What to Do if Your Floor Fan Stopped Working

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Last Updated on April 30, 2021
Doug Stephen

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.

fan-placed-at-the-floor

Floor fans are most important in the summer, but they may be a critical part of your home, office, or workshop climate control year-round. Floor fans are very durable and can last for decades, but eventually, they succumb to long-term wear-and-tear around particular parts.

Even a well-made floor fan may eventually develop problems with the motor, fuse, or cord. Instead of making assumptions about each part, it’s best to investigate them in a particular order, starting with the easiest potential problems to fix. Here’s where to start when trying to troubleshoot why your floor fan stopped working.

Read more: Excellent outdoor floor fans.

1. Check the Outlet

electric-outlet

In rare cases, the floor fan’s problem may be with the outlet itself rather than the fan. You can investigate this possibility by plugging in another small device to the outlet and seeing if it works. Try a lamp, alarm clock, or something else that’s easy to move. If nothing works in that outlet, check the circuit breaker or hire an electrician to investigate other potential problems.

If another device isn’t readily available, try moving the floor fan to another outlet and trying it there. This can tell you for certain if the fan or the outlet is the problem, especially if other devices in the room seem to be working.

Read also: How much electricity consumption of floor fans.

2. Try Different Settings

fan-remote

Most floor fans come with multiple settings and a manual setting selector dial or a remote to choose the speed. If one speed doesn’t seem to work, try all settings before assuming the whole fan is broken.

Turn the dial slowly or press the buttons more firmly than usual. If there’s a little loose connection, turning or pressing a little differently may get the connection to finally work.

Successfully identifying a loose connection may be enough for you to fix it on your own, especially if the damage is visible once you take off the outside cover. However, in some cases, the internal electronics may be too intricate to fix without professional help.

3. Look for the Fuse

Like other electrical equipment, floor fans have fuses that are designed to break if they overheat. If your fan was working and then suddenly stopped after being used for a few hours at a time, this fuse is the likely culprit.

The fuse is typically located in the fan’s cord or body, but you’ll find it faster if you consult the owner’s manual for the fan. Unplug the fan and work carefully to remove the back of the motor or other casing. If you see melted or scorched plastic connected to a wire, you’ve found the source of the problem.

If the fuse is easy to order and will arrive quickly, try replacing the fuse first by contacting the manufacturer or searching for the model number online. However, if your floor fan stopped working after many years of use, it may be more cost-effective to just buy a new one. Very old fuses may be hard to find a replacement for.

4. Inspect the Cord

The cord is also a likely culprit if your fan stopped working suddenly. While investigating the possibility of a blown fuse, take the time to inspect the cord thoroughly. Both the plug and the end of the cord that connects to the inside motor may get damaged over time, especially if you regularly move the fan around.

Check the coating on the outside of the entire length of the cord. Even if you don’t have pets, mice and other critters can chew through it over time. If you find any damage, head to a hardware store for a replacement, keeping in mind that you’ll need to match the wire gauges for a proper fit.

5. Clean the Fan Blades

blade cleaning

Dust and dirt around the fan blades are not likely to stop the fan from running altogether, but they can in severe cases or on older models. Instead of using a rag or other basic cleaning tool, use the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust from around the base of the fan blades where they connect to the motor.

If you must use an air canister, angle it, so it blows dirt away from the base instead of deeper into a crevice. Give the fan a good visual inspection before closing it back up, and make sure there isn’t pet hair or other tiny contaminants wrapped around parts.

Even if it just looks like a quick cleaning job, always unplug the fan before attempting to clean the blades. You can use a slightly damp rag on the blades themselves, but avoid getting the rag close to the motor.

This is also an excellent opportunity to grease the motor since stuck gears can also contribute to the fan stopping or the motor burning out. Remove the cover from the back of the motor and spray lubricant over the gears, turning the fan blades by hand while doing so to ensure everything is coated.

6. Calling Customer Support

calling-on-the-phone

If all else fails, you can call customer support for the fan manufacturer to see if they have suggestions or if your device is still covered under warranty. Even if your fan is no longer under warranty, the customer support team can be helpful. It’s hard for them to diagnose the problem remotely, so you will have to do some work yourself.

You may need to hire a local technician to figure out why your floor fan stopped working if the customer service team can’t help. An inexpensive floor fan won’t be worth fixing in many cases, especially if a replacement part has to be special-ordered. If you need the fan working again quickly, consider just buying a replacement.

Doug Stephen

Doug Stephen

Staying Comfortable and Safe

Your fan is important to your comfort in your home and work environment, but don’t rush through an attempt to repair it. Like all electrical devices, floor fans need to be handled, disassembled and assembled with care. Choose to buy a new fan if there’s any doubt about your ability to repair a fan on your own.