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Top 10 Common Faults In Electric Fans, Their Causes, And Solutions

rechargeable electric fan

Table of Contents

Why You Should Know the Common Faults In Electric Fans

Electric Fans come in varieties such as standing Fans, Table Fans, Ceiling Fans, Wall Fans, Hand Fans, Heat Expellers, etc. Knowing the common faults in Electric Fans will help to identify abnormalities whenever any of these electric fans are in operation.

These are Common Faults In Electric Fans that are peculiar to all the different types of fans their causes and solution:

Reduction of speed

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. The speed of fans do reduce may be permanently or temporarily. The manner of the reduction can be determined by the causes of such fault.

A new fan purchased from the market may have this problem if the assembling was not properly done or if the fan was manufactured with inferior materials.

The causes of permanent reduction in the speed of the fan are primarily from the coil bearings, it could occur if the bearings had been used for a very long time such that it loses its lubricants or if the fan had been kept unused for a long time such that the bearings had acquired much dirt of flying particles.

Besides this, the permanent speed reduction in fan could also be caused by the fan coils, if the two coils in the fan had accumulated much dirt in the small space between the static coil and the dynamic coil known as the rotor which carries the fan blades, in such a situation the fan speed could be affected.

Another cause for this problem could be the damage of the fan capacitor or regulator this could cause the bridging of the current supply to a lower setting such that the fan operates with only the voltage provided from that setting.

The problems can be solved by changing the bearings. While for the coil it can be solved by cleaning the coils properly with a volatile liquid and allowing them to dry properly before fixing the two coils backs.

The capacitor and regulators of the fan can be changed anytime, so if the fault is from any of them it will be better to change anyone developing the fault.

While the cause for temporary reduction may be from the power supply caused by faults in the distribution line or from the power station, such fault can easily damage the coil of an electric fan or any household electrical appliances, and a situation like that is usually controlled using stabilizer.

Another possible cause of the temporary speed reduction could be a faulty coil when the coils are not able to generate enough magnetic flux that could stay for a long time it could alter the speed of the rotor periodically.

The only possible solution to this problem is to change the coil or take it to coil technicians for rewinding of the coil.

Another thing to consider when fan is developing this problem is to check whether the rotor coil is having a graphite carbon block as its contractor, (this is peculiar with old model fans because the style now is only applicable to electric motors used for machines).

If that is the case then it is possible that the graphite blocks have lost their rigidity to maintain a steady contact with the rotor when it starts rotating at a very high speed such that at that moment partial contacts start taking place which supplies voltage to few portions of the coil and thereby affecting the overall speed.

However, most of the fan with poor quality can generate this fault irrespective of the fact that they are a new fan, so the best thing is to take note of the brand and its record of quality.

The Fan Automatically Stops & starts

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. One of the major faults in the fan is the starting and stopping operation, this is commonly seen in standing fan.

It is a situation where a fan can start and operates normally at its full speed and gradually stops after some time like about 15minutes and still starts again for the next period of time.

Sometimes the fan may not completely stop but its speed will temporary slowdown in a manner that looks as if the external breeze is blowing the blades and after some time, the fan may pick up its speed again.

Though most problems like this are not peculiar to other types of fan like the ceiling fan and wall fan, they do have other problems similar to that one. The major cause of such problem in fan could be fluctuations in the power supply and damaged bearings.

These two may cause such problem but they may not be the only cause especially when considering the type of fan involved.

For the standing fan, it is just a common problem. When the power fluctuation is the problem it means that even a new standing fan can indicate such problem, since the factor has nothing to do with any fault from the internal parts of the fan engine.

Most power stations may have problem in the distribution of the power supply to their consumers at a particular area, such problem may include power fluctuation for a particular distribution line which may be caused by their distribution line or from the power station itself in such a way that it now affects electrical household appliances which electric fan is one of them.

It is because of power fluctuations that most people install power stabilizers in their homes while others buy smaller types for specific household electrical appliances like television, refrigeration, and air conditioners, etc.

So in a situation like that the fan will start and stop if the voltage drop will not be enough to carry the dynamic coil.

In other words, if the voltage drop could not be able to create enough magnetic field to cause rotation of the dynamic coil or if the voltage drop causes a weak magnetic field which slows down the rotor speed.

However, if the cause is from a damaged bearing; the option available is to change it.

The reason damaged bearing could cause this problem is due to the misalignment which may occur between the static part of the bearing and the dynamic part such that it creates a heavier load for the coil and may run freely at the upper axis while lower axis experiences difficulty in the rotation.

The major fault in bearing which could constitute to this problem is shattering of the metal balls inside the bearing which causes the balls to lose their position in the metal separator thereby creating more friction in some areas of the bearing.

