8 Reasons Your Ceiling Fan Is Not Working and How To Fix It

There is nothing worse than a ceiling fan that stops working in the middle of the night in the summer months. Luckily, a lot of issues are pretty simple to fix and you can fix them instantly. Unluckily, the situation is not the same always, in some cases, you may have to call a professional electrician to assist you.

why ceiling fan is not working

Here is the list of 8 reasons why your ceiling fan is not working:

  1. Your motor has overheated.
  2. Your circuit breaker has tripped.
  3. Your wiring has disconnected.
  4. Your fan’s pull chain switch is broken.
  5. Your wall switch is broken.
  6. Your reverse switch is neutral.
  7. Your fan remote has run out of battery.
  8. The remote and the receiver are not at the same frequencies.

As you have seen in the list above, there are a lot of possible reasons why your ceiling fan suddenly stopped working. This guide will help you to know why these problems have occurred and how to find out the culprit. We’ll also find some ways to fix the issues.

#1. Your Motor Has Overheated

Overheating is the most common reason why fans stop working. Overheating can be caused by too much rust or dust.

With ceiling fans being so high up, we can easily forget to remove the dust during our cleaning. If you try to see on the top of your blades, you will be astonished to see how much dust you will find.

Accumulation of dust can burden the blades as well as the motor and it will also prevent them to function smoothly. If dust clogs up the filters, it will restrict the motor from cooling down, which will cause overheating.

Another issue could be rust. Rust in the motor can seize its function. It can happen when the unit is exposed to drops of water, either from cleaning or rain. The salty air can also rust if the unit is installed near the ocean or in high humidity areas.

You can avoid dust and rust accumulation in the future by cleaning the motor and the blades every few months. In addition, you should add a couple of drops of oil to all moving parts, as lubrication is very important to avoid its seizing.

If you are living in a high humidity area or living near to the ocean, I definitely suggest Honeywell ceiling fans. They have designed their ceiling fans for outdoor use and the material is less likely to rust and corrosion.

Recommended: Can you replace a ceiling fan motor?

How To Fix It

Even if your fan may not be functional once you turn it on, the fan lights should be turned on, and you may be able to hear a humming noise. To examine if your motor has burnt out, switch off the circuit breaker of the fan and remove the motor housing. If the motor has burnt out, it will be melted and you will be able to see it.

Unfortunately, changing the motor is the only solution for a fan that has overheated and caused a motor failure. You need to purchase the same that was in your unit. The good news is, it is not very costly.

#2. Your Circuit Breaker Has Tripped

If your ceiling fan suddenly stops working, one of the first steps is to examine the circuit breaker. It may seem to be simple, your ceiling fan may have stopped working because it is no longer getting current because of a tripped or switched-off circuit breaker.

A tripped circuit breaker is not uncommon in many households. It happens due to the usage of too many appliances and they can overload it. If that is the case, you need to unplug a few appliances from the circuit.

Your circuit breaker will trip due to the safety, stopping the flow of electric power and leaving the circuit inactive. This process helps to prevent damage to the wires, overheating, or even fires. 

How To Fix It

To fix a tripped circuit breaker, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Go to your electrical panel to examine your circuit breaker. 
  2. If the switch is halfway down on the panel of your ceiling fan’s circuit, to switch it off, push it entirely down. 
  3. After turning it off, push it back up to restart the circuit. 

If your circuit breaker trips repeatedly, shift your appliances onto other circuits. A circuit that trips often show that your circuit get too much electrical demand on it.

#3. Your Wiring Has Disconnected

I have no idea about you, but when it is summer season, my fan runs from the morning until night and at the highest speed. This continuous working of the fan may cause a loosing of wire inside the motor housing of the fan.

A loose wire will restrict the electricity from entering into your fan or its lights, even if you have turned on it from the wall.

Recommended: What could cause a ceiling fan to spark?

How To Fix It

Here are the steps you need to follow to fix your wiring that has disconnected:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker (push the switch completely down) before touching the ceiling fan at the electrical panel. You may need to get an extra helping hand to help you with the next step.
  2. Unscrew the motor housing from the ceiling, and lower down the unit. 
  3. Examine each wire’s connection. 
  4. If all the wires are correctly connected, you have to unscrew the electrical box affixed to the ceiling to untuck the wires.
  5. If there is a disconnected wire, you need to twist it back into its matching wire.
  6. Over the joining ends, tighten the wire nut. 
  7. Put the wires back into the electrical box and re-mount the fan onto the ceiling.
  8. Switch on the power supply and test your fan.

If your fan is still not working or you are not confident enough to deal with electrical wires, call a professional to check it. You should keep your security as your priority.

#4. Your Fan’s Pull Chain Switch Is Broken

If the pull chain of your fan won’t pull down, if you pulled it too hard and it broke off in the housing, your ceiling fan will not turn on when you are pulling them, in this case, you have to replace the pull chain switch.

