Easy Fixes for a Malfunctioning Gable Vent Fan

These easy fixes for a malfunctioning gable vent fan will make your life infinitely more manageable. Problems with attic ventilation from a faulty gable vent fan can be a nightmare, especially in the summertime. Make sure you know these troubleshooting tips before you dish out tons of cash for a service technician. 


As with any mechanical device, oiling the gable vent fan’s parts will ensure a smoother and longer lasting performance. Pay special attention to the gears of the motor, the motor shaft, the hub for the blades and the outside shutters. You can use any type of lubrication that they sell at your local home improvement store. Spray-on lubrication will be the most convenient for the purpose of oiling your gable vent fan. 

Open the Fan 

Make sure to unplug the fan and turn off the electricity in the area before you completely take your gable vent fan apart. Note if there were any loose parts. See if there are any visible obstructions. Even if you don’t see anything out of the ordinary, thoroughly clean the fan out with a cloth anyway, because even the smallest metal pieces could affect its performance. Pay special attention to the motor, blades and belt as dirt could get in the way of their functioning. If you see cracks in the drive belt, you may need to call a service technician. 

Manually spin the blades. See if they get stuck or if you hear any scratching noises. Also, observe whether the blades are level. If not, use a hammer to carefully bang them into position. When you put the fan back together, make sure all of its parts are attached snugly. Also, be sure that it’s mounted tightly to the wall. Use a drill for added security and insert rubber washers underneath the bolts. 

Check the Surroundings 

If you see pieces of metal below the area of the gable vent fan, there may be a serious problem with the motor that will require a technician’s expertise. Observe whether these metal pieces accumulate over time. Also, take a closer look at the wall where the gable vent fan is installed. The wall itself, the framing of the wall, or other components attached to the wall may contribute to the noise that your fan makes. Secure loose items and nail in loose joints. You may have a solar-powered gable vent fan, in which case the solar panels need to be regularly maintained and cleaned. 

Verify the Wiring 

A gable vent fan that seems to have completely shut down may have something to do with the wiring and electricity in your home. Check the power cord, to see if it’s completely plugged in at both ends. A voltmeter can help you verify that all the wires are working properly. Also, check the circuit breaker or fuse for that area of your home. You may need to reset the circuit breaker, or replace a blown fuse. Your gable vent fan may relie on your home’s thermostat, so also check that it’s functioning, is receiving sufficient electricity, and that its settings are correct.