How to Repair a Jammed Gable Vent Fan

Exterior view of a gable vent on a white-sided house against a blue sky.
What You'll Need
Clean cloth
Step ladder

Gable vent fans keep your attic ventilated and usually don't require much attention. However, like all household appliances, sometimes they stop working. With gable fans, this usually just means they are stuck and jammed. To repair a jammed gable vent fan, you to do a little troubleshooting. Here’s how to proceed:

Step 1 – Check the Ventilation

One of the main reasons why a gable vent fan may get jammed is because the shutter size in the ceiling is not big enough. To provide the right kind of attic ventilation, gable vent fans need adequate counter ventilation, meaning enough windows need to be opened up throughout the house. Get a chair or a ladder to stand on so that you can reach the fan. Now, open the shutter slats, carefully. The shutter is regulated by a spring with weights. If the weights are not aligned properly, the shutters become jammed and may not open up. Adjust the weights by inserting the spring and the weights through a different tension hole. Tighten the spring if the shutters are not opening, or loosen it if they are not closing.

Step 2 – Check the Fan Blades

If ventilation wasn't the issue, check the fan to see if the blades are aligned correctly. If the blades are bent or dented, they may be getting caught in the vent. This can cause the fan to be jammed. If the fan blades are bent, hammer the blades back to their original shape.

Step 3 – Check the Fan Motor

If the blades are fine, check the motor of the fan. Often dirt, dust, or grime get stuck in the motor gears. Switch off the fan first and then turn off the power from the main source. Now, using a clean cloth, clean the gears. While you're at it, clean the blades of the fan.

Step 4 – Oil the Fan

It is also important to oil the motor of the fan and the blades regularly. The shutters also need to be oiled from time to time so that they open and close properly. Too much oil can choke the machine parts and collect extra dirt, but the right amount will keep the fan running quietly and efficiently.