Our bathroom fans are probably original to the house, meaning they’re 20 or 30 years old. One of them suddenly started making serious noises: it sounded like a bird was dying in the attic. I figured it was time to fix it. Fortunately, fixing a squeaky bathroom fan is a pretty easy process. For reference, here’s what the fan sounded like before the fix:
When you do this job, you can either re-lubricate the fan or buy a replacement unit. I chose to lubricate this one for now. The issue with doing that is that it likely won’t be a long-term fix: six months, a year, or however long afterwards, the fan will probably start squeaking again. When this one starts to make noise a second time, I plan to buy a $15 Broan replacement from Lowe’s: it turns out this unit is common enough that replacement extraction fans, just for that part, are still made.
Opening up the fan housing
The very first thing to do is to cut the breaker to the bathroom. You do not want the power on while disassembling the fan. If turning off a circuit breaker makes you uncomfortable, you may want to rethink doing this project.
First, the bulb cover is opened and the lightbulb removed
First, open up the light cover and unscrew the bulb. The light cover usually has little pry tabs holding it in that need to be pushed in with a flat head screwdriver to remove. This will expose the mounting nuts for the fan unit.
These nuts screwed onto studs hold the fan cover on
With the bulb out, you can see these nuts screwed onto studs holding the fan cover on. Remove these two nuts, and the whole cover drops right off.
The cover removed
Far shot, the cover is still hanging by the light bulb
With the cover removed, you can see the fans. In my case, I have an extraction fan that squeaks (left) and a second blower that heats the bathroom (right). I will be fixing the fan on the left. I still have the cover dangling by the lightbulb socket. This probably isn’t the best idea, but the cover is very light. I remove it in a subsequent step.
Tons of dust to vacuum out
After vacuuming, much cleaner
As I said, my fan had been here for quite awhile, so there was a ton of accumulated dust. I simply used the hose extension on my vacuum and vacuumed that all out. Having the fan’s shaft lubrication get contaminated with dirt and grime and wear away is why the fan squeaks in the first place. Having all this crud in it won’t help matters, and it’s also simply gross. Might as well quickly clean it while you’ve got it opened up.
Unplugging the light releases the cover
Unplug the fan for safety and removal
The way this unit works is that both fans and the light socket are plugged using standard 110V ungrounded connections into what is essentially a built-in power strip. This makes it very easy to unplug things to work on them. Above, I unplug both the light bulb socket and the extraction fan. This lets me set the light bulb socket and fan cover on the ground out of the way. It also lets me work on the fan without danger of it accidentally coming on.
I also ended up removing the red plug, used for the heater blower, to get that and the wire out of the way to remove the extraction fan. I don’t have a picture of this step, but it’s pretty straightforward.
Removing the fan
The extraction fan can come out of the housing without actually dropping the entire housing. Simply remove the three screws pictured, and the extraction fan itself can be removed.
Slide it to the right first
And then it can be angled down and removed
With the screws out, it can be pushed to the right, towards the heater blower, and then angled down and brought out.
Removing motor and blower from housing
With this removed, you can now remove the actual motor and blower fan from the housing to work on it. This is done simply by removing the two nuts pictured, and lifting it out. At this point, you’re now ready to either repair or replace the fan.
Repairing the extraction fan
This is the culprit
At this point, you now have the offending fan removed and ready to fix or replace. As you can see, this fan is old and quite dirty. However, some lubricant on the impeller shaft will quiet it down again for awhile. That said, I still plan to eventually get a $15 Broan replacement unit for a longer-term fix.
Remove 2 nuts and pull fan from bracket
To get at the actual fan, you need to remove it from the bracket. The fan motor has two studs on it. Remove the nuts, and the fan and motor pull right out as shown.
Dry teflon lubricant will resist grime
You can use a lot of different lubricants or grease for this. I went with dry teflon lubricant: I had bought this a long time ago to grease the uniball upper control arm ball joints on a truck I had. This stuff goes on liquid, but the liquid evaporates and a dry lube is left behind. The key advantage to it is that it does a great job resisting grime. My hope was that this would prevent the fan from making noise again for a long time.
This is hard to get a picture of, but here’s where you add lubricant
This is nearly impossible to get a picture of, but I added a liberal amount of lubricant to the shaft the fan blades spin on. I’m adding lubricant where the red tube from the lubricant can is pointing. I sprayed all around, trying to really get the lubricant in, turning the fan as I did so.
After lubricating, you put everything back together in reverse order from how it was disassembled. When I first fired the fan up, it was squeaking, but it quickly quieted down as the lubricant worked its way in. That said, it periodically still makes noise. As I said, I am still planning to eventually simply replace with the $15 Broan unit. You can see the results in this video:
Replacing the extraction fan (Updated 7/10/2016)
Old vs new unit
Replacing the extraction fan follows the same steps as repairing, above, except instead of lubricating the motor shaft once you remove it, you simply chuck the motor and fan in the trash and go buy a new one. Lowes has them in stock, and Amazon and Home Depot can ship them.
