DEAR MIKE: My bathroom fan is making a horrible noise. How can I fix it? -- Ed T.
DEAR ED: Can you possibly imagine the horrors that a bathroom fan has experienced? The foulness that the fan has extracted and the abuse it has been placed under has possibly ruined or killed it.
If your fan is making noise, you may be able to quiet it down, but you may have to replace it. The noise may be caused by something hitting the fan.
If it slipped out of its housing, the noise may be the vibration of the motor on the grille. In that case, just push the motor back into the slots in the housing.
Fans are built with a lot of plastic, so when they break, it's easy to replace them. Bathroom fans usually cost between $15-$30 and take about an hour to replace.
Before you start tinkering with it, make sure you turn off the power. If you have one switch that controls the light and fan simultaneously, you will need to have a work light run from an extension cord.
Once you have the power off, pull down on the cover grille and remove the tension springs that hold them to the motor plate.
Once the grille is removed you will see the fan has a short cord that plugs into an outlet which is mounted in the motor housing. Unplug the cord and remove the motor plate. It is held in place by some slots in the housing.
If you have purchased the same type and size of fan you are replacing, all you need to do is stick the new motor plate into the housing and plug it in.
If the outlet in the housing needs to be replaced, slide off the wiring cover which conceals the wiring behind the outlet. Unscrew the wire nuts that connect the outlet's wires to the wires coming into the housing.
Use a tester to make sure the power is off, then connect the black supply wire to the black outlet wire. Connect the white supply wire to the white outlet wire.
Finally, connect the supply ground wire (either green or bare) to the green ground outlet wire. Use wire nuts for secure connections.
Push the wiring into the corner of the housing along with the outlet. Slide the wiring cover into the corner to hold the wiring in place.
Make sure that the outlet fits in the cutout of the wiring cover. Also, take the time to note that no wires are left outside the cover to get pinched or cut when you reinstall the motor plate.
Take the motor plate and gently push it into the housing, making sure to orient the cutout in the plate with the outlet in the corner.
Snap the plate into the slots in the housing and plug it in. Then replace the grille and you are free to abuse the new fan.