Ceiling fans can keep you cool during hot summer days.
They can provide white noise to make it easier to fall asleep.
They can also cause problems when you can’t turn them off.
In this article, you will learn how to prevent your ceiling fan from becoming a danger by figuring out what’s wrong with it.
Ceiling Fan Won’t Turn Off (8 Possible Causes, Fixes)
There are eight reasons your ceiling fan won’t turn off.
Troubleshoot these reasons with their respective fixes to turn off your ceiling fan.
1. The Off Switch Is A Light Switch
If you didn’t install the ceiling fan yourself, then you can’t be sure where it’s wired.
The switch you think is responsible for turning the fan off may control the light instead.
It’s possible that another switch controls the fan elsewhere in the room.
Another possibility is that the installer forgot to wire the fan’s power to a switch.
Fix: Re-Wire The Light Switch To The Fan Switch
You should call an electrician if you have zero experience in handling wiring.
The electrician will need to move the wire connecting the light to the switch to the power for the fan instead.
This process can become complex because the electrician needs to follow the wire all the way to the switch.
If the wire ever turns in a different direction or goes through other channels, then they need to examine it.
The wire may be activating something else along the way to the switch.
Removing it may also affect the other switches that it connects to.
Once the electrician rewires the fan, you’ll be able to control it with the switch.
Instead of only making the light turn on and off, it will finally control the actual fan.
2. Too Quick Between Pull Chain Activation
Not all fans have an emergency brake.
They won’t immediately stop if you press the switch or pull the chain.
Instead, they slow down over time and eventually stop.
If you’re not aware of this, then you might think that the ceiling fan isn’t stopping.
It’s only working at a slower pace.
As a result, you pull the chain again.
The problem is that, while it was turning off, you turned it back on.
The cycle continues and it makes you think that the fan won’t shut off.
Fix: Wait 30 Seconds
The fix for this problem is easy.
You only need to wait 30 seconds between each pull of the chain.
Give the fan enough time to slow down and stop.
You likely did turn it off.
It takes time for the fan to completely stop.
If it’s still going, then pull the chain and wait another 30 seconds.
Try once more if it’s still not stopping.
If the fan continues to move and doesn’t slow down, then there’s a more serious problem.
3. There’s A Draft
Sometimes the problem isn’t with the fan.
The problem is a draft from a window, door, or vent.
You may think the ceiling fan won’t turn off, but it is actually off.
A draft may be causing the fan’s blades to move and appear as though the ceiling fan is on.
Vents are usually the culprit in this matter.
Whenever the AC or heat turns on, it blows forceful air through the room.
If the vent is in the ceiling, then it will blow air directly against the fan.
The fan turns, making you think that it’s still operating.
It may cause you to flip the switch or pull the chain.
The problem then is that you turned the fan on, so it definitely seems to be not turning off now.
Fix: Check For Drafts And Block Them
Turn the ceiling fan off as you normally would.
Then light a candle and check the area for drafts.
Hold the candle near the window and any doors to the room.
If the candle flickers while you’re holding still, then there’s a draft.
Sealing drafts is easy.
You need some caulk or some weather stripping.
Check your vents, too.
If any vents blow air at the fan, then you can direct the air elsewhere.
Partially close the vent to direct the air elsewhere.
You won’t receive as much heat or cool air in the room as a result.
However, your fan will stop turning.
4. The Fan Uses A Complex Turn-Off Protocol
Sometimes fans need to follow a certain protocol in order to shut off.
It’s not as simple as pressing a switch or pulling the chain.
For example, some fans that come with two wall switches may need you to press both within a certain timeframe.
Failure to do so may only shut off the light instead of the entire fan.
Certain pull string fans may need you to pull the chain twice within a certain period of time.
Not knowing the protocol means you’ll never be able to turn off the ceiling fan the correct way.
Fix: Consult The Manual
The fan’s manual will tell you how to shut it off.
It will give you detailed instructions on what buttons to press and how quickly to press them.
The same goes for pull chain fans.
The manual will tell you how many times you need to pull the chain and how quickly.
If you don’t have the manual, then you can search for your fan online.
Many manufacturers include an online manual for convenience.
5. Lamp And Fan Wires Are Jumpered Together
Some electricians will choose to jumper wires together.
They might have jumpered your light and fan switches together.
This means that you control both wires at the same time.
It’s a problem if you want to turn off the fan but still use the lights.
It can also be why your fan won’t shut off.
The wire connects to the light wire.
Any time you turn the lights on, the fan turns on, too.
Fix: Remove The Jumper Or Connect A Separately Switched Live Wire
One method is to remove the jumper.
This will allow you to control one aspect of the ceiling fan only.
It means that you can turn the fan on and off, but you won’t be able to control the lights.
To do so, remove the jumper that attaches the two wires.
Then insert the live wire into the slot on the fan that powers it.
When you flip the switch, the fan will turn on and off.
The other method allows you to control both features separately.
You’ll need to buy a second live wire.
Then run the second live wire from a new second switch on the wall to the port on the fan.
Now, you have two switches on the wall.
One controls the fan’s activation and deactivation.
The other controls the lights.
You’ll no longer turn the lights on and off and accidentally turn on the fan, too.
6. Pull Switch Is Broken
A pull chain fan activates when you pull the chain.
It clicks a switch that starts the fan’s motor.
Over time, the pull chain can start to degrade.
A piece of it that connects the chain to the switch can break off and fall inside of the fan.
