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How to Clean a Centrifugal Extractor Fan

Like any piece of machinery, centrifugal extractor fans must be properly maintained in order to ensure their continued effective use. By following these cleaning instructions, you can be sure that your centrifugal extractor fan will continue to run at optimal performance for as long as possible.

Tools and Materials Needed
  • Ladder
  • Rags
  • Washing detergent or a liquid soap
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • A broken or unusable toothbrush
  • Dry cloth
Step 1: Turn Off Unit

In any job of this nature, where the potential is there for serious injury if proper precautions are not taken, be sure to completely turn off the unit to avoid the risk of injury. Only after power has been turned off should you proceed with your project.

Step 2: Lubrication of Bearings

In a centrifugal extractor fan, air is moved by a centrifugal fan with arcing blades. A centrifugal extractor fan's two key cleaning requirements will be maintaining properly oiled bearings and keeping the fan blades themselves clean. Older fan units will may incorporate what are known as sleeve bearings, which are oiled metal-on-metal surfaces. Occasionally, these should be oiled with the manufacturer's recommended lubricant. This will prevent friction points from forming and ensure that your unit continues to run effectively. Normally, there will be a label near the bearings themselves that will tell you how often the system should be oiled, the type of lubricant suggested, and a service history.

Newer fans often have self-lubricating bearings. There is no way to manually re-lubricate these bearings, so unfortunately when they do fail the entire bearing cassette must be replaced.

Step 3: Cleaning the Blades

The blades on centrifugal exhaust fans are curved, and as a result it is very easy for dust, dirt and debris to stick to the fan after extended use. If they are not cleaned semi-frequently, therefore, they have the potential to lose efficiency dramatically. Proper filtration can help keep this problem in check, but a yearly inspection is still a great idea, particularly since fan efficiency will suffer if these blades are not clean.

Cleaning the blades on a small fan should take no more than an hour, but keep in mind that you have to completely remove each blade from the fan system and clean them all individually. Cleaning larger fans, of course, can take significantly longer. These larger centrifugal exhaust fan systems can be made up of a series of many man blades, and each and every one of these must also be removed from the fan system individually and cleaned by hand using detergent. This can be a very time consuming process.

Step 4: Reassemble Unit

After taking off each fan blade and cleaning it by hand, always be very careful to make sure that all parts are reassembled and installed the way you found them before cleaning. This will ensure effective airflow and continued efficient use of your system. When reassembling fan blades, pay attention to labels and warnings on the unit to help with orientation and safety concerns.