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The Home Depot

Bathroom Fan Repair Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Bathroom > Bathroom Fan Repair Guide
Bathroom Fan Repair Guide

A busted bathroom fan can ruin your day. We often forget about the luxury of having fresh airflow at the flick of a switch, and boy do we notice when it’s gone! Bathrooms are already smaller spaces in the home, and air circulation is crucial to maintaining a comfortable environment.


So what to do when your bathroom exhaust fan is exhausted? With a little bit of troubleshooting, you can pinpoint your problem and decide whether or not to bring in professional contractors to do the repairs. Let’s get to it!

  1. 1.Grilling Your Fan for Answers

    If your fan is on the fritz, making strange noises or simply not working at all, start by removing the grille and having a look around. Most grilles are held up by springs on either side, and with a careful pinch and pull, we can expose the motor. Be careful! Since bathroom fans are fairly durable pieces of equipment, it may be years since the last time that grille was removed. There will be dust.


    The first thing we’ll write down is the model number of the fan. Vacuum out the dust after removing the grille and hunt down that model number – it will help you get an accurate estimate from a contractor. Got it? Great, let’s move on!

  2. If your fan is on the fritz, making strange noises or simply not working at all, start by removing the grille and having a look around.
  3. 2.Move that Motor!

    Now that we know our model number, let’s take a look at the motor. Make sure you unplug the motor before removing it – and carefully remove the cover plate supporting or housing the motor. Most cover plates and supports are held by either levers or a couple of screws. Take care to hold it up as you’re removing any retainer screws.


    The beauty of most bathroom fan motors lies in their cost. Relatively inexpensive to purchase, replacing a bad motor can be as simple as removing the blower wheel, unscrewing the old motor and snapping the new one in. If you can deduce that the motor is the cause of the issue, this may be a solution.

  5. 3.Calling the Pros

    Perhaps you’re unsure of the source of your bathroom fan problems. Or perhaps you’d just like a professional to handle the project for you. Either way, make sure you know the kind of contractor you’re looking for – and ask lots of questions.


    Bathroom fans are typically serviced by licensed electricians. Electricians obtain certifications for specific types of electrical work, and most local contractors will be qualified to operate in homes. Your bathroom fan may be a straight fan set up, or a combination of fan and light or fan and heater and light. Be sure you know what kind of set up you’ll be needing assistance with, and ask your local contractor about their experience with exhaust fan installation.


    When you’ve had time to grab the model number for the fan motor, you can call the manufacturer to check the retail price for a replacement part. Use this figure when comparing quotes from electricians. This will ensure you don’t pay a penny more than you should for proper work.


    Ask the contractor about turnaround time to completion of the project, and schedule it during a time period when you won’t be needing to use the bathroom. Typically, contractors can do the job while you’re at work, but it’s always good to check.


    By doing your due diligence in calculating what it would cost for you to do the job yourself, you can compare that with the estimates provided by your local contractors, and select the most accurate estimate for a guarantee of quality work and great pricing. Good luck!

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