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Faulty Ceiling Fans Can Have You Going 'Round in Circles

July 04, 1998|From Associated Press

A ceiling fan is both nostalgic and practical as it stirs up a gentle breeze.

In summer, the fan creates a cooling indoor breeze that can eliminate or reduce the need for air-conditioning. In winter, reversing the rotation of the blades can reclaim heat by causing rising warm air to circulate throughout the room.

A good-quality ceiling fan is durable and rarely needs attention beyond periodic cleaning. Cleaning is important because accumulated dirt can throw the fan off balance. Use a soft brush or lint-free cloth. Don't use water.

Here are some other trouble-shooting tips:

* If the fan doesn't move, be sure there's power at the outlet. Then check the reversing switch. Push the switch firmly to one side or the other; it should not be in the middle of its throw.

* If the fan still doesn't move, the wiring may be loose. Cut the power to the fan by flipping off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the power going to it at your home's main service panel. (It's not safe to just turn off the switch.) Then check the wiring connections inside the switch housing. Tighten any that are loose.

* If the fan is noisy, check the motor housing, switch housing, blades and blade irons for loose screws. If there is a light fixture, tighten the thumbscrews holding the bulb in place; they can work loose from the fan's vibration.

* Is the fan level? Place a small level atop the motor housing. Make sure the canopy and mounting bracket are tight.

* Make sure the fan is properly mounted. Consult the owner's manual. The fan's electrical box should be secured directly to a joist, a wood cross brace, or an approved metal bracket mounted between joists.

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