Common Extractor Fan Problems and How to Troubleshoot Them

Extractor fans are an essential part of any household or commercial building. They help to remove smells, moisture and pollutants from the air, keeping the environment fresh and healthy. However, like any other electrical appliance, extractor fans can develop problems over time. In this blog post, we will discuss some common extractor fan problems and provide troubleshooting tips to help resolve them. Let’s start with a noisy fan.

Noisy Fan

A noisy fan can be frustrating and disruptive, especially if it’s installed in a bedroom or study. The most common cause of a noisy fan is a build-up of dirt and debris on the blades. This can cause the fan to vibrate, creating an unpleasant sound. To fix this problem, turn off the power supply to the fan, remove the cover and clean the blades with a soft brush or cloth.

If cleaning the blades doesn’t solve the noise problem, it may be due to a faulty motor. In this case, it’s best to replace the fan altogether.

Another possible cause of a noisy fan is a loose cover or mounting bracket. Ensure that the cover and bracket are securely fastened to the wall or ceiling, and that there are no loose screws or bolts.

A humming noise from the fan usually indicates that the capacitor has failed. The capacitor is a small electrical component that helps to start the motor. When it fails, the motor can’t start properly and produces a humming sound. In this case, it’s best to replace the capacitor or the entire fan unit if necessary.

Poor Airflow

Another common problem with extractor fans is poor airflow. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a blocked vent, a dirty filter or a faulty motor. To troubleshoot poor airflow, start by checking the vent and ensuring that it’s not blocked by debris or other objects. If the vent is clear, check the filter and clean it if necessary. A dirty filter can reduce airflow and cause the fan to work harder, which can lead to other problems down the line.

If the vent and filter are both clear, the problem may be due to a faulty motor. In this case, it’s best to replace the fan unit altogether. Attempting to repair a faulty motor can be dangerous and may cause further damage to the fan. Additionally, a faulty motor can cause the fan to overheat and pose a fire hazard.

Electrical Issues

In addition to noise and airflow problems, extractor fans can also experience electrical issues. One common issue is a fan that doesn’t turn on at all. This can be due to a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Check the electrical panel to see if a circuit has tripped, and if so, reset it. If the fan still doesn’t turn on, the problem may be a blown fuse. Check the fuse and replace it if necessary.

Another electrical issue that can occur is a fan that turns on but doesn’t spin. This can be due to a faulty motor or capacitor, as discussed earlier. It can also be caused by a wiring issue. Check the wiring connections to ensure that they are secure and that there are no loose or damaged wires. If the wiring seems fine, the problem is likely a faulty motor or capacitor and the fan unit should be replaced.

It’s important to address any electrical issues with extractor fans promptly, as they can pose a safety hazard. If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting or repairing electrical issues, it’s best to contact a professional electrician.

Preventative Maintenance

Regular maintenance can help prevent common extractor fan problems from occurring. One important task is to clean the vent and filter regularly to prevent blockages and reduce strain on the fan motor. Additionally, ensure that the fan blades are clean and free of debris. This will help the fan operate efficiently and quietly.

It’s also important to check the fan’s wiring connections periodically to ensure they are secure and free of damage. Loose or damaged wires can cause electrical issues and pose a safety hazard. Finally, consider investing in a fan with a built-in timer or humidity sensor, as this can help prolong the life of the fan and reduce energy usage.


In conclusion, extractor fans are important appliances that help improve air quality and reduce moisture levels in buildings. However, they can experience various problems such as noise, airflow, and electrical issues. It’s important to troubleshoot these issues promptly and take preventative maintenance measures to ensure that your fan operates efficiently and safely. If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting or repairing electrical issues, it’s best to contact a professional electrician. At Electrical Discounted Supplies, we offer a range of extractor fans and other electrical supplies to help keep your building running smoothly. Contact us today for more information.