The best way of solving bearing problems is by replacing the bearing. If such option is not possible due to the unavailability of such size of bearing, then an artificial technical adjustment can be made on the existing bearing space in order to contain the new size of bearing.

They can stop responding to speed adjustments

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. There may be several factors that could make the fan to stop responding to speed adjustment, but technically in the engineering point of view, this could be caused by the defect in the speed regulator of the fan.

Every fan has a place in which its speed can be adjusted it can be located at the back of the fan stand for the standing fan, at the wall of the house for the ceiling fan or at the base of the fan for wall fan and short standing fan.

The fan speed regulator is mainly built with the electromagnetic coil, a set of metal sheets cut into uniform shape and made to stay together while a copper wire is used to wind it round after it has been insulated from the metal sheets.

The principle of this fan regulator is based that if electric current passes through a long distance its current will drop, therefore having the wire wind around the metallic sheets for multiple numbers of times will ensure a complete voltage drop of the current flowing through the wire.

For example, if at the winding of 500 turns the voltage drops from 220volts to 100volts, it means at 250 turns the voltage should be 160volts.

This is the process used in the calibration of those regulators such that they could control the speed of the fan by decreasing the voltage or increase the speed by increasing the voltage supply.

The major reason fan regulators develop fault is as a result of overheating if the fan had operated for a very long time and if a very high voltage supply was suddenly introduced into the regulator.

The starting point of it getting damaged is to lose its insulation, if the insulation that exists between the metal sheets and the copper wires has been damaged.

It will make any little voltage in the regulator create more heat than normal thereby affecting the whole parts of the regulator, so at that moment the insulated copper wires used in the winding of the coil will start losing their insulators.

Thereby, making it possible for two naked wires to come into contact such is when it becomes impossible for the regulator to control the speed of the fan.

Besides the coiled type of fan regulator, there many electric fan today that has specially built resistor for the purpose of regulating their speed, this resistor due appear like a capacitor having a rectangular shape.

But the disadvantage of this type of regulator is that it easily gets spoilt than the coiled type. A clear symbol for a damaged regulator is when it cannot be able to control the speed of the fan.

Sometimes the coiled type of regulator may have a little control in the fan speed in the areas the damage in the coil is not affected even though the regulator coil has got burnt.

In another situation, the coil may not damage because of heat rather it can get damage as a result of liquid penetration into it.

The best way to handle problems from the fan regulator is to change it, but if for financial reasons you can not afford a new regulator, disconnect the regulator wire and connect it direct to the voltage source.

In such that, it needs no control for its speed rather it would have a steady speed which shall be its full speed and according to the voltage directly supplied from the power source.

That is the only temporal solution to keep your fan blowing, while you make arrangement for the buying of the new regulator.

Some new fan can have the problem of not blowing out enough air at their full speed

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. Some reasons a fan cannot circulate enough air may be because of these few problems;

Improper alignment of the blade

 Wrong fixing of the blade

Lack of air entrance to the area

Some Fan can be blowing with a loud noise

The  temporary noise in a fan could be caused by;

Common faults in electric Fans: A CEILING FAN

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. The faulty mechanism in the moving of the fan blade in its sideways directions like in the case of standing fan.

It could also be caused by the wrong positioning of the fan which makes it not on the same level horizontally.

An obstruction at the fan blade guard can also increase the noise of the fan temporary.

While the permanent causes of the noise in an electric fan could be the following;

A damaged bearing in the fan, which causes misalignment between its rotor and static coil.

Lack of lubricant in the bearing can also cause the noise in the fan to increase any time it is operating.

The noise in the electric fan can increase if there is a damage to its blade.

The blades could become stiff and unable to rotate

This is just one of the common faults in electric Fans, though it does not always occur with a new fan its probability is not zero percent.

Common faults in electric Fans: rechargeable electric fan
Common faults in electric Fans: rechargeable electric fan

Sometimes an electric fan may not be able to rotate when the switch is turned on even though that its engine is producing sounds to show the presence of an electric current in the coil of the fan.

Most people do say that the coil has burnt in such a situation, they use such a word as just a simple way of assuming the cause of such an incident.

However, according to the electrician I had met concerning the common faults in electric Fans, the response is a little different from the popular language “the coil has burnt”.

The problem is that most people assume technical matters due to the previous occurrence without any knowledge of the working principle of such a thing.

The best way of identifying and ratifying technical faults is to consult the experts in the profession.

A fan blade becoming stiff and unable to rotate can be attributed to many factors according to Mr. Mba, an electrical technician in port harcourt, he emphasized that if it is only the fan coil that could make the blade not to rotate then many electric fans with coil problems supposed not to allow their blade to rotate, “as for the fan becoming stiff a lot of things could cause it, which could be;

  • The serious damage in the fan coil
  • The fan bearing
  • Rust and corrosion
  • Dirty and liquid
  • Wrong assembling

These are the major faults that could contribute to the stiffness of the fan blade” he said.

