How to fix noisy motor in ceiling that sucks air from washer/dryer unit?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Toronto
9/30/2014 at 10:58:36 AM

I live on the main floor of a 4 story condo building. I have a stacked washer/dryer unit in a small laundry room in my condo. Recently when I operate these units a big grinding noise is coming.

I called a laundry repairman, and he rightly identified that washer/dryer system is working fine, but the noise is coming from a motor located in the ceiling of the room that sucks out air to vent it outside. The ceiling is, of course closed (I think with drywall), so the motor is not accessible.

We confirmed that the noise indeed comes from this motor located behind the ceiling by pressing on the ceiling hard in the area where the motor is located and realizing that the noise disappears.

Looking for advice on how to fix this problem.


User Icon
Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time9/30/2014 at 3:33:55 PM

You will need to cut the drywall to replace it and patch the repair.

User Icon
Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time9/30/2014 at 10:49:15 PM

Most exhaust fans unplug from the inside and drop down once a screw is released leaving the original housing in place. The housing itself may be loose and vibrating against the joist and drywall causing the noise.

If that doesn't solve the problem bring the motor to your local hardware store and have them give you a new one as the bearing may be shot.

User Icon
Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time10/1/2014 at 7:14:10 AM

I believe by the OP description, this is what is hidden above. See pic.

How to fix noisy motor in ceiling that sucks air from washer/dryer unit?
User Icon
Date/Time10/1/2014 at 7:38:02 PM

Hi Krishna,

Robert nailed it in his first post. You have to remove the drywall and replace or repair the noisy fan. Replace the drywall with a hatch of some kind so it can be serviced again if required. It is actually very surprising that there is no access hatch in place already for something that would obviously need servicing sometime in its life.

Good Luck with it!

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman

User Icon
Date/Time10/2/2014 at 2:36:13 PM


It's been my experience these type of fans can always become noisy. Yes you will have to access the fan/motor by cutting out the drywall. Ideally, the unit which houses the fan, should be mounted to the ceiling joists using either springs or strong leather straps so any noise coming from the motor will be absorbed and not transferred thru the building.

In addition, you can try cleaning and lubricating any moving parts.

Caution not to use WD40 on anything made of plastic or rubber. You'll damage it.

Hope this helps.

Bricoleur BRT Handyman

User Icon
Date/Time10/5/2014 at 10:55:32 AM

The key here is to install an access door or hatch as has been mentioned. These types of equipment need access for regular maintenance and repair. Both Rob and Jim indicated that in their posts.

A hatch can look OK as long as it is installed properly and the person cutting the drywall does not hack it all up.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

User Icon
Krishna in Toronto
Date/Time10/5/2014 at 8:59:30 PM

I am extremely grateful for all the tips provided by the respected handymen. These have really helped me.

Actually, I found that there is an access door in the ceiling. I opened it and tightened two winged nuts that were a bit loose. Also, I noticed the sound originated from a ceiling light fixture which was vibrating when the laundry system ran. I tightened this too, the noise is gone now.

I am leaving this information on the forum because what I did together with all the tips provided by the very considerate and friendly handymen on this forum may help others encountering a similar situation.

Best regards,


User Icon
Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time10/5/2014 at 9:10:39 PM

You are very welcome. Glad to be helpful.

Just for the record, some of us are Masters at our careers, not Handymen.... ;) 1100 pages of Electrical code and ESA inspections push us to be our best!

User Icon
Date/Time1/16/2015 at 9:53:04 AM

Cut out the drywall, inspect, repair or replace fan, put new drywall and paint.


Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get Free Estimates

Post your project and compare offers from top-rated pros.