Usually, policies with higher premiums have lower deductibles and vice versa.
A Little More About Home Warranty
Home warranty policies’ cost typically ranges from $350-$500+. It covers a range of home systems and appliances. Most home warranty policies cover around 20 appliances and the appliances covered vary from one home warranty company to another.
The prices of the policies also vary depending on certain factors like the state you live in, the age of the home, the age of the appliances and systems in the home and a few other factors.
You can use Home Maintenance Calculator to get an estimate of what a home warranty policy would cost you.
But before you invest in a home warranty, make sure that you pick a company that is well known for providing home warranty services in your area. Investing in the wrong company will add to your expenses while finding the right one can help you save a considerable amount on repairs and replacements.
The best part about getting a home warranty is that you don’t need to worry about what will happen if any of your appliances break down. You can also get a free home warranty quote from your top picks by providing your ZIP code and the email ID on which you’d like to receive the free quote.
It’s always good to have a few options before you finally decide on the home warranty company that’s perfect for your home.
Common attic problems include pest infestation, mold growth and the problem of excessive moisture which spoils items, appliances and systems in attics.
Attic Fans do cool down a house in less than an hour. The whole house fans takes hot air from the house and moves it up into the attic and out through the attic vents. This is why an attic fan will help ventilate the attic and bring in cool air.
Usually, fan motors last between 10-15 years and when the fan is approaching its replacement age, it is due for a motor replacement.
Attic fans that operate with a thermostat usually automatically turn on the fan based on the temperature that the homeowner sets. Manufacturers and contractors suggest that you set the temperature setting between 100 and 110 degrees F.
In most cases, attic fans are used to cool the attic. If you properly air sea and insulate the attic then you do not need to spend money on a running attic fan. In this case, the attic floor acts as a barrier that keeps your air conditioning in the house for a longer time.
Normally attic fan repairs are anywhere between $200 to $320 to fix the attic fans. The average cost that people pay is usually $270 but repair costs will depend on different factors like the unit and labor costs.
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