I first tried the cheap method of lubricating the fan. As I said above, this will work for awhile, but not indefinitely. The motor shaft is apparently supposed to be sealed and presumably once contaminating, adding more grease is always going to be a short-term fix. Bathroom fans live in a really humid environment. The Broan unit above had increased to $17 by the time I bought one at Lowe’s, but it did the trick beautifully. It’s a bit quieter than my old one and pulls less air thanks to the impeller, but since we mainly turn it on for its “noise cancelling” properties, that’s OK.
There’s no telling how long the new motor will last. I’m guessing it’s a cheaper part than what was originally there, so only time will tell.
Fixing one of these old bathroom fans is no big deal. The job probably takes a half hour or an hour, and only requires basic hand tools. After having the grease wear out, though, I went ahead and replaced the motor and blower with an off-the-shelf part. I’m glad I did this, as the fix looks like it should last much longer. It also saved me from having to spend $85+ on an all-new bathroom fan unit.
5 2 votes
How do I stop my bathroom fan from squeaking? ›
- Turning power to the fan off.
- Removing the fan cover.
- Getting warm soapy water and a rag.
- Wiping down the fan blades, housing, and motor assembly.
- Checking for any damaged areas as you clean, and replace any worn pieces.
With the fan turned off, remove the fan cover, and vacuum out any dust or dirt that has become lodged in the fan. Lubricate the fan with silicone spray. Reattach the cover on the fan. If problems persist, buy and install a replacement unit.Can I replace bathroom extractor fan myself? ›
Replacing an extractor fan is a relatively straightforward job that can be done by yourself, as long as if you have some knowledge of disassembly and the correct tools. The existing wiring and ducting will need to be in good condition. If not, you'll need to repair these before commencing.Why is my exhaust fan squealing? ›
Replace Old or Dying Motors
A squeaking fan is a common problem for old fans. Therefore, persistent squeaking may be a tell-tale sign that your motor may be dying. The good news is that replacing an old or dying fan is relatively simple. All you need to do is to purchase a new fan motor and replace the fan.
WD-40 is a good lubricant for exhaust fans because it will also help break up any remaining dirt, dust and grease, although you can also use other lubricants, such as silicone spray, to lubricate an exhaust fan.Can I use WD-40 on exhaust fan? ›
However, if the grease is too notorious to be removed and it has been building up for a long time, you can call WD-40 for the rescue! WD-40 Multi Use Product helps you clean your exhaust fan within a few minutes without spending a lot of time and money.How do I stop my exhaust fan from making noise? ›
- Clean your kitchen extractor fan.
- Lubricate the motor.
- Straighten the ductwork.
- Tighten the mounting equipment.
- Insulate your kitchen extractor fan.
- Replace an old fan.
How to Oil a Fan Motor (Shaded-Pole, C-Frame Motor) - YouTubeHow do you service a bathroom fan? ›
How to Clean a Bathroom Fan - YouTubeDo I need an electrician to replace a bathroom fan? ›
Unless you have previous electrical experience, you should always hire a licensed electrician for any electrical projects, including repair of bathroom fans. A pro will be able to repair your fan quickly and efficiently, ensuring that all electrical connections are safely secured.
Do you need an electrician to replace an extractor fan? ›
You must ensure that any work done with regard to extractor fan installation is properly checked and signed off by an electrician. Wiring and ducting will also need to comply with building regulations, which you should check before undertaking the job.Do I need an electrician to install a bathroom exhaust fan? ›
Installing a bathroom fan in a room that doesn't currently have one is a significant job because you'll need to have an experienced contractor fit the wiring and run air ducts to vent the air out of the room through the wall or roof. You'll need to have an electrician request the permit and install the fan for you.How often should a bathroom exhaust fan be cleaned? ›
It helps get rid of odors, airborne contaminants and moisture in the air. A fan covered in dust doesn't work efficiently, eventually leading to mold, mildew and possibly a house fire. Give it a good cleaning about every six months.Why is my metal fan squeaking? ›
Accumulated dirt can cause noise because it can unbalance fan blades and wear out bearings. After every two weeks of use, vacuum a fan with a crevice-cleaning attachment. At least twice during the summer, wipe dirt from the blades with a damp sponge. Check to see if there are external parts that are loose.How do I stop my ceiling fan from squeaking? ›
How to Fix a Noisy Ceiling Fan | The Home Depot - YouTubeWhere do you spray the lubricant on a ceiling fan? ›
How to Lube Ceiling Fans : Ceiling Fan Maintenance - YouTubeHow do you oil a ceiling fan without taking it down? ›
- Read the User's Manual. ...
