Service & Repair

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Some tips and solutions to common problems at the bottom of the page.

There is a listing of some simple do it yourself repairs in the FAQs section below.

We service both types of attic fans: whole house fans and attic exhaust fans

Maintenance is usually not necessary for either a whole house fan or an attic exhaust fan. Sometines a whole house fan will have a motor that has oil ports and is designed to be lubricated every few years. An attic exhaust fan almost never will. In any case, it is usually impossible or impractical to access these ports in the attic and are best left alone.  Cleaning the shutter and blades every few years is often the only thing that needs to be done.


IF YOU WANT REPAIR SERVICE: It would be helpful, although not essential, for us to know the following: Nature of the problem:  Humming noise? Noisy? Doesn't pull enough air? Does shutter open?, Etc.

1. Type of fan: whole house attic fan or  attic exhaust fan. (A whole house fan is turned on manually and always has a shutter in the ceiling that opens and closes when the fan goes on and off. An attic exhaust fan is usually on the roof itself and looks like a mushroom or hidden inside the attic on the end wall and goes on and off automatically and does not have a ceiling shutter.) We usually simply replace the entire unit. Repairs are generally impractical.

For Whole House fans:

2. What is the size of fan? The size is the diameter of the circle formed by the fan blades, usually 24", 30" or 36".

3. Is the fan blade connected directly to the motor (direct drive) or does the motor spin the blade by using a belt (belt drive)? Direct drive fans have the motor directly in the center of the blade, either above or below it. Belt drive fans have the motor positioned to the side, not directly over the center of the blade.

4. Type of wall controls: timer? 1, 2 or 3 speed? Variable speed?

5. Brand or model of fan. This can usually only be determined by checking out the label on the fan itself, in the attic. Nice to know but difficult to obtain. Not essential. 

Belt Drive: Sometimes an whole house, belt drive fan can be repaired or adjusted to run properly. At other times our customers find it cheaper to upgrade the older model with a quiet, more efficient fan.

Direct Drive: For most direct drive whole house fans, parts are not available and are not repairable. These are fans where the blade is directly connected to the motor. If this fan has a timer and/or a variable speed switch, repairs are sometimes possible if the fault lies in one of the switches and not the motor.

Attic exhaust fans (power ventilators), we usually simply replace the entire unit. Repairs are generally impractical.

If your attic fan requires service, call us at 303 695 7911 for a free consultation, or complete the form on the Contact Page, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.




FAN REPAIR FAQs

1. I need a new belt. Where can I get one? 

 Ace Hardware & most automotive supply stores. Measure the old one or bring it in.

2. My fan just hums. Do I need a new motor? 

Solution 1: 

Did the belt break and the fan motor is just spinning? If so, buy a new belt (see above)

Solution 2: 

Open up the shutter by hand, being careful not to damage it. 

With a stick, ruler, broom handle, or your hand, carefully spin the blade.

Spin the blade in the proper direction, with the lower part of the blade scooping the air upwards.
Remove stick or hand & have someone turn on the fan while the blade is still spinning.
The fan should start up & run.
If fan does not run you probably need a new motor.
If the fan does run it means the motor is ok but the starting switch did not snap into the correct start position. This is due to the springs having lost some of their pull or dirt or corrosion in the motor. If the fan refuses to start again consistently try the following:


With fan off, go into the attic.

 Spray some lubricant (WD-40 or similar)  into the air ports at the top & bottom of the air holes in the fan housing for about 3 to 5  seconds. 

Tap the motor a few times with the handle end of a hammer or piece of wood, as if you were swatting a bug. 

Try it now. If it doesn't work you need a new motor.

3. My fan won't turn on & makes no noise at all.

Probably an electrical problem, but where?  

Does the motor have a bright red RESET button on it somewhere, the size of a dime? With the fan switch turned OFF push that button in AS HARD AS YOU CAN. If you did not hear a distinct CLICK, press it again, only harder. If it does click, then your motor overheated and will now work.

a. Is there a switch somewhere that controls electricity going to the fan?

b. Check the main breakers

c. Check GFIC breakers, usually in the bathroom or garage..

d. Carefully disconnect the timer & attach the wires together.

e. Carefully disconnect the switch & attach the wires together.

f. Test the motor for electricity

If you are getting electricity to the motor & it still does not run, you need a new motor.

