Bathroom Fan Starts Slowly or after a while: HOW To Fix

When you first begin using your bathroom fan, it might sputter and whir for a brief moment before settling into a steady hum. This is not ideal, of course, but most fans continue working perfectly fine even if they don’t start at lightning speed every time. 

Even so, if your ceiling fan continues to run slowly or doesn’t turn on as often as you would like, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem and get it back up to speed again. 

Checking the fan and its control panel is the first place you should look when your bathroom fan starts running slowly or not at all. The control panel could simply be set incorrectly or have broken parts that need replacing.

 If multiple switches or lights aren’t working properly, this might be an indication of a larger problem like a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. Let’s examine this! 

Before we start it is important to note that you have to be careful. Don’t touch electric wires if you don’t have experience with this. Turn off the electricity before you start and wear protective equipment. An electrical tester is also a tool that is needed for this type of work.

Check the Fan itself

Turn off the power

Check if the remote is working. It is possible that the bathroom fan doesn’t get a signal because there is an issue with the remote or button that activates it. If this isn’t the case, we will have to explore further. 

You can also check the settings of your fan to see if something changed. It is often possible to set how fast a fan has to turn. If it is turning too slow, it is possible that humid air builds up and takes a long time to get removed.

Before you do anything else, turn off the power to the bathroom fan. This will keep you from getting shocked if something electrically goes wrong, and it will also help prevent damage to the fan from running it with power still on. Wear protective equipment such as gloves, worker boots and goggles.

Remove the cover

Most bathroom fans have covers made of plastic or metal. If yours does, remove it to expose the motor and blades. In most instances, there is a small screw that you have to remove to get the cover off. It is also possible that there are clips that you have to push together. Don’t force things as this plastic or metal piece can break. You shouldn’t do this when the blades are still turning. You can use a small ladder if needed.

If you haven’t opened the cover for a few years, you might have to use a prying tool to get it loose. Dirt and dust can accumulate and make it harder to remove the cover from the wall.

Check the motor of the bathroom fan

If you don’t know how the motor in your bathroom fan is supposed to work, look it up in the manual. You can also use an electric meter to check if the motor is still working fine. You can often hear this working when it is active. If it is making weird noises or smells bad, it can indicate that something is wrong with it.

If the motor is dirty, clean it. If it appears to be burned out, replace it. You need to have some experience with electricity to work on this. Ask an electrician if you don’t know what is going on. Be careful when you work on a motor and make sure that the electricity is turned off!

Clean the bathroom fan blades

If your bathroom fan is not blowing air out of the vent, you may need to clean the blades. Use a can of air dusters to remove dust, cobwebs, and other debris.

After dusting, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean the inside of the bathroom fan. Use a damp cloth or soft brush to remove any excess dust or hair from the bathroom fan blades.

Make sure the bathroom fans in other rooms in your home are turned off when cleaning the bathroom fan blades. If you aren’t careful, you could damage the blades on other fans.

Also, check the cover outside your home to see if nothing is blocking it. Sometimes birds are building a nest on top of this, restricting the airflow. 

You can remove the outside cover and clean the exhaust drain. Removing dirt from the drain with a vacuum can also help to make the fan work again. It can be an annoying job but can really improve the airflow and remove a lot of dust from it.

Install a new bathroom fan

If your old bathroom fan is not working, you can probably just replace it with the same model. Sometimes replacing the blades is enough. This is quite easy and can be done with a screwdriver. Adding a new motor is generally easy as it slides in clips. You then just have to plug it back in.

in other instances, you will have to completely install a new fan. This is harder to do. To do this, you will have to remove screws to get it out. You will also have to work on the wires to do this so it requires some experience with electricity.

You will have to attach the new fan to the exhaust hose with zippers. Be sure to install the electricity correctly. Then you just have to attach the fan with screws and test it.

If you don’t find the same model, try to find one that has the same dimensions. If you have to cut the drywall, it will be more work and can make things more complicated. Check how loud and powerful the fan is when you get one. Newer units have sensors as well, making them more efficient.

Check the switch and electric cables

If your fan seems to be running slowly or not at all, the first thing you should check is the switch and the electric cables.

You can test the cable with a multimeter. Make sure that the electricity is turned off before you work on them!

Also, check if the switch of the fan is working properly. Sometimes there is some dirt inside of them that makes them harder to turn on.

Check the Circuit Breaker

If a circuit breaker trip and shuts off the power, the bathroom fan won’t run at all. 

The circuit breaker will shut off power to the whole house to prevent a flash or fire from damaging the house. 

If you’ve recently plugged in a new appliance, added a lot of new lights, or perhaps plugged in a device that isn’t UL rated, the circuit breaker could trip and shut off the power to the bathroom fan. In some instances, the circuit breaker might have tripped but it is stuck. This can affect your electrical appliances.

Bathrooms are very moist and humid parts of your home. This can affect the electrical wires and circuit breaker. Make sure that the bathroom fan is installed far enough from the shower or faucets. Water can make your electrical appliances break down faster.


Bathroom fans are an essential part of any bathroom. They help remove excess moisture, excess humidity, and odors from bathrooms and are generally considered a must-have item in any bathroom. 

However, they can sometimes malfunction and become less efficient than they should be. There are several common reasons for this, including a clogged filter, a dirty fan, a faulty switch, and broken wires. If you’ve noticed that your bathroom fan isn’t working as well as it should be, you can use these tips to troubleshoot the problem and get it up and running again.

 If you’ve tried all of these troubleshooting steps and your bathroom fan still isn’t running, you should call a professional to look at it and make sure it isn’t something more serious.

We have discussed what to do when your bathroom fan won’t turn off here.