Bathroom Fan Repair

Published on August 4, 2023 at 6:47 am by LEW


Have you ever had a really noisy bathroom fan that suddenly just goes silent? Not really silent, if one listens carefully one can here a low humming sound. Ah yes, the bearings have been going bad on the fan motor for a while now, and the motor has finally stalled.

Since this is a rental, a call to the landlord is in order. The landlord can get someone out there in a few weeks, and it is going to cost him five hundred plus dollars. Don’t want to wait a few weeks with a steamy bathroom. So I tell him I can look for a replacement fan at one of the big-box hardware stores and get it replaced today for under a hundred dollars. I will just deduct the cost from the rent.

Identify a Replacement

I have already looked at the fan to make sure it was somewhat standard. If a bathroom fan is not standard, it can get a bit complected to repair. Pulling the bathroom fan apart, it is easy to identify the type.

Old Fan parts New Fan parts

The outside cover said Nautilus, however once I had it apart I could see it was actually a Broan. As I had hoped, this is pretty standard and it was not hard to find a kit at both the big box hardware stores in the area. The kit was around $60 US. it included the motor, fan, mounting plate, and grill.

Time to Fix the Fan

Now we get to the fun stuff, the actual repair.

First we need to drop the grill to see inside. It pulls straight down a couple of inches.

Colver Up Cover Down

Safety first. Make sure the power is off and the fan is unplugged. The plug is located inside the vent box. Then remove the cover which is held in by a couple of v shaped wires

Fan Plug Cover Wires

On the fan mounting plate there Are two tabs on one side, and a single tab on the opposite side. These tabs are about a ¼” deep and sit in slots in the vent housing. Use a flat bladed screw driver to disengage the single tab, and you will be able to easily remove the entire plate, fan and all.

Plate tab Housing tab

Once out, you can simply replace the motor and fan (two nuts/screws) on either the old plate or the new plate that came with the kit.

Once done, simply reverse the process to reassemble. If you are reasonably competent with hand tools, you should be able to do this job in less than thirty minutes.

One issue I came across, the original cover was rectangular instead of square. The new cover from the kit was a square. I could have used the new cover, but that would have meant doing some drywall work around the fan opening and then repainting. So I simply reused the old cover.


This was a rather easy job to complete. The big problem being working above ones head. As long as the bathroom fan is a standard design, the motor can be changed out fairy quickly.

The old and new covers being different shapes was a little annoying. But I will store the new cover someplace, and when the bathroom gets repainted, someone can do the minor drywall work to make the new cover look correct when installed.

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