- Switch Your Electric Outlet Off. ...
- Use a Ladder. ...
- Locate the Oil Hole. ...
- Assess the Oil Levels. ...
- Clean the Oil Hole. ...
- Apply the Oil to the Oil Hole. ...
- Check Your Fan.
- Clean off the Blades. The simplest way to calm a noisy ceiling fan is by cleaning the blades. ...
- Tighten the Blade Screws. ...
- Tighten Light-Fixture Fasteners. ...
- Examine Any Warped Blades. ...
- Secure the Upper Canopy. ...
- Lubricate the Fan Motor. ...
- Balance the Blades. ...
- Check the Pull Chain.
Kitchen Exhaust Fan Filter Cleaning - YouTubeHow many Sones are in a quiet bathroom fan? ›
Bathroom fan sound levels are measured in sones: 4.0 sones is the sound of standard television operation; 3.0 sones is typical office noise; 1.0 sones is the sound of a refrigerator; and 0.5 sones is the sound of rustling leaves. For quiet bathroom ventilation the fan should be rated at 1.0 sones or less.
Can a fan motor be lubricated? ›
Properly Oiling Fan Motors - YouTubeWhich grease is best for fan bearings? ›
Lithium and Lithium complex grease is the most widely available and known chemistry in the industrial grease market today. They are used for a wide variety of applications and perform admirably in a majority of those.What kind of oil do you put in a fan? ›
Use 10- 15- or 20-weight non-detergent motor oil to lubricate your fan. It's important to avoid detergent, which can gum up the bearings. Don't rely on penetrating oils, such as 3-in-1 oil. They are fine for loosening stuck screws but aren't heavy enough to lubricate a fan.How long do bathroom fans last? ›
Typically, bathroom exhaust fans have a lifespan of about 10 years, provided they receive proper care and maintenance.How long can you run a bathroom exhaust fan? ›
Experts agree that you should not leave your bathroom fan on all night. You should only run the fan for about 20 minutes during and after a bath or shower. You especially shouldn't leave it on at night. If it's run too long, it can cause serious problems and become a potential fire hazard.Do bathroom exhaust fans need to be cleaned? ›
Bathroom exhaust vent fans need to be cleaned regularly. It's very important to have an exhaust fan that's vented to the outside in every bathroom in your home, and to run it whenever you shower or bathe and for 15-20 minutes afterward to remove excess moisture that can cause mold and mildew to form.How much should it cost to install a bathroom fan? ›
The national average cost range to install a bathroom fan is between $250 and $500, with most homeowners spending around $350 to install a new bathroom fan for a master bathroom with new ducts running to the exterior.How much does it cost to replace bathroom exhaust fan? ›
Bathroom exhaust fan replacement costs $150 to $550. The cost to install a new bathroom fan is $250 to $950 to vent the fan outside through the roof or wall. Toilet extractor fan prices are $50 to $150 on average, plus hiring an electrician or handyman costs $100 to $800 to install.Is bathroom fan part of HVAC? ›
A lot of us think that HVAC is just about heat and air conditioning, but a major part of any system is exhaust, whether from the dryer, stovetop vent, or bathroom fan.How much does it cost to run a bathroom fan 24 7? ›
Running a medium-sized fan 24/7 will cost around $52 a year or $4 a month in electricity costs. A dual-speed fan running on a low setting will cost around $25 per year or $2 a month.
Who would install a bathroom exhaust fan? ›
In general, an electrician is your best bet for a bathroom exhaust fan installation, though you may need to contact an HVAC specialist or local plumber if your installation requires new ductwork. General handypeople can also install exhaust fans, if necessary.How do I replace an old bathroom fan with a new one? ›
- Gather Tools and Materials. ...
- Determine Fan Size. ...
- Turn Off the Breaker. ...
- Remove the Old Exhaust Fan. ...
- Disconnect All Wires from the Old Fan. ...
- Adjust the Ceiling Hole. ...
- Attach the New Fan's Duct. ...
- Connect the Wiring.
It's easiest to install a bathroom vent fan if you're replacing an existing fan. You can use the existing switch, wires and ductwork. Also, it helps to get a fan that's the same size as your existing fan so you won't have to adjust the size of the ceiling hole.How much do I charge to install a ceiling fan? ›
How much does ceiling fan installation cost? With a few variables affecting the difficulty of the project, it typically costs between $100 and $300 for labor to install a ceiling fan. Your electrician's assessment of the project can help you plan and budget for your installation.Do bathroom exhaust fans need to be vented outside? ›
Note that the bathroom vent fan must always exhaust to the outdoors; never allow the duct to simply blow into an attic, crawlspace or other enclosed area.How do you know if your bathroom exhaust fan is vented? ›
How to check if your Bathroom Exhaust fan is working properly.How do I remove dust from my exhaust fan? ›
Use a damp microfiber cloth to scrub away caked-on dust and grime. Air-dry the vent cover completely before reassembly. Clean Exhaust Fan Blades: Twist the fan and motor assembly to remove it from the exhaust vent. Using a damp cloth, wipe the fan blades and motor clean.How do you clean bathroom exhaust ducts? ›
- Step 1: Turn the power off at the circuit breaker. ...
