How To reset Ceiling Fan Remote – and 6 other tips

Most ceiling fan remotes on the market today follow the same reset procedure. First, you start by turning the fan off using its remote control.

Then, you’ll need to wait…. Some brands ask to wait 15 seconds, though others may require as long as 30 seconds. 

The most critical step: in order to reset the remote, press and hold the OFF button for about 10 seconds. Most ceiling fan remotes will reset after you take this step. 

To be sure, it’s always best to refer to the instruction manual that came with the fan. Don’t worry if you’ve lost it, though.

These days, you can almost always download another copy from the company’s website.

If you’re experiencing any other issues with your ceiling fan or its remote, keep reading! These days, most ceiling fans come with remote controls.

While that offers a lot of convenience, it also means that newer fans come with unique problems that most of us never had to deal with before.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be better prepared to handle common issues with remote controlled ceiling fans.

Let’s get started!

Why Is The Ceiling Fan Remote Not Working?

If you’re looking for ways to reset your ceiling fan remote, odds are the remote has stopped working. Well, don’t despair! It doesn’t mean that your remote is toast. It could be an easy fix (fingers crossed).

If resetting it doesn’t help, then here are a few additional questions you can use to troubleshoot the problem.

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Is the wall switch off?

Many ceiling fans are wired to a wall switch. Unless this switch is ON, the fan will not operate, no matter how many times you hammer the ceiling fan remote buttons.

The exception to this is in the (less usual) case where the wall switch is paired with the remote. If so, the wall switch does not need to be ON for the fan to work.

Many new residents to a home do not realize there is a wall switch for their fan. Be sure to check that first!

Are you too far from the fan?

Ceiling fan remotes aren’t powerful devices, so they have a limited range on them. If your remote doesn’t work, ask yourself whether or not you’re standing too far away from it.

Image Credit: Homedepot.com

Thankfully, testing it is easy. All you have to do is move as close as you can to the fan and see if the remote works then. If it does, then perhaps the range of the remote is shorter than you thought it was.

When was the last time you changed the batteries?

Remember: All ceiling fan remote controls rely on batteries. So if your remote stops working, you should try to think back to the last time you replaced them, because the odds are that those batteries are weak or dead.

By the way, if the batteries are weak, the remote might still work. However, the range on that remote might be shortened significantly.

Also, don’t be fooled by seeing the buttons on the remote light up. Often times, the battery has enough juice to light the LEDs on the remote, but not enough to operate the fan.

If you think the remote battery is weak, just pop in some fresh batteries and you’re good to go!

Remember to dispose of or recycle the old batteries responsibly!

Are the remote and fan both on the same frequency?

Your ceiling fan might not respond to the remote because they’re both on different frequencies. You see, there’s usually a way you can change frequencies on remote-controlled ceiling fans.

The reason for this is simple: if you’re operating multiple fans in the same space, you don’t want the remote to work with another fan instead.

Assuming the batteries are working and you’re in range, you might want to check the fan’s settings to make sure it’s on the same frequency as the remote.

As always, safety first! Refer to the user manual on how to set the correct frequency and keep the fan off before you start trying to change anything yourself.

Bad Receiver?

The way a ceiling fan remote works, is by sending a signal to a receiver that is located in the fan. Usually, this receiver is located in the canopy, near the ceiling.

If this receiver goes bad, the fan will not respond to the commands from the remote. It will have to be replaced.

This job is a bit more involved, so be sure of your confidence level with electrical and mechanical savvy before attempting to swap out the receiver.

Typically, the receiver can be removed by simply sliding the canopy down and disconnecting the wire nuts. But on other fan models, you must take down the entire fan.

Do you need a new remote?

Once you’ve walked through all the previous troubleshooting steps, it might be time to consider that the ceiling fan remote might just be faulty. If this is the case, you generally have two options.

Your first option is to get a replacement from the store or manufacturer that sold you the fan. If it’s still under warranty and you didn’t damage the remote, you can probably get a replacement free of charge.

But if your fan is no longer under warranty and you don’t feel like paying for an original replacement remote, you have another option. You could always buy a universal ceiling fan remote kit instead.

These are cheap, compatible with most ceiling fans, and you can usually get them online pretty quickly. More on this later.

Why Has My Ceiling Fan Stopped Working… But The Light Still Works?

If you own a ceiling fan that also has a built-in light, there may come a time when you face an unusual problem. Sometimes, your fan might’ve stopped working, yet the light on it still functions perfectly well.

But why is that?

First of all, check your ceiling fan remote and any wall switches. Be sure that all the settings are correct and that you’ve indeed tried to turn on the fan correctly.

If everything is as it should be, but the fan blades still won’t spin, then the problem is somewhere inside the fan itself.

But…. before we go digging into the fan, let’s check one more thing.

Many fans have a manual reversing switch on the fan itself. It is usually located near the pull chain that controls the blade speed.

If this reversing switch gets bumped (or vibrates) out of position, so that it is set between clockwise and counterclockwise, the motor may not spin either direction.

It’s an easy thing to check before diving into the guts of the fan. But if the reversing switch turns out to be fine, the problem likely lies within the belly of the beast.

You see, a working light means that the fan is still receiving its supply of power. So, the fan might have a wiring problem, or the fan motor inside might not be working anymore.

As with any electrical appliance, you shouldn’t try to fix it yourself unless you’ve got the right knowledge, training, or experience. If you mess around with the wiring not knowing what to do, you risk getting shocked!

The danger comes from there possibly being a loose connection somewhere inside the fan. After years of using the fan, all that vibration can cause some wiring connections to come loose, which would stop the motor from turning on.

