A ceiling fan is made of a lot of moving parts, and hence it is very susceptible to failure. If you own one of the many units of ceiling fans available in the market, it probably is safe to assume that you faced some kind of problem over its lifetime.

Failures come in all shapes and sizes, and if you are wondering what do you do when your ceiling fan stopped working suddenly, this article is for you. Below we will guide a few troubleshooting steps to figure out what’s wrong with your ceiling fan and how to tackle them.

Let’s Jump Right In:

If Ceiling Fan Stopped Working Suddenly

How to Troubleshoot a Ceiling Fan?

What do you do when your ceiling fan not working? Your immediate instinct might be to call an electrician. Although some issues can only be fixed by a certified electrician, to save some of your hard-earned cash, you can always look into the problem yourself first. Follow these next few steps carefully to potentially fix the problem yourself:

↯ Check the Remote

It might sound very stupid, but sometimes the answer can be very, very simple. For starters, check if your remote has fresh working batteries. It will shock you to know how many people fall for dead batteries and end up thinking their fan has given up on them.

If fresh batteries do not work, do not worry. You can follow a few troubleshooting steps if your Casablanca, Harbor Breeze, or Hunter fan remote not working.

From time to time, the remote might also need resetting. “How do you reset a ceiling fan remote?” you might ask. Do not worry as it is very easy, but since different manufacturers do it differently, we would suggest you check your user manual.

↯ Is the Directional Switch on Neutral?

Most models of ceiling fans will have a switch that can reverse the direction of the spin. This switch will usually have the third position called “neutral”. This position is something you don’t want if your goal is to make the fan spin. Look for this switch and check its position to see if this is the issue.

↯ Is Your Fan Receiving Enough Power?

Sometimes due to electrical issues, your fan will not receive enough power from the wall. We have heard a thousand questions similar to “Why does my fan light work but not the fan?” and if you can ask the same question, your fan is receiving enough power, and the issue is not the power source.

Simply, if the lights are not working, contact an electrician as soon as possible, and if it is, move on to the next method.

↯ Faulty or Loose Wiring can be a Culprit

Before attempting this, always turn off the power first. Trust us; you do not want to electrocute yourself.

You also need to figure out how to access the motor housing. It might sometimes be necessary to remove light kit from Harbor Breeze ceiling fans. Fans with mounting brackets are very easy to work on; however, if you have a flush mount ceiling fan, it can get complicated. Check with the manufacturer-provided manual on how to reach the motor housing.

After you locate the motor inside the housing, look carefully at all the wires to see if any of them came undone. The chances of this happening are not slim at all as the fan is a continuously moving appliance.

If you do notice any disconnected wires, you might try to connect them yourself, although if you do not have any experience working with electricity, your best bet is to call a repairman.

↯ The Fan Blades Need Proper Clearance

When the motor is spinning the fan blades, it will need proper clearance. If the motor faces blockage or hindrance, some models will switch the motor off while others will try and fail.

In any case, carefully check for anything stuck in the motor or in the blades. Finding something jamming the blades will easily solve the problem at hand. We want to stress how important it is to do this carefully, assuming you still want all your fingers intact afterward.

↯ Connection Testing can be Done

Some among you with a huge toolshed will have a voltmeter on hand. This step is only applicable to them.

Test out the wires to see check if the motor is receiving electricity. If you see a reading on your meter, it is probably time to change the motor as it probably has died. No reading usually means the problem is with the circuit breaker, and you need to contact an electrician.

↯ Look for Blown Capacitors

Overheating is one of the most common culprits when it comes to damaged ceiling fans or fan motors. There are a few capacitors around your motor, and overheating for a prolonged amount of time will typically blow these capacitors.

In this particular case, the light will stay on, and you might be able to hear a slight humming coming from your ceiling fan. You can also look for a pull cord with a small box connected to one end inside the motor housing. That black box is the capacitor, and you will be able to visibly notice the damage.

Replacing the capacitor is very painless and cheap. Ordering one corresponding to the model of your fan is easy enough, and the replacement only takes 5-10 mins.

↯ Give the Blades a Little Push

Since you followed all the above steps and found yourself here, it is safe to assume your problem is still not fixed. But before calling the electrician, try one last thing.

Your ceiling fan has something called a flywheel. It is a rotating shaft that takes power from the motor and spins the machine. With your ceiling fan, a flywheel will spin the blades. Reach up to the blades and give them a gentle push in any direction, and unless the blades keep spinning, you might need to replace your flywheel. Most fan models will have aftermarket flywheels available for cheap, and it is very easily replaceable like the capacitors.

Occasionally, however, your blades not spinning might also mean the bearings have given up. Though it is very rare, it can happen. With the modern, tightly packed ceiling fans, it does not really make any sense to replace bearings due to them being so expensive that replacing the whole motor unit is more cost-effective.


Hope you now know what to do if the ceiling fan stopped working suddenly. One of these methods can surely do the job for you, and get your ceiling fan to work normally. That is not to say these methods are be-all and end-all; sometimes, it is necessary to call in a specialist and get it checked out. You can never really tell with machines like these.

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