- Step 2: Vacuum the vent cover if necessary. ...
- Step 3: Remove the vent cover. ...
- Step 4: Vacuum and wash the entire vent cover. ...
- Step 5: Remove the motor assembly unit. ...
- Step 6: Clean the motor assembly unit. ...
- Step 7: Clean the fan's housing. ...
- Step 8: Reinstall the motor and vent cover.
It's not advisable to use WD-40 to lubricate a ceiling fan because it's not a good lubricant. WD-40 is mainly a solvent and rust dissolver. If applied to a ceiling fan, it should stop the noise for a while, but it will soon dry up and cause other problems.Can you oil a ceiling fan? ›
Like any machine with moving parts, ceiling fans need proper lubrication to run smoothly. Some newer fan models are self-lubricating and don't require much maintenance from you, says Flush Mount Ceiling Fans, while others need fresh oil added each year.
How do you lubricate a fan? ›
- Remove the front grill of the fan. ...
- Lay the fan down on a flat surface with the exposed face up. ...
- Apply a light nondetergent household oil that is SAE20. ...
- Spray the shaft carefully with lightweight lubricant. ...
- Reassemble the fan and test.
- Remove the front blade guard by prying off the clips or removing the screws.
- Clean your kitchen extractor fan.
- Lubricate the motor.
- Straighten the ductwork.
- Tighten the mounting equipment.
- Insulate your kitchen extractor fan.
- Replace an old fan.
Unless you have previous electrical experience, you should always hire a licensed electrician for any electrical projects, including repair of bathroom fans. A pro will be able to repair your fan quickly and efficiently, ensuring that all electrical connections are safely secured.Do bathroom exhaust fans need to be cleaned? ›
Bathroom exhaust vent fans need to be cleaned regularly. It's very important to have an exhaust fan that's vented to the outside in every bathroom in your home, and to run it whenever you shower or bathe and for 15-20 minutes afterward to remove excess moisture that can cause mold and mildew to form.Can I spray wd40 on my ceiling fan? ›
It's not advisable to use WD-40 to lubricate a ceiling fan because it's not a good lubricant. WD-40 is mainly a solvent and rust dissolver. If applied to a ceiling fan, it should stop the noise for a while, but it will soon dry up and cause other problems.Which grease is best for fan bearings? ›
Lithium and Lithium complex grease is the most widely available and known chemistry in the industrial grease market today. They are used for a wide variety of applications and perform admirably in a majority of those.What kind of oil can you use on a fan? ›
Use 10- 15- or 20-weight non-detergent motor oil to lubricate your fan. It's important to avoid detergent, which can gum up the bearings. Don't rely on penetrating oils, such as 3-in-1 oil. They are fine for loosening stuck screws but aren't heavy enough to lubricate a fan.How do you replace a noisy bathroom fan? ›
How To Fix a Noisy Bathroom Exhaust Fan | Easy Project - YouTubeHow do you fix a bathroom fan? ›
How to replace or repair a bathroom fan - YouTubeHow much should it cost to replace a bathroom exhaust fan? ›
Bathroom exhaust fan replacement costs $150 to $550. The cost to install a new bathroom fan is $250 to $950 to vent the fan outside through the roof or wall. Toilet extractor fan prices are $50 to $150 on average, plus hiring an electrician or handyman costs $100 to $800 to install.
How much should it cost to install a bathroom fan? ›
The national average cost range to install a bathroom fan is between $250 and $500, with most homeowners spending around $350 to install a new bathroom fan for a master bathroom with new ducts running to the exterior.How much does it cost to replace a bathroom ceiling fan? ›
The cost of bathroom fans and necessary materials varies from $16 to $300. At the low end, a small, basic ceiling-mounted fan costs less than $20. A premium smart fan with Bluetooth, a light, and a heater can cost up to $300. The average cost of a bathroom fan is $145.How long can you run a bathroom exhaust fan? ›
Experts agree that you should not leave your bathroom fan on all night. You should only run the fan for about 20 minutes during and after a bath or shower. You especially shouldn't leave it on at night. If it's run too long, it can cause serious problems and become a potential fire hazard.How do you know if your bathroom exhaust fan is vented? ›
How to check if your Bathroom Exhaust fan is working properly.