How to Troubleshoot a Remote-Controlled Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans can help with energy costs by cooling the air in the warm months and by helping to circulate heated air more efficiently. Newer models of ceiling fans are available with remote controls that allow you to adjust the fan speed without getting out of your easy chair or bed. Unfortunately, like anything electronic, a remote control fan can sometimes have problems. The good news is you can easily troubleshoot most ceiling fan problems.

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Keep your ceiling fan's remote operational.

The Remote

Try the obvious solution first. Make sure the fan is on when you press the power button for the remote controlled fan. If that doesn't work, change the batteries in the ceiling fan remote. Make sure you orient them in the proper direction. As you swap out the old batteries, make sure the battery contacts inside the remote control are clean and that the old batteries haven't left any corroded material. Check that the battery contacts aren't broken.

Use a cleaner specifically for electronics to clean the remote. Sometimes a thorough cleaning frees the buttons and allows them to function as they should. If you detect a damaged button, you may need to replace the remote to solve the problem with the ceiling fan.

Check that the ceiling fan problems aren't from a weak or non-existent infrared (IR) signal in the remote. You can purchase an IR detection device, or some digital cameras pick up an IR signal when you point the remote at them.

Adjust the dip switches on the remote control. For the remote controlled fan to operate properly, you must set the transmitter in the ceiling fan and the remote the same. The dip switch is the tool that allows you to do that. You can either expose the dip switch in the ceiling mount of the fan and the remote control to match dip switch settings. Another option is to switch a dip switch setting on the remote one at a time until you find the right one to match the dip switch setting in the fan's motor. Start with all the switches in the on position and try the remote. Next turn position #1 off and try it, then position #2 and so on until you have tried all the combinations possible on the dip switch. Typically these dip switches remain at their factory presets, but if you have more than one fan in the room, the installer may change the presets so one remote can operate both fans.