Five Reasons Your Ceiling Fan Isn’t Working

Ceiling fans are a great addition to almost any living space or bedroom in your home, but they do have their share of issues. After a while, a fan may stop working and you might not be able to figure out why. Sure, sometimes the issue is obvious, but other times you might be left to scratch your head and wonder why a fan that worked just a short time ago now doesn’t seem to want to run at all.

To help you diagnose your problem and take action properly, here are five reasons why a fan might stop working and what needs to be done to fix these particular issues.

Motor Failure

If your ceiling fan won’t turn on at all, will only work at slow speeds, or won’t run on all speed settings, then the problem you are most likely dealing with is a dying motor. All electric motors will eventually wear out, and while brushless motors tend to last far longer than brushed ones, even the most robust and durable motor will eventually quit.

Motors typically fail because the electrical coils in the stator have worn out, melted, heated up, or shorted out. As you force more and more current through these coils, they are more prone to heating up, and that increases the amount of wear they sustain. Eventually, the motor just gives out and stops running entirely. In some cases, you might be able to replace the motor in your fan, but this typically isn’t practical (nor is it really advised). Most of the time, you are simply better off replacing the ceiling fan entirely, and that could be a good thing. With advancements in efficiency and technology, a new fan could save you even more energy and offer you new features that you didn’t have before.

Dead Remote Controller Battery

Many fans have a remote control to make it easy to control the speed and turn the lights on and off. Does your fan refuse to turn on when you press any of the speed buttons? The problem might not be with the fan, but with the remote itself. Remote batteries die, and because they typically require such a small amount of electricity, they typically die with little to no warning. Your remote might work just fine one day and then be completely non-responsive the next.

It’s pretty easy to check this issue: open up the back of your remote and replace the battery or batteries with fresh replacements (most remotes run on AA or AAA cells). It’s amazing how often this simple change restores a fan to working order.

Improper Switch

Fans are often controlled by switches on walls, with different switches controlling the light and the fan mechanism independently. However, in an era of smart homes and Wi-Fi-connected switches, you might be tempted to see if you can hook your ceiling fan to one of these switches in order to adjust the fan speed from your phone. Not all fans are capable of doing this, and not all smart switches are set up to control fans. Be sure to look carefully when doing your research and find a smart switch that is set up for fan control in order to ensure compatibility. You might also be able to hook your fan circuit to a smart switch with a dimmer function, but not all dimmer switches can do this, either. If you have any questions, contact a professional who can guide you through your purchasing decision to make sure you pick up the right choice.

Improper Lightbulbs

Most ceiling fans will work with just about any lightbulb you install in them. However, not all ceiling fans can offer total functionality with all types of lightbulbs. For example, if you install dimmable lightbulbs in a fan that is not wired to a proper dimming switch, then you won’t be able to adjust the light brightness. Likewise, installing non-dimmable bulbs will render any dimming switches completely useless. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs are almost universally incapable of dimming, and therefore they will either badly flicker, fail to turn on at all, or consistently stay at their brightest intensity when you try to operate them with a dimmer switch.

Tripped Breaker

Finally, if your ceiling fan won’t seem to turn on at all, whether by switch or by remote, then the problem is almost certainly with your electrical connection. The most common electrical issue is a tripped circuit breaker. If you have recently been using a large amount of electricity in the room where that particular fan is located, then the breaker may have tripped and shut off without you realizing it. Head out to your electrical panel, look for any shut-off breakers, and reset them. Then try your fan again—if the lights turn on and the fan powers up, then you will know you have found the problem.

Do you need a broken ceiling fan repaired? Are you looking to install a new fan in your home? The team at Lightning Bug Electric can help! Call us at (404) 471-3847 today.