What To Do When Your Range Hood Isn’t Working

By Lyle Weischwill | Jul. 30, 2023 8:39 am PST

Common range hood issues

A well-functioning range hood is an essential component of any modern kitchen, effectively whisking away cooking odors, smoke and grease. However, when you find the range hood not working, it can lead to frustration and concern. Understanding the common failures that occur with vent hoods, such as no power at all, fans refusing to spin or struggling to pull air, or lights that simply refuse to illuminate, fear not. You may be able to fix the range hood yourself as we delve into the potential problems and solutions.

Why Won’t My Range Hood Won’t Power Up?

If you find the range hood is completely dead, start with the obvious by ensuring the power cord is plugged into the electrical outlet. If it’s plugged in but not working, try checking the outlet by unplugging the range hood and testing the outlet with a hair dryer or night light. If the outlet is dead, check and reset the house circuit breaker, then recheck the outlet. If it’s still not working, you’ll need to contact an electrician for assistance.

If the outlet is working, you’ll likely need to have a Sears Technician diagnose and repair the range hood.

Why Doesn’t My Range Hood’s Fan Work?

Fan Doesn’t Turn On

When the blower fan doesn’t even turn on but the lights work, a failed electronic control board, faulty user interface, bad fan switch, wiring failure or failed fan motor can keep a range hood fan from running.

If you’re confident that you can troubleshoot the problem yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the range hood and check the wire harness connections between the control and the fan motor. Reconnect any loose wires and repair any damaged wires. With the range hood still unplugged, check the electronic control board for burn marks that indicate a control board failure and replace the control board if you find burn marks on the circuit board.
  2. If your range hood uses a user interface control to start the fan, you may need to replace the user interface if it isn’t sending signals to the electronic control board when you press the fan button. A user interface control is a keypad and display panel that sends signals to the electronic control board through a ribbon wire cable when you press its selection buttons. DIY testing of the user interface control isn’t available for most range hoods. If the electronic control board doesn’t activate the fan when you press the fan button on the user interface control, you’ll likely need to replace the electronic control board. If the fan still doesn’t work after replacing the electronic control board, you’ll likely need to replace the user interface control.
  3. If your range hood uses a switch to activate the fan motor, test the fan switch for continuity using a multimeter (with the range hood still unplugged) to see if the switch allows current to flow to the fan when you turn the switch on. Replace the fan switch if you measure no continuity through the switch with the switch turned on. If the switch or the electronic control board sends current to the fan motor but the fan motor doesn’t run, you’ll likely need to replace the fan motor (if the wires between the switch and the fan are good).

Here’s a video that shows how to check continuity using a multimeter:

If you get to a point where you need to have a professional diagnose and repair the range hood, schedule a service call through Sears Home Services.

Fan Doesn’t Pull Much Air

When your range hood fan runs but it isn’t pulling much air, clogged air filters, air duct problems, a fan motor failure or a broken fan blade could be causing poor air suction.

Follow these DIY troubleshooting steps to resolve an air suction problem with your range hood:

  1. If your range hood exhausts some air to the outside of your home, check the condition of the grease filters. Wash or replace the grease filters if dirty.
  2. Check the air damper on the vent duct cap attached to the outside of your house. That air damper keeps outside air from flowing into your home when the range hood fan isn’t running. Repair or replace the air damper if it doesn’t open to allow range hood exhaust air to flow out of the exhaust duct.
  3. Examine the damper above the fan in the range hood to make sure that damper opens properly to allow air to flow out through the exhaust duct system. You can use the installation instructions for your range hood to access and check that damper.
  4. Check the fan blade for damage because a damaged fan blade won’t move air through the range hood properly. Replace the fan blade if damaged.
  5. A weak fan motor won’t turn the fan blade at the right speed to move air through the range hood. If the fan motor makes noise or doesn’t turn the fan blade at full speed when activated, replace the fan motor. If your range hood recirculates the air back into the kitchen (non-ducted installation) and uses a charcoal recirculation filter, a clogged filter can diminish airflow through the range hood. Replace the charcoal filter if you haven’t replaced it according to the guidelines in your owner’s manual. Next, check the condition of the grease filters and wash or replace the grease filters if dirty. Check the damper above the fan to make sure it opens properly so exhaust air can pass through the damper and recirculation filter. Repair or replace the air damper if it’s stuck closed. Check the fan blade for damage and replace the fan blade if damaged. If the fan motor makes noise or doesn’t turn the fan blade at full speed when activated, replace the fan motor.

If you get to a point where you need to have a professional diagnose and fix your range hood, schedule a Sears Technician to visit your home and repair the range hood.

Why Won’t My Range Hood’s Lights Work?

Failures such as a defective electronic control board, bad user interface control, broken light switch, bad light bulb sockets or a wiring failure can prevent the lights from working.

Follow these DIY troubleshooting steps to resolve lighting problems with your range hood:

  1. Unplug the range hood and check the wire harness connections between the light sockets and the control board or light switch. Reconnect any loose wires and repair any broken wires.
  2. If the light socket wiring is okay, check the electronic control board for burn marks. Replace the control board if you see burn marks because the burn marks indicate a control board failure.
  3. If your range hood uses a user interface control to control the lights, you may need to replace the user interface if it isn’t sending signals to the electronic control board when you press user interface buttons.
  4. DIY testing of the user interface control isn’t available for most range hood models. If the electronic control board doesn’t activate the lights, you’ll likely need to replace the electronic control board. If the lights still don’t work after replacing the control board, you’ll likely need to replace the user interface control.
  5. If your range hood uses a switch to control the lights, unplug the range hood and test the switch for continuity using a multimeter to see if the switch allows current to flow to the lights when you turn the switch on. Replace the switch if you don’t measure continuity through the switch when it’s turned on.
  6. With new light bulbs installed and the range hood unplugged, check for continuity through the light sockets with new light bulbs installed. Replace the sockets if you don’t measure continuity through the sockets with new bulbs installed.

Troubleshooting Your Range Hood Issues

These DIY troubleshooting steps will help you resolve problems in most types of range hoods installed over the range or cooktop. But if these steps don’t help you fix the problem, schedule an appointment with a Sears range hood expert to repair it.

What is the life expectancy of a range hood?

Depending on the model and how frequently you use it, the average lifespan of a range hood is 15 years. With proper care, some range hoods can last up to 20 years.

How can I improve my kitchen hood?

Keeping the range hood and filters is the single-most important factor in improving range hood performance. A clogged filter prevents airflow through the vent system and places undue strain on the fan motor. Grease splatters left on surfaces of the range hood could, over time, cause damage to the finish.

Sears Home Services Can Assess and Fix Your Range Hood Issues

Sears Home Services has been helping American home owners for decades with their appliance repair needs. Our repair experts receive extensive training to quickly identify and repair failures that occur with range hoods, regardless of the brand or where it was purchased.

Has your oven stopped working and you’re considering a replacement? Our experts have put together a list of things to consider before you buy a new oven. If you’re in need of range or oven repair, we can help you with that too.

While the Sears Technician is in your home, consider having the tech perform preventative maintenance on your other appliances. Sears Techs can perform annual preventive maintenance on these common kitchen and laundry appliances:

  • Range or stove
  • Cooktop
  • Wall Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Washer
  • Dryer

Bundle appliance maintenance for additional savings. Regular maintenance of your appliances can help prevent costly breakdowns and extend the life of your appliances.

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