What Are the Best Tips for Attic Fan Replacement?

Anna B. Smith

The best tips for attic fan replacement include completely turning off any electricity that is flowing to the area, examining the old fan before purchasing a new unit or replacement parts, and carefully reattaching wires using a color coded method. Live wires can present a hazard in the attic area when repairs are being performed, and can be tested quickly and easily using a tester screwdriver prior to handling. New parts for an attic fan are often less expensive than purchasing a new unit, and homeowners may prefer to pursue this route first. All wiring in the fan assembly and thermostat control box will be color coded and should be matched precisely prior to restoring electricity to the new unit.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

An attic fan replacement may be necessary when the motor of an older unit becomes worn down, the thermostat stops working, or when pieces of the fan, such as the blades or protective grating, become damaged. This item can be essential to reducing energy costs during warm months and maintaining lower temperatures at the highest points of the house. The fan acts as a venting mechanism which pulls hot, and often moist, air out of the home and draws, by means of an opposing vent system, new cooler air into the attic. The repair work can be performed by the homeowner personally, or a professional contractor can be hired to complete the installation.

Before beginning any part of the attic fan replacement, all electricity flowing to that part of the home should be completely switched off. This protects the homeowner or repairman from becoming electrocuted by wires which will be exposed during the replacement. Bare wires can be tested for current after the power has been shut off by applying a tester screwdriver to any exposed metal or wiring. If the tester device lights up, then current is still flowing through the area and needs to be disconnected.

The broken fan should be examined thoroughly before purchasing a new unit for the attic fan replacement. Ventilator parts are often sold separately by the manufacturer of the original unit, and can be less expensive than purchasing a new fan. If any part of the motor assembly has been damaged, a new fan unit is most likely needed. Fan blades, motor belts, thermostats, and protective housing pieces, however, can be purchased separately and installed easily onto the original ventilator.

Once a new fan has been mounted into place, all wires should be matched carefully to any existing circuitry. A small section of the wiring may be exposed by stripping off the insulator housing with a pair of needle nosed pliers. White wires should be matched to white, black to black, and green to green, both inside the thermostat and for the home's electricity. Current can be restored to the area once all wires have been properly matched, capped, and enclosed within the thermostat's protective housing.

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