The purpose of an attic fan is to lower the temperature in the attic by blowing out hot air. Most attic fans have an in-built thermostat that moderates their usage by turning them on and off depending on the temperature in the attic.
Millions of people enjoy their attic fans on a daily basis, especially during summer time. But just like any mechanical device that is used often, attic fans require some extra loving from their owners.
For example, some parts can get worn down or damaged after a period of use, causing an annoying racket. This might disturb your own household, but it can sometimes annoy the next-door neighbors even more.
Most often the noise can be solved by applying an easy fix to the problematic part of the fan. But some injuries are too grave and require a direct replacement of a broken part. And if the fan has a fatal injury that is beyond repair, it’s best to replace it altogether with a worthy successor.
Here’s how you can quiet your noisy attic fan:
1. Detach the fan from the power source
Before inspecting individual parts of your attic fan and fixing anything, make sure that the fan is detached from its power source.
If it’s an electric fan, turn the mains off. And if it’s powered by solar panels, turn those off instead.
You may need to turn it on and off again to see which parts are causing the noise and to hear whether the fixes you apply are making a difference. Just make sure that you’re not touching it while it’s on.
2. Check for imbalanced or bent blades
If the fan blades are imbalanced or bent, they can hit against one another or against other parts of the fan. This will definitely produce noise while the blades are rotating.
Shut off the fan before examining the blades and see if there’s a problem or not. If the blades are unbalanced, you can balance them yourself. Here is a useful guide for balancing blades on ceiling fans. It’s basically the same process for any other large fan.
If the blades are bent to such a degree that they’re hitting against other parts, it’s best to replace them. When buying new blades, always make sure that they’re the right fit for your model.
Generally, you don’t have to get the exact same blades that are already installed on your fan. But it’s important that they’re of the same size, otherwise they won’t fit properly.
Replacement blades usually cost around $20-$30. It’s a more affordable fix than getting a new attic fan. There are many replacement blades available on Amazon.
3. Replace the ball-bearings
Not all attic fans have ball-bearings. So if your’s doesn’t, you can skip this step completely.
The purpose of ball-bearings is to make the fan run smoother. They act as lubricators, but once they get worn down, they can start to produce excessive noise. Ironic right?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for worn down ball-bearings. They simply have to be replaced. Just like replacing the blades, it’s important that the replacement ball-bearings fit your attic fan properly.
I don’t have any experience with buying ball-bearings, so I’m reluctant to recommend any stores. However, there are some online stores so it’s worth Googling. The other option is to call the manufacturer or the store where you bought the attic fan and see if they have any available for the exact model you have.
4. Tighten the fan’s mount and other loose parts
This is actually the most common noise issue with attic fans. The mount can become loose, especially on fans that are installed on the roof. If it’s loose it will wobble and vibrate against the surface, creating a huge racket.
This problem is pretty easy to fix. You’ll just need a screwdriver to tighten the loose screws on the mount. While you’re at it, check out the fan for any other loose parts and tighten them to prevent future problems.
5. Lubricate the fan motor
How to know if the fan motor is the source of the noise? Remove the fan blades and let it run without them. If the motor is a few years old and it’s suddenly causing extra noise, it’s probably at the end of its life.
Before replacing it though, it may be worth lubricating it first to see if it makes a difference. Lubricate the motor bearings. They’re found on each end of the motor, in the very center, where the fan shaft is located. My best recommendation is to use 3 in 1 oil for lubrication.
6. Replace the fan motor
You can replace the old motor with a new motor that fits your model. It’s best to get the same motor as the old one and made by the same company. Otherwise it may not connect well with other parts of the fan.
Although this is a viable option, I don’t actually recommend it. It’s a lot more difficult to replace the motor then it is to replace smaller parts like the fan blades.
Also, the motor is the most expensive part of the whole attic fan. It’s like replacing a processor in an old computer. It’s far easier and only slightly more expensive to simply buy a new computer, or an attic fan in this case. Not to mention that it’s a better investment because it ensures that everything will work properly and for longer.
7. Get a quieter attic fan
Attic fans usually last around 4-5 years if they’re used regularly. After that, different parts get worn down and require fixing or replacement. Perhaps you don’t feel like repairing it or you can’t find the right parts either.
The last remaining option is to replace your attic fan with a new and quieter model. The most popular attic fan today is the Smart Attic Gable Fan from QuietCool. In addition to being quieter than its competitors, it has extra valuable features. The best ones are:
- built-in thermostat and humidistat
- requires no wiring. Plug and play baby!
- 10 year guarantee
As the name says, it’s an attic fan that is installed on the gable. To do so, you’ll need to install an attic gable mount. If you have one already, that’s probably fine. According to several comments this automatic one works really well with the SmartAttic model. Many users also get these vibration isolators to further cut down on impact noise.
How to install an attic fan
If you’ve never installed an attic fan before, it’s worth checking out a few videos to see how it’s done. This is the best installation tutorial on Youtube:
Alternatively, you can hire a professional to do it for you and save yourself the hassle.
We all know how annoying and troublesome noisy attic fans can be. When experiencing this problem, I suggest checking for easy and cheap solutions, such as bent or unbalanced fan blades that might have to balanced or replaced, and to see if the bearings need lubrication.
However, if those options don’t provide the answer you’re looking for, investing in new, quieter equipment will definitely fix the problem. Hope this helps!