Without that piece, the fan won’t turn off.
Fix: Search For The Pull String Part And Replace It
To determine if the problem rests with the pull chain, you need to search inside the fan.
Follow the chain up to the fan.
There’s a small hole where the chain connects to the small part that turns the fan on and off.
Reach inside of the hole and see if you can find a part lying inside of the hole.
If so, then the part fell off.
In some cases, you may be able to attach it again.
In most, you’ll need to replace it.
After replacing the part and the chain, the fan will be able to turn off whenever you pull the chain.
7. It’s A Remote-Controlled Fan
As fans become smarter, many of them use remote controllers to activate or deactivate.
Some may even connect to smart home devices.
The problem is if you buy a home with a remote-controlled fan and the previous owner didn’t tell you, then you have no way of knowing.
You may press every button in the house looking for a way to turn the fan off, yet nothing works.
The answer could be because it’s controlled by a remote controller.
The previous owner still has the controller.
Remotely controlled fans work by receiving a signal from the controller.
Without the signal, they will never respond.
Fix: Find The Fan’s App Or Buy A Universal Controller
You have two options to turn off a ceiling fan that’s remotely controlled.
The first is to find an app that controls the fan.
It may take some time to find the app that goes with the fan.
Start by figuring out the brand for the fan.
You might see a name on its base.
You can also try searching for remote control fans and looking for a visual match.
Once you find the app, download it onto your phone.
Through the app, you should be able to control the fan.
You may need to type in its serial number to activate its control settings.
In other cases, you can find apps that offer universal control over fans.
This app allows you to control any fan within range.
It emits a signal that the fan responds to and shuts off.
The second option is to buy a universal remote controller.
Not all fans are smart.
Some are only controlled by remote controllers.
An app won’t help in this case.
You can use a universal fan controller to turn the fan off.
The universal fan controller emits a signal that all remote fans can understand.
When you press the button to turn the fan off, it will finally shut off.
You can then use the controller to activate the fan later.
8. Fan Is Broken
Fans don’t have a long lifespan.
The average lifespan of a ceiling fan is 10 years.
If your ceiling fan won’t turn off and it’s been around 10 years, then it may be because it’s broken.
Anything from mechanical to electrical could be keeping the fan from working.
Something keeps it from receiving a signal to shut off.
When a fan reaches the end of its life, it’s no longer worth the effort or cost to repair it.
Fix: Replace The Fan
Instead, it’s a lot easier to just replace the fan with a new one.
Remove the old fan via its base and dispose of it the right way.
Take the time to inspect the electrical work.
An electrician can tell you if the wiring from the ceiling fan has a short or any other problem.
It’s also possible that a wire became loose and kept the fan from receiving its signal to turn off.
Once the wiring inspection is over, you can buy and install the new fan.
With brand new parts, the new fan should turn on and off without any problems.
Why Does Your Ceiling Fan Turn On By Itself?
Besides not turning off, your ceiling fan might end up turning on by itself.
Ghost stories aside, there’s likely an electrical or mechanical reason behind it.
There are three main reasons your ceiling fan may turn on by itself.
1. It’s Set To A Schedule By The Previous Owner
Smart fans or remote-controlled fans can sometimes follow a schedule.
The owner sets the schedule on the app.
When the time arrives, the app gives the fan a signal to turn on.
You can tell if your fan is set to a schedule if it always turns on at the same time.
This can be an annoying problem, especially if the previous owner didn’t warn you about the fan.
It’s easy to fix, however.
You only need to access the fan’s control through the app.
Then turn off the schedule or change it to your own lifestyle.
2. Faulty Wiring
One of the biggest reasons your fan turns on at random is faulty wiring.
One of its wires may be loose.
Whenever the loose wire touches a live wire, it sends a signal to the fan to start moving.
When the wire moves again and stops touching the live wire, then the fan shuts off.
This problem is fixable by inspecting the wiring and replacing the loose ones if necessary.
It’s also possible that the fan connects to another outlet or switch.
When someone uses the outlet or switch, then it may activate the fan.
This problem is fixable by rewiring the fan to another switch.
3. Circuit Breaker Has A Short
Finally, the circuit breaker may be malfunctioning.
It may give off an electric current to the ceiling fan even if the fan isn’t on.
The signal turns the fan on.
A power surge can fry the circuit breaker and wires.
It can cause the fan to turn on or off at random.
To fix it, you may need to replace the specific breaker for the fan on the circuit breaker panel.
Is Leaving Your Ceiling Fan On Dangerous?
A concern you might have if your ceiling fan doesn’t turn off is if it’s dangerous to allow it to continue running.
Yes, it is dangerous to leave your ceiling fan for days without letting it rest.
As the ceiling fan operates, its motor starts to warm.
Without a break to cool the motor, it only generates more and more heat.
Not only can this damage the motor, but it can also damage your wires.
The heat can also cause the wires to overheat.
When wires overheat, they fuse together.
The chances of an electrical fire increase from there.
The wires can also short out and cause damage to other appliances that are on the same circuit.
Turning off your ceiling fan occasionally and letting it cool can extend its lifespan and keep your home safe.
Being unable to turn off your ceiling fan can have serious consequences for your family and home.
These eight reasons can help you determine the cause behind the problem.
Then you can apply the right repair and finally turn off the fan.
Knowing how else a fan might suddenly turn on can also help you keep it off when it’s not needed.
In so doing, you can prevent electrical fires and keep your ceiling fan going strong for several more years.