A ceiling fan can be a real friend during the summer months, providing just the right amount of relief from the hot weather without having to rely on more expensive air conditioning.
However, at one point or another, you might come across a ceiling fan that won’t turn off. This is quite a common problem, especially with inexpensive ceiling fans.
Since the solution to this problem depends on the type of mechanism behind the activation of the ceiling fan, in this guide we will go through all the possible problems and solutions.
Why my ceiling fan won’t turn off?
There are many types of ceiling fans: some come with a pull chain or a wall switch, some with both, and some with a remote controller. Some of these fans might have a second switch for the lights or a second chain.
When your ceiling fan will not turn off, knowing the type of fan that you have is fundamental for understanding where the problem might be.
In fact, before you go and meddle with your circuit breaker panel or any electrical wiring, you might want to check the most obvious items: the fan itself, the chains, the light switch, and the remote.
These components are bound to wear out sooner than everything else, that’s why most of the time you can either fix or replace one of these items and solve the problem right away.
The remote controller and the pull chain seem to be the weakest components out of all. We received many complaints about chains that broke off the ceiling fan or ceiling fan lights that won’t turn off with the remote.
The good news is that you don’t usually need professional help to fix these issues, as long as you have some DIY skills for home repairs.
Without further hesitation, let’s dig into troubleshooting and fixing your ceiling fan that won’t turn off.
How to turn off a ceiling fan
As we mentioned, you don’t need to be an expert in order to fix the most common problems related to a ceiling fan that won’t turn off. It’s as common as having a faucet that won’t stop running.
However, a little know-how is always useful in this kind of situation, so if you don’t have any idea where to start, you might want to call for some backup, especially because if you end up uninstalling the fan, it could get quite heavy.
Since we explained that most problems related to ceiling fans are caused by either the remote, pull chain, or light switch, we’re going through each of the possible issues and related solutions.
How to turn off a ceiling fan with remote
Many ceiling fans today do not rely on pull chains alone anymore. In fact, there are many models that don’t feature the chain at all.
If you need to turn off a ceiling fan without a chain, the problem could be one of the following:
- Check the batteries on the remote: this might seem obvious, but good batteries last so long that we might forget we need to change them. The easiest thing you can do is try the remote with new batteries. If it still doesn’t turn off the fan, try one of the following fixes.
- Change the remote: if there is any way to turn off the fan without the remote (for example the wall switch), try and see if that solves the problem. In that case, the faulty component is the remote, which needs to be replaced. It would be better to replace the remote with one of the same brand, but you can also find many third-party remotes online and in stores.
- Faulty receiver on the fan: if a new remote doesn’t change anything, the problem could be in the remote receiver that’s installed in the fan. In this case, you can either call the company that produced the fan and ask them to fix it, or you can buy a new remote switch to bypass the original one inside the fan.
How to turn off a ceiling fan with a switch
Ceiling fans with wall switches usually also have a pull chain. The wall switch can have a single switch for the lights only, or more than one switch to control both fan and lights.
When the switch won’t turn the ceiling fan off, or even when the ceiling fan light won’t turn off, the first thing to do is to try and turn the fan off any other way.
In most cases, this means using the pull chain. Many fans also have a pull chain dedicated to the lights only, so you should check that one as well.
If the fan and lights turn off, you can rule out any problem with the fan itself, because the wall switch is probably at fault.
If you want to attempt the fixing yourself, or if you simply want to check what is happening inside the wall switch while you wait for the electrician, remember to switch off the circuit breaker first thing.
In the case, your breaker box has fuses, use a screwdriver to unscrew the right fuse, then use it to remove the cover plate on the wall switch.
Since the labels on the breaker box could be inaccurate, double-check there is no voltage by using a non-contact voltage detector.
It’s important to note that getting into the electrical circuit could be rather dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. When there is a problem with the circuit, it would be better to call a professional and let them handle the situation.
How to turn off a ceiling fan with a pull chain
“My ceiling fan switches between fast and slow, but doesn’t turn off!”
