How to Fix Fan Blades That Won't Turn

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Things You'll Need

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Metal lubricant spray

  • Paper towels (if needed)

Tip

While the front piece of the fan cage is off is an excellent time to clean out the entire inside of the fan cage. Wipe the cage down with a paper towel to remove the dust and debris. Pay special attention to the back side of the cage because most of it will gather there.

Warning

When testing the fan with the front piece of the cage off, do not stick any tool or your fingers into the cage. The cage acts as a safety guard and while you may briefly test the fan with it off, you can be seriously harmed by a tool becoming caught by the blades or by bringing your fingers into contact with the moving blades.

Frozen fan blades can be a bit of a mystery. Often, the fan was working fine the last time you used it and this time, when you turned it on, the fan blades won't move. It is not uncommon for this to occur. While it may be a matter of a simple cleaning and lubrication, it can also be a sign that your fan motor is wearing out or the fan blade bearings are ruined, in either of those cases you are better off buying a new fan. Before you spend the money doing that, try these simple solutions first.

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Step 1

Turn your fan on and listen for the engine of the fan. If you cannot hear it then the engine is worn out and you need to replace the fan. If you can hear it, turn off the fan and go on to the next step.

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Step 2

Make sure the fan is unplugged. Remove the front piece of the fan cage. There are at least 3 clips that attach the front of the fan cage to the back. Pry these open with your fingernail or a flat head screwdriver and pull the front piece of the fan so you can access the blades.

Step 3

Look at where the fan blade unit connects to the bearing and motor. You will be able to see this without removing any additional parts. Fan blades gather a tremendous amount of dust and debris that then settles behind them, away from the force of the air. It is not unusual for the bearing that the fan blade unit turns on to become so clogged with debris that it cannot turn. If you can see dirt and debris in the small gap where the fan blade unit connects to the bearing and motor, clean it using your fingers and the side edge of a flat head screw driver. When it is clean. Plug the fan in and turn it on for just a moment to see if the fan blades will move. If they do, turn the fan off and unplug it and replace the front of the fan cage. If they do not, go on to the next step.

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Step 4

Remove the center cap from the fan blade unit. This is typically a plain plastic cap or maybe a cap with the fan maker's logo on it. Use a flat head screw driver to pry it out of place.

Step 5

Press the straw that came with your metal lubricant spray into the nozzle of the can. Shake the can several times and then put the end of the straw into the center of the fan blade unit and spray the lubricant several times. Rotate the fan by hand and do this again.

Step 6

Spray lubricant into the connection between the fan blade unit and the bearing. Turn the blades and spray again, do this several times. Wait 10 minutes. Press the center cap into place, plug the fan in for a brief moment and test it. If your fan blades still do not work then the internal bearing has worn out and you need to replace the fan. If the fan works, turn it off and unplug it. Reinstall the center cap and the front piece of the fan cage before putting the fan into use.

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Cassandra Tribe

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.