Harbor Breeze Troubleshooting

We can certainly help you to troubleshoot your Harbor Breeze Ceiling Fan. One of the most challenging issues in terms of troubleshooting any problem (whether it’s related to ceiling fans or not) is diagnosing the problem. You may have a problem with the fan, but what is the problem exactly? For the most part, you’ll likely be familiar with the “symptoms” – what the fan is doing. However, that does not necessarily equate to an actual diagnosis of the issue. As such, we attempt to help you identify and diagnose the problem here, via understanding the symptoms and then exploring the problem further based on those symptoms.

There are a number of common issues that apply to these fans. The most common issues are as follows:

Harbor Breeze ceiling fan not turning on

The fan not turning on sounds like a simple thing, but it’s not. However, we can make things easier for you by providing some advice and guidance. The first thing to understand is, where is the problem? Let’s look at how you start the fan. There’s the remote, and there’s the pullchain. If you’ve tried both of these and the fan still won’t turn on, it’s time to have a closer look.

If you are starting the fan from the remote

Is the problem with the remote? Is there a pullchain on the fan that works if the remote is not? If you can’t start the fan with the remote or with the pullchain, you can skip remote troubleshooting and head to the next section. Otherwise, try remote troubleshooting first.

If the fan cannot be started in any way and remote troubleshooting has also failed

Does the fan make any noise when you turn it on?

If the fan blades start to turn and there’s a grinding noise, turn off the fan right away. It could be a problem with the motor. Motor problems are usually indicated by the fan turning on very slowly, not turning properly, and hearing grinding noises coming from the fan, or other noises that are coming from the motor. When this is happening, the motor is trying to turn the fan, but not able to do so. This could be caused by the fan being dirty, a bad blade, a bad blade arm, or other bad mechanical parts. Clean the fan well, especially the fan blades. Use a damp cloth. Are there any noticeable problems with the fan blades – any warps, dents, or other? If the blades are not completely symmetrical, it can cause a problem with the fan due to unbalanced blades. Try using a blade balancing kit to sort out the issues.

Does it work in forward, reverse or any mode?

If the fan will work in reverse but not in forward position, or vica versa, there could be a problem with either the motor, or another mechanism inside the fan.

The reverse module could be bad inside of the fan. If that’s the case a replacement one is relatively inexpensive – less than $30 in most cases.

If the problem occurred after a problem surge, try the following.

  • Turn the fan off using the remote control.
  • Spin the blades manually in the direction you want the fan to turn (turn it slowly with your hands)
  • Turn the fan on, then off, then on
  • Repeat until the fan begins operating correctly.

The site visitor that reported the above had to do it a few times before it worked, but they haven’t had a problem since they did this troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting the remote control

If the remote control for your Harbor Breeze fan was working previously, and now it is not, it is likely an issue with the remote itself. If not, it could be an issue with the receiver. We recommend the following troubleshooting as a step by step for troubleshooting remote control related issues:

  • Always check the batteries first. Make sure you try brand new batteries right from the store, to eliminate any possibility of the batteries you put in still being dead or unuseable.
  • Once you have replaced the batteries, if the problem persists the next stop is to check: is there a learn button on the remote? Or is the remote programmed by dip switches. Dip switches are little switches that you can find inside the remote, if you look inside the battery compartment. Read this article for a full break down of what dip switches are, and how to ensure they are programmed the same on both the remote control and the receiver inside of the fan housing.
  • If you have checked the dip switches and they are set properly, and the batteries are replaced and the fan is still not communicating, did you check the ceiling fan manual that came with your fan to see if there is any other additional troubleshooting in the manual?
  • If all else fails, try replacing the receiver and the remote with a universal remote and receiver.


Here is an excellent video that shows you all about troubleshooting ceiling fan remote controls, and how to set the dip switches on the fan and receiver:


If you still need help troubleshooting your fan, we recommend this extended ceiling fan troubleshooting guide which applies to most fans regardless of make or model.




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