How to Clean and Maintain Ceiling & Exhaust Fans

Exhaust and ceiling fans make your home more comfortable and can even help lower your household energy consumption. They’re also easily taken for granted—and if you aren’t routinely doing fan maintenance, they may wear out more quickly or malfunction. Knowing how to clean exhaust fans and ceiling fans is key to preserving good-working condition. Fortunately, it only takes a little time and effort to maintain them. Follow these exhaust fan and ceiling fan maintenance tips to keep your fans 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 periodically removed with thorough exhaust fan cleaning, it can negatively affect the fan’s function and reduce its lifespan. Follow these steps to clean exhaust fans properly in your home:

1. Remove the Exhaust Cover

Standing on a sturdy ladder or stepstool, remove the exhaust fan cover. This is usually held in place with metal tension clips that 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.

2. Vacuum Out Dust

With the fan blades and motor exposed, use a vacuum wand attachment to remove as much dust as possible. This cleaning wand can generally be found as an extension on your vacuum cleaner.

3. Wipe the Blades with a Dusting Cloth

Use a dry dusting cloth to carefully remove any remaining dust from the blades and other internal components. For more stubborn dirt, try using a damp cloth to clean. After that, simply replace the cover, and your fan is clean and ready. Exhaust fan maintenance should be a snap and will help save you time and money in the long run!

Ceiling Fan Maintenance

Like exhaust fans, ceiling fans can benefit from periodic cleaning. Follow these ceiling fan maintenance tips to learn how to clean a fan motor, wipe down fan blades, and lubricate fan bearings to keep all components in working order.

1. Vacuum and Dust the Fan

Use a vacuum wand attachment or feather duster to remove all dust from the blades and exposed parts of the fan. A large amount of dust can accumulate on ceiling fans. You may want to wear a face mask while cleaning to help avoid breathing in dust. Be sure to stand on something stable if you can’t reach from the floor.

Another popular home hack is to clean the blades with an old pillowcase. Simply wrap a fan blade with a pillowcase and apply pressure to the blade to wipe off dust into the case. Repeat these steps for each blade. Once you’re done, pound the dust out from the pillowcase before washing it for another use.

You may also use a damp cloth to wipe each blade. Be sure to rinse the cloth after every blade to get rid of excess dust.

2. Tighten Screws

If you hear rattling while your fan is turned on, there’s a chance a screw or other part of the fan system is loose. Check all components and tighten anything that may have come loose with a screwdriver. Additionally, check for any missing screws and replace to ensure your ceiling fan is secure.

3. Clean the Fan Motor

An essential part of your ceiling fan maintenance is to periodically check the motor. The ceiling fan motor’s cover should keep most dust out, but some may still get in. To clean the motor, simply apply a vacuum to the slits on the top of the motor cover. This should help remove the excess dust from your fan’s motor.

4. Lubricate Ceiling Fan Bearings

The final step in 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 where 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 owner’s manual. If you no longer have this, look for an oil reservoir. Typically, there’s a small hole at the top of the fan to insert the lubricating motor oil. You can also contact the manufacturer with the model number to inquire about fan lubrication.

Ceiling fans with sealed motors may be more difficult to lubricate.

To clean a sealed motor:

  • Shut off electricity then disconnect and remove the fan from the ceiling.
  • Separate the fan blades from the motor base.
  • Open the motor shell.
  • When the top and bottom bearings are exposed, you should be able to add the lubrication.

Typically, newer ceiling fans shouldn’t need regular lubrication, but there may be times when it is required. If you hear squeaking or grinding while the fan is on, it might need lubrication. For assistance with lubricating your ceiling fan, contact a professional.

HWA Can Help

You may not think about ceiling and exhaust fans very often, but their proper function is essential to your home’s comfort. We hope that these exhaust and ceiling fan maintenance tips help you keep your home’s fans in great working order. For more information on how we can help, and to learn more about what a home warranty plan is, contact us at 1-888-492-7359.

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