Troubleshooting a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan

Harbor Breeze ceiling fanLast autumn, we bought a ceiling fan at Lowe’s Hardware. It was one of their store brand fans, called the Harbor Breeze*. Installation went smoothly and the fan worked fine (although we still don’t understand what all the switches on the remote do! There are three different ways to turn on the light, for instance), and we were happy with our purchase.

About three months after I installed it, there was a day when the fan suddenly wouldn’t function right. Or rather, some days it would work fine, other days it would run for a few seconds and then stop. Sometimes, reversing the turn direction of the blades would make it work again for a while. I realized that I was going to have to stop running it until I had time to troubleshoot the issue. Online research pointed at a possible short in the wires, probably caused by sloppy installation, either when I installed it or when the builders put the wires in the wall.

After getting the fan down from the ceiling, I inspected all the wires and did a continuity check on everything, using a multimeter. All switches and power looked fine, and there was no damage to any wires. While I was cleaning dust out of the unit, I noticed that a small part, shaped like a shoe box (about .5″x.75’x1″), was loose, and I tightened that screw and then tightened all other screws and bolts.

During re-installation, I discovered that the fan blades would no longer turn freely. I took the unit apart again, and realized that the shoe box thing had come loose and toppled sideways, dragging the wiring harness out to the side. This was stopping the circular blade mount from turning freely. The cheesy plastic flange at the end of the component had completely broken off. I used some of that blue adhesive putty and some tape to hold the component** in place and reassembled the unit. The fan now works perfectly again, and I thought I’d share this in hopes that it may help someone else struggling with what may seem like an issue with the motor, switch, or remote, when it’s actually a mechanical issue.

I’m going to keep an eye on my fan and if it starts acting up, I’ll know that the first thing to do is use something stronger to hold that component in place. Probably something like Gorilla Glue.

I’d strongly suggest to the engineers at Harbor Breeze that they strengthen the mounting flange on that “shoe box” component!




*Harbor Breeze Platinum Portes 52-in Brushed Nickel Downrod Mount Ceiling Fan with Light Kit and Remote Control, Item #: 451821 | Model #: LP8293LBN

**I suspect it may be the radio receiver for the remote control

Liberate tasks from your inbox

Michael Linenberger: Liberate tasks from your inbox | 43 Folders:
“When you see a requested action in an email, don’t do it immediately. It might be one of the least important things for you to do that day. Instead, immediately identify what the action is and put the email in a task folder. Change the title so that it states what you need to do, and put a due date on it and a priority level. You can do that in 15 or 20 seconds. Then you move right on to the next email. Now you’ll get through your to-do email remarkably fast. Drag all of your other emails into a process folder, so you now have an empty inbox, which is a really nice feeling. The next thing you do is go to your task list and ask, “What are the most important things I need to do today?? That’s the stuff that would keep you from going home at the end of the day.”

80% Fat Free Notebook

I’ve added another item to the “80% Fat-Free” universe… the 80% Fat Free Notebook. This is built with the new “Google Notebook” technology. Not sure how I’ll use it compared to how I use this blog or my site. I’ve heard this called “Google’s killer” but I don’t see it as the same thing. One is for noting sites, one is for noting fragments of content.