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How to Fix a Broken Fan

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Next up, we’re going to Carol in Kentucky who has a fan that worked but now it doesn’t work.

    What happened, Carol?

    CAROL: The switch on the fan itself, that has a light fixture that goes to it too, the fan quit working and I found the little switch and it was broken practically in half.

    TOM: OK.

    CAROL: And I took it off and took it to get a new switch. Well, now that I have the new switch, I don’t know which wire goes in which hole in the new switch.

    TOM: Are they colored?

    CAROL: They are colored but the little new switch, it has a 1, 2, 3 and an L.

    TOM: Well, can’t you go wire for wire? In other words, take the number 1 wire, put it on the number 1 position; number 2 on the number 2 position; and so on. If you go wire for wire, you should be OK.

    LESLIE: Have you already removed the old switch and now you don’t know where they went originally?

    CAROL: That’s the problem. They told me after the fact. First of all, I was getting the wrong switch to begin with and they told me …

    TOM: Oh, so you saw that it was labeled 1, 2, 3 but you just pulled the wires off without labeling it?

    CAROL: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Well, here’s an idea. Can you take a picture – do you have like a digital camera or a Polaroid? Take a picture of the wires and bring it to your local home improvement center and go to an electrician department and say, “Heck, what do I do here?”

    CAROL: I’ve talked to them. They said that every fan is wired differently and they could not tell me; that I need to have an electrician.

    TOM: Yeah, I think they’re right because we really can’t tell how this is wired. When you told me that they were marked, I was like, “Well, easy. Go wire for wire.” But if you’ve already taken it apart …

    CAROL: I’ve already taken it apart and I notice there’s a white wire that goes to where you reverse the fan.

    TOM: Right.

    CAROL: To that switch.

    TOM: Yeah.

    CAROL: And there’s a little center black box in the center and all it has is the blue one and a yellow one.

    TOM: The blue one’s usually power for the light part of it. Yeah, but I really can’t possibly tell you. Do you know what the manufacturer is of the fan?

    CAROL: Yes.

    TOM: Why don’t you call the manufacturer directly?

    CAROL: Oh. Alright. That’s a good idea.

    LESLIE: Because they’ll be most familiar with that model. Because we don’t want to tell you something wrong and then you put it in and it shorts it or, worse, something happens that could be dangerous.

    TOM: Yeah, and if worse comes to worse, what you might need to do is take the fan down, take the blades off, and ship the motor and the switch to the manufacturer and let them repair it.

    CAROL: Right. OK. Well, I’m thinking that I could probably just get a new one. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Well, that – you could do that, too, because you know they’re not that expensive today. I think you can buy a new fan for about 40 bucks.

    CAROL: Right. This one happened to be the most expensive one of all the ones I had put in.

    LESLIE: Aw.

    TOM: Well look, if you really love it, call the manufacturer and see if they can help you.

    LESLIE: Call them up.

    TOM: And you know, maybe there’s a repair center somewhere nearby where it won’t be that expensive to do it.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I’m sure there’s a customer service person who’s willing to help you.

    CAROL: Well, that sounds like a good idea.

    TOM: Alright, well there’s your plan. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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