On the other hand, it could also be a problem with the motor or the capacitor. Something as simple as a power surge may have damaged these parts, leading to them failing completely.

The good news is that all of these parts are replaceable. The less-than-good news is that you might need a qualified expert to do it for you. And even the parts alone can be pricey.

Depending on how old the fan is, it might be in your best interest to replace the whole unit entirely. Of course, you should do the math yourself to figure out if this is the best option for you.

How Do I Re-sync My Ceiling Fan Remote?

Ceiling fans and their remotes are usually ‘paired’ with one another, just the same as your phone might be paired with a wireless speaker or headphones. But from time to time, you might need to re-sync the remote to the fan once more.

Again, the exact steps might differ between brands, but they’re generally the same in most cases.

To re-sync your ceiling fan remote, start by turning off your fan using the wall switch and then waiting for a few seconds. Different guides will tell you to wait anywhere from 10-30 seconds while the fan is off.

After waiting, turn the fan back on again. This is where the process might differ slightly according to the brand of your ceiling fan. Some may have a ‘pair’ button on or behind the remote control, and pressing it should get the job done. It’s that simple!

If your remote does not have a pairing button, then you’ll need to refer to the user manual. Your ceiling fan might have its own way of pairing with the remote.

How To Turn On The Ceiling Fan Without A Remote?

Suppose your remote is out of the equation and you still need to turn your ceiling fan on. Are there other ways to do it? Yes, indeed there are. However, it depends on the fan model and how you had it wired when you first bought it.

You see, ceiling fans often also have two other mechanisms to turn them on or off: the pull cord or chain and the wall switch — or both!

The Wall Switch

Depending on where you are located, you might see that people typically rely on a wall switch that also has a speed-control knob or slide control.

If you have a setup like this in your home, then turning your ceiling fan on will be no problem, even without a remote. You could even change the fan’s speed without any problem.

However, not all ceiling fans are wired up this way. If that’s the case, you have the second option, the pull cord or chain.

The Pull Cord or Chain

Some ceiling fans come standard with a pull cord or chain. By pulling on this cord, you can adjust the speed of the fan and turn it on or off.

Assuming your fan isn’t too high off the ground, this will act as a straightforward bypass option when you don’t have your remote.

Alternatively, you might need to get someone to install that chain for you. The fan might have the mechanism in place as a backup, but they might not include the actual chain or cord as a standard feature.

Both a wall switch AND a pull chain

If you have a regular ON/OFF wall switch and a pull chain, then your fan will not operate unless the wall switch is ON. Be sure the switch is ON or else your attempts to operate the fan by the chain might be futile.

Note: It is not uncommon for both the fan and the light kit to have their own independent wall switches. If so, the fan switch must be ON in order for the fan speed selector chain to work. Same goes for the light switch and light chain.

The diagram below shows one way a ceiling fan can be wired to two wall switches. Yours may be slightly different.

Can I Use A Universal Ceiling Fan Remote And How To Pair It?

Finding an OEM replacement remote for your ceiling fan can get frustrating at times. Depending on the model, you might not be able to find a one at all! Thankfully, you could try using a universal ceiling fan remote instead.

Third-party manufacturers typically produce and sell these kinds of remotes.

As the name suggests, they’re intended to work with almost all ceiling fans.

These remotes usually come in kits that include a new receiver, so you’ll still need to do some wiring to get it to work.

You can get these ceiling fan remotes online or at your local hardware or electrical appliance stores.

Before spending your hard-earned cash on one of these remotes, always do your homework and make sure that it’s compatible with your fan make and model. 

Typically, the universal remote will have a list on the box or somewhere online with all the models you can use it with.

As for pairing, the process is pretty much the same as when you pair a regular remote with the fan.

Turn it off, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on. Then, press the ‘pair’ button to sync it with the new receiver that you’ve wired to the fan.

Reader Comments (8)

  1. My fan randomly goes on or the light randomly goes on without anyone turning it on with the remote. What could be wrong?

  2. Our Hunter ceiling fan with lights . When we turn the lights on they only stay on for a short while and then go out. We have to use the remote hand held because our ceiling is in the entry way of a split level home. The fan works fine, just the lights have a problem. We cannot find our manual that came with it, it is several years old and do not even know the model number. Do you have a suggestion? Thank you. How long before I will hear from you?

  3. Our Hunter ceiling fan with lights . When we turn the lights on they only stay on for a short while and then go out. We have to use the remote hand held because our ceiling is in the entry way of a split level home. The fan works fine, just the lights have a problem. We cannot find our manual that came with it, it is several years old and do not even know the model number. Do you have a suggestion? Thank you.

  4. I installed 2 ceilings fans of the same brand in adjacent rooms. When 1 remote control is pressed, both fans speed get adjusted. How do I adjust the frequency?

  5. I have a hunter fan. When I turn off the wall switch the fan does not go off neither does the lights, that’s the problem. I had to go up and unscrew them manuallly. I had a better but I think it’s too ok’d the light on remote came on then went off. Gonna buy new battery tommorow. Could it be anything else. The lite and fan works but cannot control manually because there is no pull switch. So it must be remote. Right???

  6. Have a remote controlled Reiga fan that the remote turns the light on, but only beeps when trying to use the fan features.

  7. Australian consumer law requires a product to be fit fir its purpose. A fan costing hundreds of dollars with a remote would be expected by a reasonable person to still work after one or two years. So don’t be sobbed off with “it’s out of warranty”
    The seller must at your option “repair, replace or refund”

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