Our whole house fan timer counts down as it should but when it nears the 'off' position, it stops there and never shuts off. Is this likely an issue with just the switch itself (eg I just have to replace it) or could it be a larger issue?

It's an attic fan from the 60s with a timer switch on the wall to control it. The dial looks like this:

enter image description here

Thanks in advance for your help!

  • You know the part where it says "Turn past 2"? You really need to do that. In fact, turn it past 3. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 11 '18 at 17:15
  • I think it's faulty as I turn it to 4 before setting but it's a good reminder. Someone told me to try turning it all the way around before setting and see if that helps. But thank you! – Nicole May 12 '18 at 22:07

Your timer is a spring wound timer that is simply getting stuck. Replace it.

It’s also possible that it’s not screwed together quite right, too tight or too loose either one can cause the knob to bind on the plate.

Also if you’re setting a short time period under 2 hours, turn well past 2 first (to wind the timer) then backup to the desired time such as 1 hour. (That instructions once existed on the installation/operation instructions but it seems Intermatic no longer specifically details that on the printed sheet.)

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    That's a good idea, seeing if it's not screwed together correctly. I'll check that first before replacing. Thank you! – Nicole May 12 '18 at 22:06

I've had brand new timers of this type fail to unwind all the way and stick on.

The root cause was right there where it says "Turn past 2". *It does not say "turn TO 2". It says turn past it, and meaningfully so, not just to 2.01.

Try that, I bet the problem goes away.

If not, those timers are about $18.

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  • I typically turn it to 4 before setting. So my guess is it's bad. Thank you! – Nicole May 12 '18 at 22:06

Those timers go out like that quite regularly. I have a couple at work that fail in the same way every couple years or so. But they are cheap and it isn’t a big deal when they fail other than costing a little extra electricity so we just change them when they stick.

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