What To Do if Your Range Hood Isn’t Working

When your range hood breaks down, it's likely one of these four problems. Here's how you can fix each one.

Next Project
Time

30 minutes

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$5–10

Introduction

When they're working, range hoods make cooking much more pleasant. The light illuminates your cooking area and the exhaust fan pulls away airborne grease, steam and smoke.

In more than 30 years as an appliance technician, I've seen most everything that can go wrong with a range hood: squealing fans, burned-out lights, no power and fans that don't turn on. Here, I'll show you how to fix these four common range hood problems.

Here is a video on how to lubricate the fan bearings and how to change the lightbulbs.

Tools Required

  • Brush
  • Flashlight
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Protective gloves

Materials Required

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Replacement light bulb
  • Spray lubricant

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Noisy fan

  • Remove range hood filter(s).

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  • Listen carefully for which fan is making the noise. (Some range hoods have more than one fan.)
  • Go to your electrical service panel and turn off the breaker for the range hood. Ensure the power is off by trying the lights or the fan. If they don’t turn on, you’re good to go.
  • Remove any metal or plastic grille protecting the fan blades.
  • Spin the fan by hand. This can help to identify what’s causing the noise. Always wear protective gloves whether the blades are metal or another material; there could be sharp edges.
  • As you spin it, use a flashlight to see if the fan blade is rubbing against anything. If you see it rubbing, reach up beyond the fan and try pushing the motor with your hand slightly to the right or left. Try spinning the blade again to see if it sounds better.
  • If the fan squeals, the motor bearings probably need lubrication.
  • Remove the bottom metal plate from the range hood by loosening the perimeter Phillips-head screws.
  • Grab pliers and loosen the bolt that holds the fan blade to the motor shaft. Then pull off the fan blade.

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  • Squirt spray lubricant where the shaft comes out of the fan motor.
  • Spin the motor shaft by hand to see if it sounds better. Add more spray lubricant if the squealing sound persists.

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  • Reinstall the fan blade and tighten the retaining bolt.
  • Reinstall the range hood bottom plate.
  • Reinstall the protective fan grille.
  • Turn on the circuit breaker and test the fan.

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Step 2

The lights don’t work

  • If the fan spins but one or more of the lights don’t turn on, replace the bulbs.
  • Go to your electrical service panel and turn off the breaker for the range hood. Make sure the power is off by trying to turn on the fan.
  • Remove any glass cover protecting the bulbs.

Lights don't workScott the Fix-it Guy for Family HandymanScott the Fix-it Guy for Family Handyman

  • Reach in and turn the bulb counterclockwise until it comes out. Some models need just a one-quarter turn. For halogen bulbs, gently pull the bulb straight out of the ceramic power connector.
  • Install new bulbs.
    • Note: With halogen bulbs, hold it with a tissue so the oil from your skin doesn’t come in contact.
  • Reinstall any protective bulb covers.
  • Turn the circuit breaker back on.

Lights don't workScott the Fix-it Guy for Family HandymanScott the Fix-it Guy for Family Handyman

Step 3

Fans and lights don’t work

  • Go to your electrical service panel and turn off the breaker for the range hood. Then turn it all the way back on until it clicks.
  • If there are cabinets above the range hood, check for a power outlet and plug for your range hood. Make sure the plug is all the way in the outlet.
  • If the fans and lights still aren’t working, the range hood’s internal fuse has blown. Call a pro to replace the fuse.

fans and lights dont workScott the Fix-it Guy for Family Handyman

Step 4

Dirty filters

  • Range hoods pull away steam and oil vapor. The oil residue builds up on the filters and restricts airflow.
  • Gently push your filter to one side by one-quarter inch to release it from its mounting.
  • Put your filter/filters in the lower rack of your dishwasher and run it on its hottest cycle. It’s OK to wash your filters along with your dishes.
  • No dishwasher? Scrub your filters with hot water, dishwashing liquid and a brush to make them clean and bright again.

And here’s a range hood filter cleaning hack you can try.

dirty filtersScott the Fix-it Guy for Family Handyman