Meanwhile, from the real engineering theories and perspectives of finding fault Mr. Mba is not far from it.

According to Newton’s first law of motion, it stated that a body will continue in its state of motion unless acted upon by an external force, so when the motion of the fan blade is obstructed there is a force acting to resist it.

However, this primarily occurs in electric fan that has not been used for a very long time and newly-assembled electric fan. We will be discussing in details the various causes as indicated by the electrical technician;

Serious damage in the coil

A minor damage to the fan coil could make the fan not to function or reduce its speed but will not actually make the blade to become stiff, so for a damage in a coil of the fan to cause the stiffness of its blade it shows a serious damage to the coil.

Some of the damage that could occur in the fan coil to warrant such occurrence includes the burning of the plastic insulators used in the insulation of the copper wires from metallic sheets.

In such a manner that the burnt particles fall out to occupy the small space between the static coil and dynamic coil in which a magnetic field exists, if the particles are much and strong in the gap it will not allow the rotor coil to rotate which is visible when someone tries to rotate the blade of the fan.

Fan bearing

The next thing that could cause such problem is the fan bearing, about two bearing exists in most electric fans one is located at the front where the blade is fixed while the other is located at the back, if for the reason of mechanical faults the bearing get cracked, broken, stiff or corroded it will definitely not allow the fan blade to rotate.

Rust and corrosion

Though this is not common in new electric fan but for fan that had been packed in a place with access to liquid like water for a long time, the metallic sheets used in the making of the coils may start rusting and corroding.

In a severe condition, the metallic oxides that came out from the rust activities will fill up the space that exists between the two coils and make the rotation of the dynamic coil impossible which can be seen when the fan blade is rotated and it experiences high resistance.

Dirty and liquid

Dirt and expired grease in the bearing can make it impossible for the bearing to rotate and as a result hinders the blade from rotating.

In the case of the ceiling fan, some do become stiff on there is a little penetration of water into the fan coil, because water could cause the bridging of the fan coil and may help accelerate the rate of rust in the fan engine.

Wrong assembling

When a new electric fan is assembled and the blade refuses to rotate it may be a sign of wrong assembling, the best thing to do is to go through the assembling manual carefully or invite a specialist. It can also be used to identify an inexperienced fan technician.

The blades could fly out of the fixed position

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. This is a rare case in modern fan due to the design and its features in the assembling process, but nevertheless, it is necessary to consider the possible causes of such scenario if it occurs.

Common faults in electric Fans: Damaged rechargeable fan
Common faults in electric Fans: Damaged rechargeable fan

The major cause of such situation is poor assembling in the aspect of fixing the fan blade properly to the fan engine.

Another thing that could cause such problem is using the fan at its highest speed all the time.

It is, therefore, necessary to consider the technology used in each fan fixing of blade whether with screw, rivets, bolts and nuts, etc. and ensure they are torqued properly before putting the fan into use, the fan guard in standing fans and wall fans is a good design to control the blade in the event of accidental flying out which is usually rare in the modern electric fans.

The blades of the fan can be touching the blade safety guard for fan:

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. In some cases of such situations, there may be no visible adjustment at the blade or the blade guard to conclude that they are the actual cause.

Common faults in electric Fans: A CEILING FAN
Common faults in electric Fans: CEILING FAN WITH BLADE GUARD

The major way such problem can be dictated in standing fans and wall fans are during their turning in different directions which is a common design in such fans.

However, for such occurrence in electric fan the following may be the cause of it;

Little misalignment of the fan guard

A sign for adjusted blade position

Clearance problem from bearing

The body of the fan could be found shocking when touched with the bare hand

Common faults in electric Fans: CEILING FAN AND ITS PARTS
Common faults in electric Fans: CEILING FAN AND ITS PARTS

This could be a result of a wire from the coil having contact with the metallic part of the fan, which can be identified by using a current tester or other fault-identifying tools. One of the common faults in electric Fans could happen without any visible sign.

The fan stands could be oscillating when it is rotating

Common faults in electric Fans: Rechargeable fan problems
Common faults in electric Fans: Rechargeable fan problems

This is one of the common faults in electric Fans. It occurs mostly in the ceiling fan it may be as a result of proper alignment when it is fixed or as a result of high speed


The above are the major common faults in electric Fans, but before proceeding to the details of the causes of these problems, it is important to note that most of these problems could differ according to the manufacturer and the method in which the fan is assembled.

The details of the causes of these problems shall be treated separately in our subsequent articles in order to help us elaborate on each of them very well.

However, the aim of this post and its subsequent details is to assist you in solving any technical problems coming from your electric fan and also help you make the right decision when trying to buy an electric fan from the market.

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