Monday, December 14, 2015

The trouble with bathroom exhaust fans – troubleshooting your bathroom exhaust fan

Bathroom exhaust fans provide a vital function to the indoor air quality of the home by exhausting odors and moisture that can cause mold or mildew to grow. But they are only effective if they are working. There are many reasons that exhaust fans might start to have issues or stop functioning all together. The good news is not all of them mean you need to replace the entire fan. Here are a few troubleshooting tips:

CAUTION: Before starting any maintenance make sure the fan is turned off at the circuit board.

If the fan has completely stopped operating:
Check to see if there is power to the fan. A circuit might be tripped. Next, see if the motor plug is connected. Typically fans will have a plug running from the motor to a receptacle in the fan housing. If this has come loose, the fan will not operate. Another cause could be the wiring was not done correctly. This usually only applies if it is a brand new installation. If after checking all of those without solving the issue, you probably need to replace the motor or entire fan.

The fan is working but the air is moving slower than normal: More often than not, this is because there is a build-up of dirt on the fan motor/blade or an obstruction in the ducting. Common obstructions include birds nest in the roof or wall caps where the air is being exhausted out of the home. Removing any blockage in your ducting or cleaning the inside of the fan according to the instructions in your owners manual will hopefully solve the issue.

The fan is operating louder than normal: First you will need to identify what type of noise it is making. If it sounds like it is operating normally just louder it might be because of some of the same issues described above in the air is moving slower than normal.

If it is more of a rattling sound it may be because the motor has come loose. Most exhaust fans have a housing with the motor attached to the housing with some type of mounting bracket. Over time the screw(s) holding the motor to the housing can work themselves loose. Tightening these might solve the problem.

Much in the same way, it could be that the screws or nails holding the fan to the joists have worked themselves loose or the ducting has disconnected. If you have access to the fan from above, this can be easily checked and corrected.

Other causes could be a weld has broken loose on the fan housing. Unfortunately, that cant be easily fixed and the whole fan will need to be replaced. If you hear more of a scraping sound it is probably the fan blade hitting the fan housing. This can happen if the blade was damaged during cleaning or if it has worked itself loose. Check to see if you can fit the blade back onto the motor shaft. If not, you might need to replace the blade, the motor or the entire fan depending on the extent of damage.

As always, Air King highly recommends consulting a professional for all maintenance issues. To learn more about other helpful tips visit the FAQ section at

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Let your HVAC breath – Why it is important to change your air filter

If you have central air in your home, hopefully you know it also has an air filter and that the air filter needs to be changed. You should check you air filter every month and will probably need to replace it at least every 3 months depending on how much the system is running.

During the cold of the winter months when the heater is running a lot, you will probably need to replace it more often. During mild months when the system might not be running at all, you can typically go longer before needing to replace the filter.

Changing filters that often can sometimes lead to the theory that this is all a fabrication of the filter manufactures that are trying to take over the world. Well unfortunately we just cant support that theory. The air filter is a critical part of your HVAC system. It removes dirt and debris and allows the system to work at maximum efficiency. The entire system is relying on air flowing freely throughout the home. If you have a dirty and clogged filter that efficiency is going to decrease dramatically. As the filter becomes dirty, less air can flow through it. That causes your HVAC unit to have to run longer which wastes energy, resulting in higher bills. Think of it this way. Take a large straw and blow into one end of it with your hand at the other end. You should feel a nice flow of air coming out. Now stuff the straw with cotton and try blowing again. You will need to blow a lot harder and only a fraction of the air will actually come out the other end. This is what you are doing to your HVAC system when you use a dirty filter.

Fine, problem solved, I just wont use a filter – that will teach them. Not a good idea. A dirty filter is actually a good thing in a way. If the filter had not captured the dirt, where do you think it would have gone? That would be coming out of your ductwork and into the air you breath or worse would lessen the life of your system because it would clog up the motor and internal workings of the HVAC system.

Changing the filter is typically something that any homeowner can do. For most systems, the filter is located on the right side of the HVAC system (the air return side). Check the size you need by looking at the numbers on the current filter and purchase a new filter that match those number exactly. Almost all home improvement centers will have replacement filters available. Once you have the new filter, slide the old one out, taking note of the airflow direction (usually an arrow on the top of the filter). Slide the new filter in and you are done. If you are not sure where your filter is located or have any other questions, contact a licensed professional HVAC service person. They will be able to check you system and show you how and where to replace the filters.

To learn more about other helpful cost saving tips visit the climate change section at