If you’ve ever said this phrase, you’re one of the many users who can’t seem to switch off their pull chain-driven ceiling fan for good.
Ceiling fans with pull chains have been around for the longest time, however many of us still can’t seem to understand how they work.
The pull chain of your ceiling fan has four settings, in this order: Off-High-Medium-Low.
This means that when you turn the fan on, it will go directly to High speed, then you can pull it again to decrease it. If you pull it three times from High, it will turn off.
The problem is that many people are simply too impatient to wait for the fan to turn off, so they pull the chain again, and the fan switches from Off to High, so they don’t see the blades stopping, but rather increasing velocity.
You might not realize the mistake because the blades don’t immediately stop moving when they’re set on Off. In fact, it might take as long as 30 seconds for the fan to switch in-between settings.
So the first thing you want to do is to switch between settings and wait 30 seconds to see how long does it take for your ceiling fan to settle into the new setting. After you learn the process, you will know when your fan is going to turn off.
In the case that the pull chain of the ceiling fan doesn’t work anymore (as in, it doesn’t even change settings), it might need to be replaced. First of all, check with a remote or with your wall switch if the problem is in the pull chain.
The pull chain can easily be replaced by using a screwdriver to undo the screws around the body of the fan and replacing the chain housing and switch inside.
You can easily buy a new one online or in stores, but if you can, buy one from the same brand as your fan. If the ceiling fan has an ongoing warranty, you might even get a replacement for free from the production company.
When to replace a ceiling fan
No matter how many times you troubleshoot a ceiling fan, some problems simply cannot be addressed, and calling a professional might turn out more expensive than replacing the ceiling fan.
It could also be the case where you have a very old ceiling fan that just doesn’t match the aesthetic of your house anymore, or maybe you want to add some lights that your current fan doesn’t support.
A new quality ceiling fan will last for many more years to come. But if you don’t want to spend so much money, there are many affordable ceiling fans in most department stores that come for less than 100$.
If you want to spare some extra money and you’re confident in your DIY skills, you can install the new ceiling fan yourself.
The hardest part is usually disassembling the old fan, so you might want to take a picture of the wires before you disconnect them from the fan.
All you need to do afterward is reconnect the wires from the ceiling to the wires of the new ceiling fan using the wire nuts.
While we believe that installing a new ceiling fan isn’t too hard for the average person, it does require some experience.
If you’re not confident, remember that most shops have a dedicated service to dispatch a technician to your house who will install the new fan for you. Better to spend a few more bucks than to risk setting your house on fire!
F. A. Q.
Can a ceiling fan motor burn out?
As with most electrical appliances, intense or long-time usage can eventually cause damage beyond repair. Ceiling fans are not forever, although good quality ones can last for many years to come.
If you happen to touch your ceiling fan body and feel unusual hotness, the fan could be on the verge of burnout.
Since a burnout fan can become a fire hazard, have your ceiling fan checked as soon as possible and, if needed, throw it out and replace it.
Where can I buy replacements for my ceiling fan?
It’s common to find replacement parts for ceiling fans in most well-supplied stores. You can find third-party components, remotes, and switches both online and offline.
However, the best choice is always to buy original replacement parts from the brand that produced the ceiling fan.
Not only the production company might provide technical support, but you can be sure that the replacements are 100% compatible with your ceiling fan and you’re not wasting your money.
Where do I find the brand of my ceiling fan?
When you buy a new ceiling fan, it can be useful to keep the box or at least note down the brand and their customer service number, in case problems arise later.
However, oftentimes the ceiling fan comes with the house, and it might have been there for years before you bought the property.
In this case, you can make an attempt by trying to see if there’s any indication of the brand on the fan itself.
Knowing which company produced your ceiling fan brings you a step ahead because some ceiling fans might not be compatible with third-party replacement parts.
Plus, some companies might offer to ship you replacements with no fee on your part or even dispatch an expert to your address.