How to Test a Fan Motor

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Updated July 21, 2022

If you are inexperienced in the world of personal cooling appliances, you may want to learn how to test a fan motor in case a problem arises. The best fans, after all, require a motor to operate, and they are susceptible to repair and maintenance issues. So, what are the best ways to test a fan’s motor, and why would you do that? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • When a fan doesn’t power on, there are several things to check before heading into the electric motor housing.
  • Start by ensuring the fan receives an adequate power supply, then head to your junction box to replace a fuse if necessary.
  • You should also remove any dirt and debris from the fan blades, which can weigh down the fan and impact the motor.

Why Test a Fan Motor?

The obvious answer here is to check to see if the fan is working, which is important when learning how to wire a ceiling fan, among other tasks. If your fan stops working, you want to know if it is due to your electrical grid or the fan itself, which is useful to know when wondering why your fan stopped working. Once you have ruled out the motor, you can move on to other queries, such as learning how to oil a ceiling fan.

Insider Tip

Cleaning a fan isn’t just for the motor; it also helps reduce noise during use and helps increase energy efficiency.

Here are a few ways to go about testing your fan’s motor so you can perform other troubleshooting tasks, like learning how to stop a fan from wobbling.

How to Check a Fan Motor

There are various ways to check on the health and status of a fan’s motor, no matter the design of the fan itself, be it a ceiling fan, tower fan, pedestal fan, or another type of fan.

Check the Power

The first thing you should do is make sure that power is being delivered to your fan. You might blame the motor when the fan won’t turn on, but it is very often just an electricity issue. Unplug the fan and head to your junction box. Replace any applicable fuses, then switch the main breaker off and on again. This should reset the system. Now try to turn your fan on to see if that did the trick.

Check the Blades

Check the fan blades for any obstructions and remove any you find. While you are near the blades, perform a routine cleaning procedure. Dirty blades are heavy blades, thanks to debris and grease, and this added weight can interfere with the fan motor performing its job to the best of its ability. Make a habit out of cleaning your fan every few months.

Hire a Pro

If your fan still doesn’t power on, hire a pro for an expert evaluation. They will run that motor through its paces and figure out the best way to move forward.

STAT: To test your motor for a short to ground issue, you’ll need to set the multimeter to ohms and disconnect the motor from its power source. Then inspect each wire and look for infinite readings. (source)

How to Test a Fan Motor FAQs

How do you test your fan motor with a multimeter?

A digital multimeter is a handy tool for this task. Follow the instructions and connect it to the white wire or brown wires, as indicated. This tool is useful for any type of motor, but not if it has broken wires.

How do you check if an electric motor is going bad?

You can check the white wire with a digital multimeter, as detailed above, or you can follow the steps indicated in this article. Insert the multimeter probes as indicated and look for an infinite reading or a variety of resistance readings.

What is an AC fan motor?

An air conditioning unit's fan motor is the motor that powers the internal fan. This motor includes all kinds of components, including black wire, white wire, brown wire, AC compressor, powers source, current flow regulator, and more.
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