04:20PM | 07/06/05
Member Since: 07/05/05
16 lifetime posts
hi. I have a 1 year old home, and my gable fan (actually, it's attached to one of the walls of my home, flush against the wall, so not sure if that's gable or a ridge fan or similar), in the attic, is not working properly. it's set to come on when it gets to be 110 degrees up there, and it's coming on, but it's pulsating. essentially, when it's on, the fan speeds up and slows down. no, there's no wind's been doing this for the past week or so. i checked the wires, and from what i could tell, the connections are not loose. any ideas of what it may be, and how i can fix it? thanks for your help.

Jim D

11:54PM | 07/06/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
DOGGER - hi, one thought is the thermostat tied into the fan may be starting to fail. If you can, turn off the power to the fan, then adjust the setting downward so it kicks on at a lower temperature. Restore the power to the fan and see if it does the same thing. If it comes on and runs at a constant speed, then the thermostat may be developing/have developed a "dead spot" at the former setting. Post back with the results and let us know how it went. Good luck! Jim D/West Point, VA


03:55PM | 07/07/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Seen this before. The fans rarely operate during the cold season and have a tendency to freeze up. Once the weather turns warm and the attic heats up, the thermostat tells the fan to turn on. The problem is, due to winter condensation on the motor shaft, rust develops between the shaft and bearings. Then the motor burns out.

If you have an oiler fitting, try to lubricate the fan. Sometimes this cures the problem.

If you don't, pull the motor-SHUT circuit off first--and get a replacement.

Find brand name and go from there.


04:29PM | 07/07/05
Member Since: 07/05/05
16 lifetime posts
i went up in the attic and tooled around a little bit, and found out that the 2X4 that the fan is rigged to was/is vibrating and thus causing the noise.... couple of nails and it's a pretty simple fix. thanks for help with troubleshooting.

on another note, i honestly don't know if the fan helps cool the house. i mean, i'm sure it clears out some of the hot air in the attic, slowly but surely, but A) it's still a furnace in there and B) my AC bill is still pretty steep. any idea what the scuttlebutt is in terms of the fan actually helping the bottom line? thanks.

Jim D

12:30AM | 07/08/05
Member Since: 01/06/01
342 lifetime posts
DOGGER - hi, thanks for posting back to let us know. As for your attic ventilation query, there's been some good recent discussions in the Roofing & Siding area of this BBS. You should look there and see what's been discussed.

The very quick answer - the fan is only 1 type of ventilation and the attic area should have 2 types. The types used have to let a certain amount of air flow through to be effective. Some types can work against each other, e.g., a gable fan and roof ridge vents...the methods used need to work together, e.g., soffit vents and a gable fan.

Unless you've got an AC duct run into your attic area, or a broken duct letting cold air into the attic, the attic temp shouldn't affect your AC bill. You may need to do (or have the local electric company do) an energy efficiency exam of your house, where they look for window drafts, etc., that would let the cold air escape/hot air in, which would push up the bill. Also, your system may need a Freon recharge or it may have clogged filters, forcing the system to work harder. I just went through having my indoor air handler replaced due to multiple coil leaks. The installer found and removed one of those mohair permanent filters from the new unit because most people forget about them and they clog up over time. I have the standard fiberglas disposable filters on my air return ducts, which I replace the first Saturday of every month otherwise.

I hope this helps some - it's not my area of expertise but I read what the experts post here. Good luck! Jim D/West Point, VA
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