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Ceiling Fan Light Not Working Like It Should? Check Out These 9 Fixes

ceiling fan light not working hdr

They’ve been around for decades but don’t you still just find ceiling fans with lights innovative?

Being a 2-in-1 appliance, they can save space and money (vs an A/C!), and can add such value to the decor and aesthetics of your home.

The catch here is being ready for some maintenance.

I’ve had to ask myself more than once, “Why is my ceiling fan light not working?”

Sometimes, the ceiling fan light won’t turn on, but the fan does. Other times, a ceiling fan’s lights come on, but the fan won’t work.

Mostly, I’ve found the fixes simple and relatively inexpensive.

In this guidepost, you’ll find the most common errors that keep ceiling fan lights from functioning properly and how to deal with them.

Let’s jump right in!

9 Reasons Your Hunter Fan Light Is Not Working (or ANY Brand)

reasons not working ceiling fan

When the ceiling fan works but not the light, you start wondering what went wrong.

The opposite scenario isn’t any better either.

As always, the first step to fixing the problem is identifying the cause. So, get your ladder and toolbox ready!

Here’s a list of common reasons why your ceiling fan is acting up:

1. Broken Switch

Unscrew the wall mount and use a voltmeter to test for current. If there isn’t any, you could have a tripped breaker.

It might seem like both the fan and lights are connected to the same wiring. 

However, in some cases, they’re wired separately.

2. Jammed Blades

Jammed Fan Blades

Check if the blades can spin freely. Even a sticky pin could jam the fan and keep it from working.

Top brand Hunter, Hampton Bay and Harbor Breeze ceiling fans can get jammed more often than you think.

This simple troubleshooting step might save you a lot of time and money.

3. Dirty Bearings

If you have trouble spinning the fan by hand and nothing is jamming the blades, there could be an issue with the ball bearings.

Dirty ball bearings can make the ceiling fan noisy and eventually jam it out. Try cleaning and lubricating the bearing.

4. Dead or Malfunctioning Remote 

not working ceiling fan because of malfunction remote

Did you check if your remote is working? It sounds trivial, but you won’t believe how much I’ve seen it happen!

Believe it or not, old batteries are often to blame for a faulty remote.

Replace the batteries in the remote with new ones of the same voltage.

You can also try manually turning on the ceiling fan. Just make sure that your light switch not working isn’t part of the issue!

5. Damaged Bulbs

When a ceiling fan works but not the lights, I first suspect the bulbs.

However, before I replace the bulbs, I try to re-screw them into place.

Next, take the bulbs out and test them in a working lamp. It’s a quick test to know if you need to open up the light kit.

6. Burnt Socket

fan light socket burned out

Take out the bulbs and shades to examine the socket. Do you see any dirt or corrosion? Scorching and rust are highly visible on most sockets.

Use a tester to see if the socket is picking up current. Sometimes all you need is to clean the socket.

7. Overheated Motor

When fans overheat, the capacitor melts. In that case, the fan blades won’t spin, but the light will still work.

Usually, a ceiling fan with a broken capacitor makes a humming noise. 

To check, open up the motor housing and look for scorching marks.

8. Loose Wires

loose wires

Loose wires can cause both the lights and the fan itself to malfunction.

That’s because the fan’s vibration can wear out the wires faster.

With the whole canopy removed, look for cut wires. Remember that most ceiling fans use blue colors for the light wires!

9. Stuck Cord

You go to turn the lights on, and the string or pull chain is stuck.

So, you ask yourself, “Why is the light string on my ceiling fan not working?”

The pull switch’s string/chain can get stuck, and the wires could break. When this happens, it is easier to just replace the switch.

How to Fix a Broken Ceiling Fan

How to Fix a Broken Ceiling Fan

By now, you should be narrowing in on the problem you need to fix. 

Before jumping right in, disconnect the power. 

Fixing a faulty ceiling fan is less daunting than it sounds.

For a typical case of “hunter ceiling fan not working” you need to have only basic tools.

Here’s what you’ll need to fix the ceiling fan:

  • A sturdy ladder
  • Two-pronged voltmeter
  • Wire tape and nuts
  • Lubricating Oil
  • Cleaning brush or cloth
  • Capacitor
  • Pull cord unit
  • Remote Batteries

Clean the Ceiling Fan’s Light Sockets

Depending on how dirty the fixture sockets are, you can either dust it off with an old toothbrush or wipe it thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.

Alternatively, a professional socket brush can make the job much easier. Here’s an affordable kit to check out.

Some people like using cleaning products. For me, I prefer dusting it out periodically to keep the dirt out.

Replace the Ceiling Fan’s Capacitor


Replacement capacitor – Buy here!

You can find the capacitor in the motor housing under the light kit.

Write down the specifications printed on it and use it to search for a replacement.

When picking a new capacitor, you must double-check that it’s identical to the original part in wire count, wattage, and dimensions.

I usually tackle the installment one wire at a time since it helps me avoid any wiring mistakes while installing the spare part.

Replace the Pull Chain Light Switch

Unlike other spare parts, pull cords or chains are very easy to find.

Check out some of Hunter’s universal matches!

Remove the canopy to expose the internal light kit. In there, you’ll find a small transparent box where the string tugs.

That’s the pull cord.

Wiring the replacement cord shouldn’t be all that difficult.

After all, most ceiling fan lights use only two wires for the light switch.

Useful Tips to Keep Hunter Ceiling Fans Working Longer

Once you’re done troubleshooting and fixing the ceiling fan, you’ll need to set routine inspections.

I get that home maintenance is time-consuming, but a little care can spare you a lot of trouble in the long run!

Here are some tips to keep the ceiling fan in tip-top shape:

  • Clean, dry and lubricate the ball bearings periodically
  • Brush the dust out of the light sockets every time you change the bulbs
  • Secure all connections inside the canopy with wire nuts
  • Make sure all the electric wires have a suitable UL rating
  • Get a remote controller that operates on the same frequency as your ceiling fan

tips to keep ceiling fans working longer

Universal Ceiling Fan Light Kit

While browsing for a replacement ceiling fan light kit, you’re going to see the word “universal” thrown around a lot.

Although many light kits are labeled universal, there could be slight inconsistencies between brands.

I recommend sticking to the same brand as the fan itself. 

For instance, Hunter and Kichler offer a wide selection of replacement light kits.

I’m not saying using universal or generic kits won’t work. It’s just a lot of work, but it’s possible. You could even DIY it!

Here’s how this guy managed to make a DIY ceiling fan light kit:


Here are some of the frequently asked questions about ceiling fan lights:

Q:  How can I test a light bulb socket?

A: Hold one prong of a voltmeter to the socket. Touch the other prong to the bottom of a working bulb.

The reading should be 110 or 120 volts.

Q:  What kind of bulbs do Hunter ceiling fans use?

A:  Most non-dimmer Hunter ceiling fans are compatible with LED or CFL bulbs.

The bulb is often a Candelabra or an intermediate.

Q:  What oil is used to lubricate ceiling fans?

A:  You could use any non-detergent motor oil on your ceiling fan.

If I were you, I would steer clear from WD 40. It might cause a short circuit.


That’s all for our “ceiling fan light not working” troubleshooting guide. I hope it cleared up the process for you.

Most replacements are fairly easy, from a scorched capacitor to a stuck light chain.

Overall, routine inspections are crucial to keeping appliances in top shape. Put in the work and reap a peaceful, cozy home!

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