How to keep cool with fans; repairing and maintaining fans

Caution: Unplug the power cord before cleaning or repairing a fan.

Every 2 weeks of use, vacuum a fan with a crevice-cleaning attachment. At least twice during the summer, sponge dirt from the blades, grille, and other external components with a mild detergent solution. If the owner’s manual advises it, put several drops of light machine oil in the oil hole of the motor.

If a fan rattles, tighten the screws or nuts around the blade guard or, if it’s a window fan, the screws holding the grills. A whirring sound may indicate a bent metal blade. Insert a pencil through the grille and hold it so that the leading edge of one blade just touches the pencil’s point. Rotate the
blades by hand to check their alignment. Try to straighten a bent blade with your finger. If you can’t, install a set of replacement blades. Replacing a blade Open a two-piece blade guard at the clips or remove the screws or nuts holding a one-piece guard and work it off. Loosen the setscrew in the blade hub with an Allen wrench or a screwdriver, depending on the screw style, and slide the blade off. Install replacement blades, and screw the setscrew against the shaft’s flat surface. Plastic blades are secured by a spinner that unscrews like a nut. Turn the blades by hand to check for alignment.

On a fan that won’t oscillate, tighten the oscillation nut. If this fails, unplug the fan and oscillate it by hand. If the fan swings freely, the gears are stripped; take the fan to a repair shop. Professional repairs are the answer too if a fan continually blows its circuit or gives a shock when touched.