How To Fix It

Just keep in mind that before you getting in touch with any part of your ceiling fan, switch off the circuit breaker first from your electrical panel to turn off the current and keep yourself safe from shock. This is an ideal and important step to get started and could make a difference between life and death.

After unscrewing the unit, open its housing, you will see all the wires and the pull chain switch too. After that, you should follow the steps below to fix your broken pull chain switch of the fan:

  1. Get rid of the mounting screw on the side of the housing and pop the switch out of the housing.
  2. Unscrew the wire nuts to disconnect the connecting wires from the switch.
  3. Your pull chain switch will now be disconnected as well as removed.
  4. You can take the pull chain switch along with you to the hardware store to get the same and buy the exact match to replace it with.
  5. Match the color of the fan wires to your new switch’s wires and screw the wire nuts onto the tips to connect them.
  6. To strengthen every wire connection, wrap a piece of tape around each wire nut.
  7. Take the new chain and move it through the hole on the side of the housing.
  8. Screw the mounting screw again.
  9. Screw the fan up again, switch on the circuit breaker to test your fan.

#5. Your Wall Switch Is Broken

If you’ve switched on your ceiling fan and the fan is not working, the problem cannot be with the fan at all. The issuecan be with the wall switch. 

In this case, you need to open up the switch on your wall that controls the power of your fan, ON/OFF. If you do not want to do that and uncomfortable with the wires, make a call to your electrician. You can get the job done from the electricians at a reasonable price.

Recommended: Does a ceiling fan with remote need a wall switch?

How To Fix It

To fix the broken wall switch, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Access the electrical panel to switch off the power to the room that the fan switch is in.
  2. Take off the faceplate by unscrewing it.
  3. Pull the switch out after unscrewing it.
  4. Disconnect one wire at a time and change it with the matching wire from the new switch. Connect the wires using a splice connector and twist the wires into each other. Disconnecting the wire from the old switch and adding it to the new one before going on to the next one helps to avoid confusion and incorrect wiring.
  5. The sticker on your new switch will also help you to determine which side is the top and which is the bottom.
  6. Stick the wires into the hole in the wall, line your new switch up and screw it in.
  7. Screw your new faceplate too.
  8. Switch on your power supply back and test your switch.

#6. Your Reverse Switch Is in Neutral

Plenty of ceiling fans contain the reverse switch function. If you do not know if your does have it, switch off your fan, climb up your step ladder, and have a look. 

The reverse switches will be found on the side or top of the fan’s motor housing. if your ceiling fan contains a remote control, the reverse switch may on it.

It is useful to have the reverse switch function. Most people typically set their ceiling fans to move in an anticlockwise direction in summer as this rotation of the blades keeps the room cool. When you push the reverse switch in the opposite direction, it will change the direction of the blades to clockwise, which throws warm air down from the ceiling. The flip of a switch can give rise to warmth and can reduce your energy bills.

If you have put the reverse switch on neutral, your fan will not rotate. You or another member of your family may have done it accidentally while cleaning the fan. The good news is, you can fix it quickly.

How To Fix It

To get your fan to the direction whether it is clockwise or anticlockwise, just push the reverse switch completely forward or back to get it into the desired rotation.

#7. Your Fan Remote Has Run Out of Battery

Is it too simple problem for you? Believe, me, when you are worried about why your ceiling fan is not working, you will forget the basics.

All ceiling fans do not come with a remote, but if your fan does have it and your fan was working the last time you used it but not this time, it may be happening because the batteries have run out.

Recommended: How to turn your ceiling fan on/off if the remote is broken?

How To Fix It

Before you go out to purchase new batteries, it is wise to open the back of the remote and find out what kind of batteries you need. Replace them once you have purchased the new batteries, match the plus and minus sign as instructed for the remote.

#8. The Remote and the Receiver Are Not at The Same Frequencies

After installing the new batteries on the remote did not fix the issue, your remote and receiver may not be on the same frequency. If they are not at the same frequencies, the receiver will not get any instruction from the remote.

Recommended: Do universal remotes on all ceiling fans?

How To Fix It 

These are the steps that will guide you on how to fix your fan when the remote and the receiver are at different frequencies:

  1. Switch off the current supply to your fan at the circuit breaker.
  2. The mounting bracket on your fan will have the receiver.
  3. Take it out and slide the four buttons to create your own pattern on the dip switch.
  4. After that, put back the receiver into its place in the mounting bracket.
  5. Your remote’s dip switch will be available where you find the batteries.
  6. Slide the four buttons using the same pattern that you used into the receiver.
  7. Switch on the electric supply back and test your fan now that you’ve set your remote and receiver to the same frequencies to fix it.

Final Words

There are a lot of causes why your fan could have stopped functioning. It can be sudden or gradual. Every tip in this article is helpful and the fix is also simple and will save money too.

Before you start working on your ceiling fan or touching the wires, turn off the electricity from your circuit breaker to turn off the power supply to your fan. If you’ve tried all of the tips and reasons in the post, and your fan is still not working, you may need to replace your ceiling fan. If you are not confident enough to deal with the wiring, call your electrician to look at it instead. 

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