How do I clean my exhaust and ceiling fans?

Exhaust and ceiling fans make your home more comfortable and can even help lower your household energy consumption.

They're also easy to take for granted – and if you aren't careful to maintain them from time to time, they could wear out faster than normal or even break down.

Fortunately, it only takes a little time and effort to keep them in great shape.

Exhaust Fan Maintenance

Most homes only have exhaust fans in bathrooms, where they help to control humidity and freshen the air. Like any fan, exhaust fans suck up particles that collect on the blades and motors. If this buildup isn't removed periodically, it can negatively affect how well the fan works and reduce its lifespan.

Standing on a sturdy ladder or stepstool, remove the exhaust fan cover. This is usually held in place with metal tension clips that just need to be squeezed for removal – no tools required! On some models, the cover may be held in place with screws. The cover itself can be thoroughly cleaned with dish soap and warm water.

With the fan blades and motor exposed, use a vacuum wand attachment to remove as much dust as possible. Then use a dry dusting cloth to carefully remove any remaining dust from the blades and other internal components. After that, simply replace the cover, and your fan will be clean and ready. Exhaust fan maintenance is a snap!

Ceiling Fan Maintenance

Ceiling fans are slightly more high-maintenance, but as with your exhaust fans, the job begins with periodic cleaning. Use a vacuum wand attachment or feather duster to remove all dust from the blades and exposed parts of the fan. Be sure to stand on something stable if you can't reach from the floor.

Next, check all the screws and hardware to ensure they're tight and secure. Ceiling fans can wobble these components loose over time, and catching them early is key to ceiling fan safety. Use a screwdriver or appropriate tool to tighten anything that appears loose.

The final step in ceiling fan maintenance is lubrication. Many fans, especially newer models, are designed to be maintenance-free and never require oiling. Others may have a small reservoir on top of the motor in which you should add a few drops of machine oil from time to time.

The best way to find out which kind of ceiling fan you have is to refer to the original documents that came with the fan, but if you don't have those, look for the presence of an oil reservoir. You can also contact the manufacturer with your fan's model number to inquire.

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