Tower fans are compact and inexpensive pieces of equipment that are great for cooling you down on hot days. However, they are prone to issues such as not rotating after some time, and hiring someone to repair them is often quite costly. Can you avoid this expense and restore your tower fan as a DIY job?
Here’s how to fix a tower fan not rotating:
- Examine the power source.
- Remove bottom plate and covering.
- Inspect electrical components and wiring.
- Check the fuse.
- Remove contaminants.
- Replace ball bearings.
- Apply lubricants.
- Realign the track.
- Replace or repair the tilt sensor.
Continue reading for the complete DIY guide on repairing a tower fan that’s not rotating. I’ll go through the likely sources of the problem and how you can go about solving the issues. You’ll likely need some everyday tools like a screwdriver and equipment like wiring or lubricant to carry out this repair.
1. Examine the Power Source
If there’s an issue with your tower fan, the first place to look is the power source. Your fan will likely run on alternating current, which it sources from a power outlet in your wall. If there is an issue with the power source at the outlet or elsewhere, it will cause your fan not to rotate.
The first place that you should check is the circuit breaker box in your home. This is a safety feature standard that’s present in all homes, and it protects you against electric shocks and fires. If an outlet or appliance in your home causes a power surge, the circuit breaker box will ‘trip’ and cut the power source to the component.
To check the circuit breakers, open the box and examine each switch inside. If a switch is down, it’s likely due to a power surge. Flick the switch back to an upright position to restore power. After this step, turn on your fan to see if it’s working.
If the issue was the circuit breaker, the tower fan will start rotating again. However, if this is not the case, proceed to plug another appliance or device into the outlet you’re inspecting and turn it on. If this other device works, the outlet is working, and the source of the problem is elsewhere.
Check that the wires extending from the plug to the tower fan are not loose or exposed. If the wiring looks okay, you’ll need to open up the fan for a closer look.
2. Remove Bottom Plate and Covering
Before you can resolve the issues inside your tower fan, you’ll need to remove the covering or protective layers that cover the electrical components. To do this, you’ll need a screwdriver or Allen wrench that fits the screws or bolts which hold your tower fan together.
Before removing anything from the fan, you must first plug it out and turn it off to prevent electrocution.
In most tower fans, there are four to eight screws in the bottom plate covering the electrical components. Remove each of these screws using the correct tool and place them somewhere safe. If you lose any of these screws, it can be challenging to find replacements, and without the screws, the fan could become dangerous.
After removing the screws, the bottom plate should quickly come apart from the rest of the fan. In some tower fans, there may be additional screws underneath and an additional protective casing. If this is the case, remove them and store them for later.
After removing the protective casing, you should be able to see the different electrical components and wiring that allow the fan to work.
3. Inspect Electrical Components and Wiring
The next stage in repairing your tower fan is examining all of the wiring, connections, and electrical components within the device. In your examination, watch out for noticeable signs of damage, loose wiring, damaged connections, and signs of overheating.
Here’s what you need to check for when inspecting the wiring and connections in your tower fan:
Wiring and Connections
The first place to check after removing the cover is the wiring. Pay close attention to where wires connect to each other and components within the machine. If any of these wires are damaged, or if any of the connections have come loose, it will cause the fan to malfunction.
You’ll need to reconnect any loose connections using electrical tape or a soldering iron for best results. Exercise caution if using a soldering iron—they’re extremely hot and can easily cause severe burns.
Damage to Components
Components inside the tower fan, like the motors, are prone to wear and tear. Inspect each of these components and ensure that there are no visible signs of damage. Look at the connections between the wires and the various components and watch out for excessive dust and dirt.
If the motor bearings look rusted or corroded, they might be the cause of your tower fan not rotating. This issue is usually paired with a hissing or grinding noise. If this is the case, you should start looking into a new fan. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to find replacement motors for tower fans.
Burning or Melting
A common source of problems in tower fans is overheating. When fans overheat, it may cause some of the materials inside to melt or burn plastic elements If you see any black marks or melted wiring or plastic after removing the casing, the fan has overheated, and the damaged pieces will require replacing.
4. Check the Fuse
Fuses are safety features in electrical appliances that serve a similar function to circuit breakers. Fuses are small pieces of metal that melt and stop the flow of current when the power surges. If there was a power surge while your fan was using electricity, it could cause a fuse to blow and stop the device from working.
Fuses are typically inside the plug of an appliance or inside the power outlet. Sometimes, the fuse may be found in other electrical components, but this is a rare occurrence.