4. Fan turns on but then shuts itself off unexpectedly. Won't start again for several minutes, hours, days

If the fan turns on but then shuts itself off then will not start for a while:
My guess is that your motor is overheating. There is an internal shut off in the motor if it gets too hot. When the motor cools down, the switch resets so that it will run again.
There are many reasons the thermal sensor might trip.
1. It may actually not be overheating, but the sensor is tripping prematurely. Solution: replace motor
2. Motor is overheating for the following reasons:
a. bad motor bearing; spin motor by hand & note if it spins free or feels sluggish or makes grinding sound: if it does not spin freely, replace motor
b. bad fan shaft bearing: replace fan; same as above but spin fan blade by hand
c. not enough attic ventilation so motor is laboring too hard: try opening the attic entry hatchway, place plastic on floor to catch any debris that shoots out of attic & run fan to see if motor shuts off. If motor runs without shutting off, you need adititional attic ventilation
d. everything seems ok but motor still shuts down: replace motor



5. My fan works but it's gotten noisy. 

If fan has always been noisy then try opening the attic hatchway & listen to see if sound is better. If so, add venting. If sound is the same then a poorly engineered was installed. Replace the fan with a good one and add sufficient venting.

If fan was once quiet, but has gotten noisy, see below:

Have you had roofing or siding work done? This might have blocked the roof, gable or soffit ventilation. Try opening the attic hatch to test.

It makes the same sound as  tires going over a rutted highway. A: Your belt is cracking. Replace it (see #1).

Other sounds: Grinding, metal on metal sounds.

A.  See if there are metal shavings around the bearings. If so, the bearings are worn out & you probably need a new fan.

A. See if the pulley has shifted and fallen so that it rubs against the housing of the motor or the fan itself. If so, readjust the pulley position and tighten set screws. Check for loose nuts, bolts & screws throughout. If screws or bolts have come loose on the fan, it is an indication that there is not enough ventilation and the fan is vibrating itself to pieces.

6. I have a direct drive fan and it's very noisy.

A. There fans are usually noisy from the beginning. Other than checking the venting by opening the attic entry hatch, there is not much to be done. Sometimes it is the shutter that is really noisy, but replacing it is normally not possible due to the fact that each company makes a different size shutter for the same size fan. Try injecting a very heavy duty grease into the shutter rivets. It might help. 

Best solution: replace with a good fan and good shutter.

7. My shutter won't close/open. 

Did you open enough windows? If you have opened as much windows as the shutter size in the ceiling, try the following: Standing on the chair, carefully open the shutter slats & look around for a spring that regulates the shutter weight. If there is one, adjust it by putting it into a different tension hole. Pull it tighter if the shutter is not opening, looser if it's not closing. 

If the problem persists and the shutter is not opening enough, consider adding more ventilation to your attic.

Is there debris in the shutter? Was the shutter painted shut?

If the problem persists and the shutter is not closing, consider cleaning and spraying a small bit of lubricant on the pivot rivets.

8. My shutter is damaged. Can I get a new one? Can it be fixed?

The shutters cannot usually be repaired. Every company made the same size fans, but made different shutter sizes! In order to replace an existing shutter, you need to find one the same size or smaller. 

A larger shutter means you will need to remove the fan and recut and reframe the opening.

A too small shutter means you will have some ceiling repair in your future, but it is still easier than reframing larger.

If you want to contact us for a replacement shutter, we need the following information:

a. Size of the hole in the ceiling

b. Is the hole completely clear or does a ceiling joist run through it.

c. Does the original shutter sit flush with the ceiling or does it drop down several inches as a box housing?

9. My shutters are very noisy. What can I do?

If your shutter rattles shakes or vibrates you can try the following:
1. Open the attic hatch that leads into the attic.
2. Place a tarp or piece of plastic on the floor since you might get some insulation blowing out of the hatch.
3. Turn on the fan with the hatchway open & listen to the sound of the shutter.
4. If the shutter quiets down then you do not have enough attic ventilation. 
The air that the fan is blowing into
the attic does not have enough opening (ventilation) to exit the attic. 
The air pressure in the attic increases and the shutter rattles.
5. Solution: add more attic ventilation. You should have as much attic ventilation that equals the size of the shutter hole in the ceiling.
6. If the shutter does not quiet down then you have a cheap shutter. It is almost impossible to find a good quality shutter of the same size.

Replacing the shutter with one that does not rattle usually requires a complete reframing of the shutter hole and reinstallation of the whole house fan.



10. I have a roof mount attic exhaust fan and the top is damaged or just blew away. Can I get it fixed.

No, there are no replacement parts for these fans. Just replace it with a new one.








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