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My bathroom fan has not been working for a few years now, and I was thinking of changing it. I tested the wall switch, circuit breaker, GFCI outlet, and I believe the issue is the actual input plug/receptacle where one plugs the fan in. I tested it with a multimeter and it didn't work.

So is it feasible/possible for a homeowner to replace this plug by themselves or should we call someone? If someone could provide a bit of advice on how to go about replacing it, it would be appreciated. I also looked at home improvement stores online, but they don't seem to carry these plugs?

I have attached a photo of what I want to replace, for clarity.

Thanks!

enter image description here

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  • Assuming USA. While the fan motor connects to what looks like a standard plug format, but such a packaging of this plug is not standard - it is not surprising that you did not find it in a store.I believe this is just an internal connection for the entire fan unit (motor plus the box it is attached to), though I do not know if this is typical of newer units. Mine uses a Molex connection, but it is a DC motor.
    – blarg
    Dec 18, 2021 at 23:32
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    Is there a brand or model number visible on the fan? Dec 19, 2021 at 1:24
  • I've never heard of a plug going bad. What if you plugged a lamp into it (and turned the switch ON)? You could also plug the fan into a known working outlet to see if it is the fan. Dec 19, 2021 at 5:32
  • @SteveWellens yeah that thought came across my mind so I plugged in a lamp, but it did not work.
    – yyz101
    Dec 19, 2021 at 6:11
  • @NoSparksPlease I believe it is a Broan, not sure about the model.
    – yyz101
    Dec 19, 2021 at 6:11

2 Answers 2

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Turn breaker off first.

You need to remove the plate that the fan motor mounts to, it should be just a couple screws. Then usually you will find the receptacle is part of the electrical junction box, usually held in place by one screw. When you remove that screw you will usually find the receptacle is just held in by a couple little clips.

The replacement receptacle should be less than $10. Beware there is a website that sells them for $30+, keep looking.

The picture doesn't show obvious damage to the receptacle, I'm thinking your problem may be the wiring connection behind the receptacle, maybe even just a loose wirenut.

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  • Thanks! That website link is quite helpful. As per your last point, I believe I should then probably just check behind the receptacle first to check the wiring before buying a new one. Apart from any loose nuts, how feasible would it be to repair the wiring itself if the receptacle is not a problem?
    – yyz101
    Dec 19, 2021 at 6:14
  • That depends on the nature of the problem and your skill level.
    – Jasen
    Dec 19, 2021 at 9:39
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I wouldn't assume it is literally "the plug" that is the problem. What you should have is some sequence of cables/wires going from the panel to your wall switch to the box that holds this fan. The problem could be anywhere. Your trouble-shooting with a multimeter is helpful - not having power at this internal receptacle (assuming you test it properly in terms of the wall switch, circuit power, etc.) is a clue, but is not the entire picture. You need to check:

  • At the wall switch. If you don't have power, you need to check connections and/or backtrack through other devices all the way to the panel (if needed). Pay particular attention to "backstab" connections and any possible loose wire nuts.
  • Above the fan box. The fan motor plugs in so it can be replaced easily if it fails, and all motors fail eventually. If you can figure out the model # and/or match based on dimensions, speed (CFM) and power requirements then you can replace it if needed. But that fan screws into a box, which also contains the receptacle and may contain a light, etc. That box in turn screws into the ceiling somehow and you may be able to remove it from below or you may need to get above the ceiling to work on it.

I suspect the wires actually come into a junction box accessible if you partially disassemble ("remove the guts") the fan box without going into the ceiling. Again, you are trying to test power (do the disassembly with breaker off, turn on only to carefully test) at various points. Loose wire nuts or screw connections can cause problems. But problems can also be due to pests getting into the wires or water damage or other things.

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  • Thank you, I believe the wall switch and GFCI outlets are fine, so it might be the wiring. As per your last point, I believe I will look into the wiring of the junction box, it shouldn't be too hard as the fan should come off easily
    – yyz101
    Dec 19, 2021 at 6:17

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