To inspect a fuse, unplug the fan and remove the covering from the wall plug or power outlet, then check inside. If there is a tiny glass container inside with a broken or melted wire inside, it’s a blown fuse. To replace the fuse, remove it and place a new one in.
After replacing the fuse, put back on the covering over it and turn on the fan to see if it’s working.
5. Remove Contaminants
Another likely culprit of rotation issues in a tower fan is contamination. Dust and dirt can accumulate inside your fan over time. When this happens, the build-ups that form will interfere with the fan’s functionality. It’s essential that you remove any accumulations of dirt that you can see when you remove the bottom plate.
Pick out the larger clumps of dirt and dust using your hands. Then ensure that the smaller pieces are also removed using a dry cloth. If, after wiping with a dry cloth, some dust or dirt remains, try using a cleaning spray and wipe again.
If there are contaminants around moving pieces inside the machine, move the pieces slowly after cleaning and wipe again. This ensures that all dust and dirt have been cleared from the fan. If you’re confident that you’ve gotten everything, reattach the cover and check to see if the tower fan is working.
There’s another external element that, although not a contaminant, can still cause issues in your tower fan: water. If moisture gets inside your fan’s motor, it could prevent it from turning on, while water exposure can cause the blades to grind and do humming noises. Save yourself the trouble by not placing water containers near your tower fan.
6. Replace Ball Bearings
If your fan is still not working, it could be due to an issue with the ball bearings inside the device. Ball bearings allow the device to twist and rotate without resistance. As a result, when they’re damaged or blocked, it can stop the tower fan from turning correctly.
The ball bearings in a tower fan are placed where motors are twisting. That’s why you’ll usually find them at the motor, near the blades, and at the base of the fan where it rotates. Twist the ball bearings to see if they can easily turn without much force or resistance.
Should the ball bearing spin around freely, there is no issue with them. However, if the ball bearings are stiff, you’ll need to act. You can clean the ball bearings and apply some engine oil to fix them. However, when ball bearings are restricted, they usually need to be replaced.
Ball bearings are affordable and relatively easy to replace. You can remove ball bearings and the ring containing them and replace them with a new one. Alternatively, you can replace individual bearings if some are missing—however, this takes much longer, achieves poorer results, and saves you very little money.
7. Apply Lubricants
As a general rule with DIY repair, if something is supposed to move and it’s not moving, apply some lubricant. Lubricants will loosen up the moving pieces and stop them from seizing. Applying lubricant to the blocked component could allow your tower fan to rotate again.
After removing the covering on the fan and cleaning the components, you should apply lubricant to every moving component inside the device. It’s best to generously use your choice of lubricant before reassembling the machine and checking it to see if it rotates.
When it comes to the lubricant you use on the tower fan, you have a few options. Here are some of the most popular lubricants you can use:
- WD 40
- Motor oil
- Engine grease
- Lubrication sprays
As long as your choice was designed for lubricating gears or machines, it should work inside your tower fan. All of the lubricants listed above are readily available from your local garage or hardware store.
8. Realign the Track
The motor that rotates the fan is usually connected to gears that attach to a track. The track is a circular piece that holds the fan mechanism together and allows the fan to rotate. If the tower fan falls over, the track can knock off, stopping the fan from rotating.
You can find the track underneath the bottom panel of the tower fan. After locating the track, check if the circular band is adequately aligned. If the band has fallen off the track, lift the clasp attached. This allows you to reconnect the band quickly and realign the track.
Clean the track after realigning it, then apply lubricants to appropriate areas before attaching the bottom panel. Now check to see if the machine is working again.
9. Replace or Repair the Tilt Sensor
Some tower fans, especially newer models, contain a sensor that automatically prevents rotation when the fan tilts beyond 45°. If a fan continues to rotate when tilted beyond a certain point, it may cause it to overheat or sustain damage.
If the tilt sensor becomes damaged or is malfunctioning, it could switch off the fan, even when it’s not tilted. This can be infuriating and, without the proper knowledge, impossible to spot.
You’ll need to read your fan’s instruction manual to see if it contains a tilt sensor and where the sensor is located. If the sensor is easy to access, you can get a replacement piece, remove the damaged sensor and replace it with the new one.
For more information about how to repair your tower fan, check out this Youtube video:
The majority of repairs to tower fans involve cleaning and lubricating different components. When attempting to repair your faulty tower fan, remember these key points:
- Check the power supply.
- Disconnect the fan from the power source before removing the covering.
- Inspect the wiring and the condition of the electrical components.
- Remove all dust and dirt.
- Lubricate the moving parts.
- Inspect the sensors.
- Put it back together and check if it works.