What To Do if Your Range Hood Isn’t Working

Ellie Brooks

Written By Ryan Merchant

Published 12/26/22
What To Do if Your Range Hood Isn’t Working

A working range hood vent is a kitchen essential. If yours isn’t working properly, don’t delay in troubleshooting the issue. Beyond being an inconvenience, a kitchen hood not working as it’s supposed to can cause a number of other problems in your home.

Some appliance problems demand the care of a professional, but others are easy enough for the average homeowner to personally remedy. If you’re dealing with a kitchen hood vent not working, read on for Liberty Home Guard’s troubleshooting tips.

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Why Is a Range Hood Important?

Every home kitchen should have a working range hood. A hood vent helps you maintain a cleaner home, whisking away aerosolized oils and cooking smells that otherwise permeate your curtains, rugs, carpets, and walls. A range hood also vents away steam and smoke, minimizing the possibility of your smoke detector sounding off and saving the drywall and wood in your kitchen from discoloration and moisture saturation which can lead to mold growth.

Also important to note is that everyday cooking generates some harmful substances. Depending on the nature of your range and what you’re cooking, an act as simple as preparing dinner can produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other potentially toxic or even carcinogenic byproducts. This isn’t to say that indoor cooking is a bad idea, but you want to maintain adequate ventilation to minimize the possibility of negative health outcomes.

Clearing the Air: A Range Hood Troubleshooting Guide

Several different problems can afflict your kitchen ventilation unit. Is the fan inoperable? Are the range hood lights not working? Does the unit turn on but fail to clear your kitchen of smoke, steam, and cooking aromas?

We’ve organized our troubleshooting guide by problems and their corresponding solutions. Scan the list below for the issue you’re experiencing.

  •         The range hood will not turn on.

If your kitchen hood isn’t working at all, the problem perhaps obviously is that there is no power to the unit. Your first course of action should be to check the unit’s power cord to confirm that it is securely plugged into an outlet. Depending on the design of your kitchen, the plug may be inside a cabinet or cupboard.

Once you have confirmed that the hood is plugged in, you can isolate the problem to the unit or its circuit by trying another appliance in the outlet. Something as simple as a phone charger will work. Plug the charger into your phone, then plug the other end into the hood’s outlet. If your phone begins to charge, you know that the outlet is fine. The hood has a wiring problem that requires the attention of a professional technician.

If your phone fails to charge when plugged into the hood’s outlet, then the circuit is not drawing power. Go to your circuit breaker box and check if the breaker has been tripped. Reset the circuit as needed. If you continue to have trouble, have an electrician attend to the issue. You may have an in-wall short or other wiring problem.

  •         The unit draws power, but the fan does not turn on.

You might be able to tell that your vent hood powers on lights illuminate or the unit hums but the fan doesn’t operate. First, check that the fan controls are on the appropriate setting. Then try the other switches or buttons on the control panel. If the other controls are functional, you have determined that the problem is likely the range hood fan motor or assembly and not the control panel itself.

If you have a multimeter and you’re reasonably handy, you can try testing the fan switch and motor, but most people require the help of a professional repair person when dealing with a range hood fan not working because of motor or wiring issues.

  •         The hood fan turns on but doesn’t clear the air.

A range hood that engages but doesn’t seem to pull air is usually suffering from a clogged filter. Daily cooking vaporizes oils, and those tiny molecules collect in the hood apparatus with dust and other fine particulates. This is why a vent filter is important, of course. The filter collects the accumulated grime before it can travel further down the duct, where it would then coat the fan assembly, pose a fire hazard, and become much harder to clean.

If the filter becomes sufficiently saturated with grime, airflow is significantly impeded. Kitchen hood filters should be cleaned or exchanged every two or three months, though consult your unit’s manual for a more precise guideline. If it has been several months or years since you recall cleaning your filter, an accumulation of grime could very well be your problem.

Should you continue to have airflow problems even with a clean filter, contact a professional. You could have a clog somewhere farther along the duct.

  •         The hood light does not illuminate.

If your kitchen hood light doesn’t work but the unit is otherwise functional, you most likely need to swap out the light bulb. Consult your owner’s manual for information on the appropriate bulb and how to replace it.

If the problem persists even with a fresh bulb, you probably have a wiring issue. Contact a professional.

  •         The range hood produces unusual noises while engaged.

Strange noises coming from your vent hood could have a number of causes. Erratic rattling suggests a loose screw or piece of small debris. Grinding is probably from a faulty motor. Wheezing or squealing may be due to a clogged filter. When in doubt, contact your unit’s manufacturer or a professional technician for more information.

When You Need a Little Help…

You can’t be expected to resolve every issue that afflicts your kitchen vent or any other appliance, for that matter. Some problems require the expertise of a licensed professional. That’s where home warranty coverage comes in.

A Liberty Home Guard policy with appliance coverage covers exhaust fan motors, switches, controls, and bearings when they fail from normal wear and tear. We can have someone to your home within 48 hours of you submitting a claim, so you’ll be back up and running before you know it. Use our website for a free quote or call (866)-432-1283.


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