If you want to read the back story leading up to why i hacked my bathroom fan, rather than repairing it in traditional ways you can click here to read all about it. … Now onto your regularly scheduled how to post.
The Tear down.
While removing any electrical device in your house please make sure you turn the breaker off, or pull the fuse out of your electrical panel to avoid serious injury or worse… If you are not comfortable or capable of working with electrical system please consult a professional.
Removing the bathroom fan from its sheet metal housing is pretty straight forward. After removing the globe on the light there are 4 thumbscrews that needed to be removed to access the fan assembly underneath. In this photo you can see the 4 thumbscrews at each end of the light bulbs. (A trained eye would also notice this is an after photo) my original before photo has gone MIA somehow.
After the light assembly was lowered I could disconnect the power cable leading to the housing. and remove the whole bezel and light assemble as one unit.
To the left of this photo you can see 2 screws that are holding the entire fan assembly in place. removing those allowed me to tilt the fan box down, and release the rear flange from its slot and now everything can be done on a w̶o̶r̶k̶b̶e̶n̶c̶h̶ kitchen table from this point forward.
Once the bathroom fan box was on my table, it’s really a simple deconstruction. Little tabs (as seen in the left photo) get unbent to release the two halves of the box, and once inside you can loosen the bolts and remove the old motor.
Once the two halves were separated and the motor was removed, i cleaned all the old dust build up that was inside the casing. it was really simple, little warm water and it came right off.
New Fan Hack … I mean preparation.
While letting the bathroom fan case dry, I turned my attention to the motor and new fan setup. I removed the power wires from the original motor, and the wire i had to cut I saved a decent length of wire just in case this fan ever gets rebuilt. In case you are wondering, yes i did try replacing the capacitor shown in the first photo here with an exact replacement. That did not solve the dead fan problem (obviously since i tore it apart still)
I took that original wire, and soldered it to the new motor’s power pins (I specifically choose this motor because it was 120v and did not need any type of power adapter to make it run.) I also added some heat shrink tubing to the ends of the wires just to help protect them against damage, arcing and loosening. If you do not have heat shrink tubing (you really should get some) but you can use some electrical tape to help from arcing. I picked up a heat shrink tube kit from Princess Auto for $10-$15 CAD. Pretty cheap if you plan on working at all with wiring. (I actually bought it to repair the trailer plug on my truck).
Fitting the new fan in place
Ideally it would be nice if the new fan slipped right into the box and worked. but the design of the old fan used a small cowl at the edge of the inlet to help pull air into the box. As you can see in the photos above this cowl interfered with the new fan’s blades. It was time to take the old bathroom fan out back and let it know who’s boss.. I mean hack it, prep it (yeah that sounds better). I literally just cut the cowl off with an angle grinder. nothing special here, just be careful and wear ear and eye protection.
Once the cowl was removed I could center the new fan over the opening (i spent quite a bit of time with a file making sure the edges of the opening were both smooth, and didn’t hit the fan blades.) Once a location was chosen (nice and center) i drilled one hole and installed a bolt and nut to secure the fan. I then used that to pivot the fan to the proper location and drilled through the holes in the new fan body, and straight through the old fans casing. Once two were drilled and bolted in the other two holes could be drilled out in the same way.
Reassembling the case.
Next it was time to put it all back together. This is pretty straight forward. align the old tabs, and tap them closed with a hammer. The case is now sealed up with the new fan inside. However, this leaves a hige hole in the back of the case. Leaving this uncovered would make the fan so inefficient i might as well not even turn it on. I need to close that hole up and direct the air out the proper exit path.
Here’s where i somehow lost some photos, not exactly sure how, but essentially I took some old scrap sheet metal, cut a bit of a circle out that would cover the opening in the previous step. Some short sheet metal screws are used to secure it to the box. A small notch was also cut in it to allow the electrical connector to pass through. When passing electrical cables trough sheet metal they MUST BE PROTECTED. Failure to do so can cause catastrophic results that could lead to a fire. … seriously just protect it, wire loom is CHEAP. you can also drill a hole and use a rubber grommet, but i had some wire loom laying around so I used that and covered the wire where it exits the box.
Note: make sure your screws aren’t too long and hit the fan blades, you will have a very unpleasant sound when you power it up.
We’re getting to the end now….
Re-installing is honestly just reverse of pulling it out of the ceiling. slip it into the opening, … secure with screws. Plug it into the main power, re-attach the lighting part, and Finished!
Note: Original fan specs sticker was removed, and a note saying this was not the original motor was added for any future people inside here. The new fan has its specs listed on the motor itself.
This was an interesting fix for me, but I’m curious what you think. I want to know if you think this was worth it?
Would you attempt the same repair?
And finally Was this article too long? too detailed and boring? did you find it informative? clean and easy to understand?
I’m new to blogging so i truly want to know what you think.
This was originally going to be a how to video, but the lack of a good camera mount caused me not to be able to try a video out.