Last 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