Posted on: 15.11.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Bathroom vent fans are notorious for being loud, but if yours is buzzing, rattling, or knocking, there’s likely something wrong with it. As long as you know how to identify and fix the problem, keeping your fan quiet is an easy task that anyone can do!

Here are a few things that can cause a noisy bathroom vent fan:

  1. An old motor
  2. A heavily vibrating motor
  3. Blocked or misaligned fan blades
  4. Tight air ducts
  5. Loose mounting fixtures

Let’s discuss each of these components that could be causing your bathroom ventilation to rattle so you can diagnose your fan’s problem. I will also discuss how to fix one of these issues to make your bathroom a peaceful place again.

1. An Old Motor

If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your vent, the problem is likely related to your fan’s motor.

The instrument that turns the fan blades in your vent is the motor.

Since bathroom vent fans are exposed to tons of dust, moisture, and other debris, their motors are susceptible to clogs, water damage, and mold growth. As the motor ages, it becomes weaker and less efficient. If you let too much dirt accumulate on it, the motor will eventually burn out completely.

The buzzing sound that the motor makes is due to it experiencing too much resistance. As a motor ages, it naturally doesn’t spin as fast as it used to and creates a sound like a tiny revving motor.

It’s important to address motor issues as they can damage the entire fan if left for too long.

How to Fix an Old Bathroom Vent Fan Motor

While an old motor will eventually need to be replaced, you can clean and lubricate your existing motor to make it run silently and extend its lifespan.

You’ll need a cloth, a small brush like an old toothbrush or microfiber cloth, and a can of WD-40 spray (available on to lubricate and clean your fan.

Here’s how to clean and lubricate the motor:

  1. Turn off your fan.
  2. Remove the fan cover.
  3. Use a damp cloth to remove surface dust, mold, and other debris.
  4. Use an old toothbrush, microfiber cloth, or brush to clean the intricate details of the motor, fan blades, and fan housing.
  5. Apply a generous layer of WD-40 to the motor and fan blades, paying particular attention to the connections between fan and motor.
  6. Reinstall the fan cover.
  7. Turn on your fan to see if the sound has improved.

If the sound doesn’t improve, you may have a different issue with your bathroom vent fan, or the motor may be so old that it doesn’t run smoothly anymore. Try some of these other tips and tricks before replacing your fan, but if all else fails, you may need to call a maintenance specialist or purchase a new fan.

2. A heavily vibrating motor

If you hear a buzzing, rattling, or ringing sound from your bathroom vent fan, your motor may simply be vibrating too heavily.

Depending on the configuration, your motor can cause additional noises. Loud motors usually become irritating when they’re in direct contact with metal or are too powerful for the fan you have.

That’s because motors naturally vibrate when they’re delivering enough power to turn the fan blades. If your fan motor is vibrating intensely against metal or other hard, loud materials, you’ll hear it.

How to fix a heavily vibrating motor

If your motor is noisy because it’s vibrating heavily, you can use Sorbothane rubber to absorb the noises.

Rubber provides a cushion for your motor, absorbing shocks and preventing the natural vibration of the fan from clanging against other loud materials. Additionally, Sorbothane rubber is one of the best sound-dampening materials on the market. So when you use it for your fan, your bathroom can be a quiet, peaceful place again.

If possible, you should buy Sorbothane rubber that has a self-adhesive backing, like Isolate It!’s Sorbothane Rubber Sheets (available on

To fix a heavily vibrating motor:

  1. Turn off your fan.
  2. Remove the outer cover.
  3. Wipe down your fan and its mounting with a damp cloth to ensure the adhesive can stick.
  4. Cut your Sorbothane rubber into small strips about 1 inch (2.54 cm) wide.
  5. Stick your Sorbothane rubber around the vent, surrounding the motor, making sure not to block the fan blades.
  6. Turn on your fan to ensure that the rubber strips aren’t inhibiting its function.
  7. Replace the fan cover and enjoy the silence!

3. Blocked or Misaligned Fan Blades

If you hear a rattling, clattering sound coming from your bathroom vent fan, you may have a clogged vent.

Since bathrooms are so humid, dust, hair, and dirt can quickly stick to the fan blades and cover, blocking their rotation. When that happens, your bathroom fan will make more noise than usual as the fan blades bump into the residue trapped in the cover.

Additionally, if your fan blades are misaligned, they can hit the housing or wires in your bathroom vent, creating a knocking sound.

How to fix blocked or misaligned fan blades

Fortunately, fixing fan blade issues is very simple, so don’t hesitate to do it yourself.

To unclog and align your fan blades:

  1. Turn off your bathroom fan.
  2. Remove the outer cover from the vent.
  3. Use white vinegar or warm water and a cloth to clean the fan cover.
  4. Wipe down the fan blades with a damp cloth or toothbrush.
  5. Gently rotate the fan blades with your finger while wiping down the axle that connects your fan to the motor.
  6. If the fan blades are crooked or bent, push them back into place, ensuring the blade mechanisms are still in proper shape.
  7. Ensure the entire fan is free of dirt, then reattach the cover.

4. Tight Air Ducts

If you have tight air ducts, you may hear a whooshing, popping, or humming noise.

When your fan is on, it pushes air through metal ducts to exhaust it from your home. If the vent outlet is narrow, it often makes more noise.

That’s because the pressure is higher when air flows through a narrow channel compared to when the channel is wider. For example, tight ducts are similar to the difference between whistling and normal breathing. To whistle, you have to close your mouth and pucker your lips, but when you breathe, your mouth is open.

So just like whistling, a narrow channel makes more noise than a wider one.

Most quiet bathroom vent fans use a 6-inch (15.24 cm) duct, while many older and cheaper models use a 3 or 4-inch (7.62 or 10.15 cm) duct.

How to fix narrow air ducts

If your ducts are narrow, you can still use an adapter like Hon&Guan’s Straight Duct Increaser and Reducer (available on Amazon). These adapters work great for bathroom vent fans and are also extremely easy to install.

Additionally, you may need some duct tape to seal the hose. I recommend AmazonCommercial’s Standard Duct Tape (available on You can get it in a pack of three since you never know when you’ll need duct tape!

Here’s how to install a duct adapter on your bathroom vent fan:

  1. Turn off your fan.
  2. Access your attic or wherever you can reach your fan duct from above.
  3. Disconnect the duct hose from your bathroom vent fan.
  4. Plug the small end of your adapter into the vent outlet of your bathroom vent fan.
  5. Insert the duct hose into the other end of your adapter.
  6. Optionally, you can seal the hose with duct tape.

5. Loose Mounting Fixtures

If your fan is making a vibrating or rattling noise, the mounting fixtures may be too loose or they may be damaged.

Since fans vibrate during operation, they usually have mounts, screws, and clips that prevent the motor and fan blades from making too much noise.

So if the mounting hardware is loose, your fan will likely make more noise and a rattling sound.

How to secure a bathroom vent fan with loose mounting hardware

Before you go in with the screwdriver, you can quickly check if loose fixtures are your issue. To check, remove the outer cover and try shaking the fan. If it wobbles, then you’ve found the problem!

To tighten loose mounting hardware:

  1. Leave your fan turned off and remove the cover.
  2. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws around the motor, near the fan blades, and on the interior panel of your fan.
  3. Turn on the fan to see if the sound has improved, and reattach the cover.

If the volume of your fan doesn’t improve, you may have a different issue, as there are several reasons why your fan may be loud, including an old or vibrating motor, clogged or misaligned fan blades, a tight duct, or loose mounting parts. Fixing all of these problems is straightforward. If one method doesn’t suffice for you, feel free to try another to identify the problem.

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