Why Aren’t My Range Vent Hood’s Fan And Lights Working?

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You depend on your over the range vent hood to quickly remove the steam, grease, and food odors that can naturally occur every time you use the cooktop to fry, boil, or flambé. If the vent hood is malfunctioning, your dinner guests will likely be alarmed when the smoke wafting into the dining room sets off the piercing shriek of the smoke detector. While Repair Clinic has already addressed the six reasons an over the range vent hood can fail to vent properly, the failure of the vent hood’s fan and lights to work can be an equally perplexing problem… and one with a different set of causes.

Let’s do a refresher on how an over the range vent hood works, then take a look at the four unique reasons why the appliance’s fan and lights aren’t operating as expected.

How a range vent hood works

A range vent hood, also known as a kitchen hood or exhaust hood, is an appliance installed directly over a kitchen stove or cooktop to remove smoke, steam, and odors from cooking. The hood typically consists of a canopy, a fan, and a filter system.

The canopy captures the smoke and steam and directs it toward the filter system

When the stove or cooktop is in use, the range vent hood’s fan draws the air and fumes upwards and out of the kitchen. The canopy captures the smoke and steam and directs it toward the filter system. The filter system then removes the grease, smoke, and other impurities from the air before releasing it back into the kitchen or venting it to the outside of the home.

The filter system may consist of aluminum mesh, baffle, and charcoal filters

The filter system typically consists of one or more types of filters, such as mesh, baffle, and charcoal filters. The type of filter used will depend on the vent hood’s specific design and the cooking requirements. Mesh filters are made up of several layers of aluminum mesh and are designed to trap large particles, such as grease, that are produced during cooking. Baffle filters are made up of several layers of thin metal, typically stainless steel, that are curved and designed to trap smaller particles, such as those found in smoke. Charcoal filters are made up of activated carbon and are designed to absorb odors.

The vent hood may vent the air to the outside or recirculate it back into the kitchen

If the vent hood is designed to vent outside, the air is directed through a duct system that leads to the outside of the home. If the vent hood is designed to recirculate the air back into the kitchen, the air will exit a front vent after passing through a charcoal filter.

The fan is a crucial component of a range vent hood

The fan is a crucial component of a range vent hood and is responsible for drawing the air upwards and through the filter system. The fan is typically located on the top or rear of the vent hood and can be controlled using a switch or remote control. The fan’s speed can usually be adjusted to suit the cooking requirements, allowing for increased airflow when cooking produces more smoke and steam.

Proper maintenance is required

It is important to note that range vent hoods require regular maintenance to ensure they are functioning correctly. The filters in the vent hood need to be cleaned or replaced regularly, depending on the type of filter and frequency of use. Neglecting to maintain the filters can lead to a buildup of grease and impurities, reducing the vent hood’s effectiveness and potentially leading to a fire hazard.

4 causes of your range vent hood fan and lights not working

If an over the range vent hood’s fan doesn’t work, there’s probably something wrong with the blower motor or the fan motor switch. If a light isn’t working, the bulb could be burned out or the light socket could be defective. But what if neither the fan nor the lights are working? Here are the four potential causes you should troubleshoot:

  1. Incoming power problem – If both the range vent hood’s fan and lights are not working, there may be a problem with the incoming power. You should check the home’s circuit breaker box or fuse box to see if a circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown. If applicable, you should also confirm that the electrical outlet the range vent hood is plugged into is providing proper voltage. You can do this by simply plugging the power cord of a small electrical product like a hair dryer into the same outlet to see if it works, or you can use a multimeter to test the outlet for voltage.
  2. Blown thermal fuse – If you’ve determined there is no problem with the incoming power, it’s likely that the thermal fuse in the range vent hood has blown. You can use a multimeter to test the fuse for electrical continuity – a continuous electrical path present in the fuse. If the fuse has continuity, it should allow voltage to reach the range vent hood’s fan and lights. However, if the fuse tests “negative” for continuity, you’ll know the fuse has blown and will need to be replaced.
  3. Defective switch – Does the thermal fuse test positive for electrical continuity? Then the next troubleshooting step is to determine if one or more of the fan or light switches are defective. Usually, a defective switch will result in either the fan or lights failing to turn on, but it’s possible that both functions may be affected, especially if the switches are all part of the same assembly. Again, you can use a multimeter to test the switch or switches for electrical continuity to help determine if the component is faulty. If you find the switch has no continuity, you’ve found the cause of the problem.
  4. Malfunctioning control board – It’s a less likely cause, but a malfunctioning control board could also be responsible for both the range vent hood’s fan and lights not working. Once more, you can use a multimeter to test the control board’s power output terminals to determine if the voltage is present, provided power is reaching the range vent hood and the fan and light switches are in the “on” position. If no voltage is present, the control board has likely failed and a new board will need to be installed. Since the control board is usually the priciest component in the range vent hood, you’ll want to make sure the other more likely faulty parts are all functioning normally.
Range Vent Hood Fan & Lights Not Working? Top 4 Reasons

Range vent hood repair know-how from Repair Clinic

Need some step-by-step guidance for replacing a selector switch assembly on a Frigidaire Range Vent Hood (Model FHWC3660LSA)? Repair Clinic has a video to show you how. Or, if you’d like to learn how to properly install a blower assembly in a KitchenAid Canopy Vent Hood (Model KVWB400DSS), we’ve got just the repair know-how you’re looking for. You can find detailed model-specific repair help such as this for all of your major home appliances, outdoor power equipment, and heating and cooling units. It’s all part of Repair Clinic’s free content library. Just enter the full model number of your appliance or equipment to begin your education.

Find genuine OEM range vent hood parts fast

In addition to providing unparalleled repair help, Repair Clinic stocks hundreds of genuine OEM range vent hood parts that can be shipped to you quickly so you can get the vent hood fixed in time for your next dinner party. Whether you need a new grease filter or two, a replacement lighting fixture, or a whole new blower motor, Repair Clinic has the part that matches your Arietta, Broan, Caloric, Dacor, Electrolux,  GE, Haier, Hotpoint, Ikea, Kenmore, KitchenAid, or Magic Chef range vent hood. To find the specific genuine manufacturer part your vent hood needs, enter the full model number of the appliance in the Repair Clinic website search bar to reveal a full list of compatible parts. You can then use the “Part Category” and “Part Title” navigation filters to narrow that list down to identify the exact part you’re looking for.

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