Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Repair, Resell or Replace?

To circulate the air in our house on hotter days, we use a Honeywell commercial-grade fan. It has been in our service for about 4 years & each summer, we've had at least a couple weeks where it was pushed to its mechanical limits. About a week ago, the blades would no longer turn when switching the fan on. Instead, we'd hear an electrical hum of the motor trying to soldier through.

At that point, I assessed our options: 1 - consider it dead & purchase a replacement, 2 - take it in to a small motors repair shop, 3 - sell it on Craigslist or Kijiji. I didn't like any of these options. I could hear that the motor worked, so I loathed the idea of sending it to the dump. I wasn't keen on spending money to have it repaired considering the repair costs would be almost the price of a new one and lastly, I knew that trying to sell it off would return less than the fan was worth.

With that, I decided to try to fix it myself. I had never successfully repaired the guts of such a fan before, but I figured that since it wasn't serving its purpose anymore, then we'd be no worse off for trying.

As I disassembled the cage and then the casing for the motor itself, I was careful to note the position & orientation of each component and I also cleaned the gunk off as I went. Getting the blades off was tricky, but after that was done, the rest came apart very easily. Once I had it apart, it was simple to see that there was no longer any lubrication inside the spindle pocket at the back of the motor or on the spindle at the cap of the motor - underneath where the blades and electromagnet do their thing.

I wondered what I had around the house that could work. I knew that WD-40 wasn't appropriate because it wouldn't last long & would not tolerate the heat that the fan produces on its parts. Then I remembered that I still had half a tube of brake caliper grease from when I replaced the rotors and pads on our car in our driveway. that stuff is made exactly for this sort of lubrication. After finding it, I grinned all the way back to the fan parts that littered our sunroom floor. Once the appropriate parts were lubed, I asked the kids to vacate the room and reassembled the fan except for the front cage so that I could test my work. Sure enough, it now runs like butter. With its front cage back on, the fan has re-entered strenuous work on our behalf during what is turning out to be a most heavy, dry heatwave.

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