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Attic Fan Not Working – Fix Common Problems

An attic fan often serves as a replacement for air conditioning units. The main function of an attic fan is to push the hot air out and pull in cool air. However, if the attic fan is not functioning properly, you will have to face discomfort. As it is at the roof level, there will be no heat level regulation when it does not work.

A faulty attic fan can be due to many reasons. You need to troubleshoot properly by identifying the problem. Whether it is checking the thermostat or diagnosing electrical problems, you need to get everything fixed. You will have to get the right parts and replace the parts whenever necessary. Even though attic fans have the least maintenance, you will not be able to repair the one which is damaged.

How To Solve Common Problems of Attic Fans

1. Attic Fan Not Turning On

A problematic attic fan will not turn on. It can be due to many reasons like a faulty motor, faulty controller, or faulty electric socket. When it comes to an electrical problem, there can be a blown fuse, bad connection, or even tripped circuit breaker. You will have to check it by plugging other electrical appliances into the same outlet. Then you can plug the fan into another power outlet. If there exists a problem due to electricity, you need to get a professional to fix the issue.

If the fan motor is problematic, your attic fan will not turn on. You need to get a motor replacement. However, do note that it can be very expensive. Finally, your attic fan may not turn on due to a bad thermostat. Thermostat repair depends upon the type of the problem. You can even replace the thermostat rather than repair it. To check the thermostat, you will have to adjust it accordingly.

2. Fan Motor Running But The Blades Not Working

There can be another problem when the fan motor is running but the blades don’t move. If this is the problem, it means that the motor is working properly. However, the blades are not able to push the air out. It happens when the belt is broken, sagging, or cracked. You can check if the belt is fine by removing the casing. If there is any damage to the belt, you need to get a replacement.

3. Very Little To No Airflow

You may experience little or no airflow even while turning the fan high. The fan will be struggling with the intake and exhaust issues. You need to confirm it by looking for debris that can be sucked in during intake. Also, the fan must be close to the roof and it must be placed high securely.

4. Attic Fan Humming Noise

While running the fan on the high setting, if it makes a humming noise you will have to run it on a lower setting. This primarily happens when the blades are missing. To prevent the humming noise, you need to fill in the missing blades. Alternatively, you can get a fan that has more blades. Do check if the fan makes a humming noise while making your purchase.

5. Attic Fan Loud Noise

Loud noise can be very irritating. Your attic fan can make a loud noise if the assembling is not done properly. It can often happen when the screws are loose over time which can lead to noise and vibrations. A simple solution would be to tighten the screws.

Another possible reason will be due to a lack of lubrication. You will have to oil the attic fans every year that have oil ports. Even bent blades can lead to noise. You will have to get a blade replacement as you will not be able to fix the blades.

6. Attic Fan Burning Smell

You may notice a burning smell from the attic fan. It will come from the exhaust from the motor. You may be able to fix the issue by greasing the motor gear. You will also have to check if the belt is slipping. However, if the smell still exists, you need to go for motor replacement.

7. Attic Fan Not Turning Off

Your attic fan may not turn off and run continuously. This problem happens due to a faulty thermostat. If the thermostat is at a low-temperature setting, it could lead to a problem. You can confirm if the fan comes with a switch and then turn it off. However, if it does not have a switch, you need to turn off the circuit breaker.

How To Maintain Attic Fan Properly?

To make sure that the attic fan runs smoothly, you will have to inspect it from time to time. Look at the blades and belt so that they are not worn out. You must keep your fans in working condition and prevent any kind of discomfort or extra expenditure.

Basic Maintenance –

Attic fans have the least maintenance and all you have to do is a bit of lubrication and cleaning. This will prolong the life of the attic fan. You can also get the service of an HVAC expert once every 2/3 years to give it a full life.

Professional Maintenance –

The professional maintenance of attic fans has to be done by an HVAC expert. This will make sure that the fan will run in top condition without any issues. The inspection will make sure if it needs replacement or if you will have to replace the entire unit

  • Belt Drive:Belt drive issues can be fixed or adjusted. It can be affordable when compared to having an exhaust fan that offers better efficiency.
  • Direct Drive:In some attic fans, the blades are directly attached to the motor. These types of fans cannot be repaired as the parts are not available. However, if the problem is with the switch, you will be able to repair it.
  • Attic exhaust fan:You will have to know that repairing the attic exhaust fan is not advisable. The best solution will be to replace the attic exhaust fan.


With increased ventilation, there can be mold as well as other problems in your attic. Attic fans are very useful for protecting your home from mold and moisture. Using an attic fan improves airflow and provides better health and safety to your family. If your attic fan is showing signs of problems, you will have to get it fixed. Make sure that you maintain the attic fan properly so that it can last longer.

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