How I Used WordPress and YouTube to Replace Our Bathroom Exhaust Fan

I am one of the world’s unhandiest men (the image above is not my handiwork, but it could have been). It goes back to high school when I scored a 7 out of 100 on the Armed Forces Aptitude test for General Mechanical Ability. I’ve used that as an excuse not to fix anything for nearly 50 years.

My idea of fixing something is to basically ignore the problem and hope it fixes it itself. If it doesn’t, I eventually get to the point, usually several months later, when I realize something should probably be done. That’s when I go on the internet and start looking for someone to come fix the problem.

Anyway, our bathroom exhaust fan stopped working a couple of weeks ago, and true to my nature, I waited a few days and just hoped it would start working again. It didn’t, and so I let a few more days go by before I decided something needs to be done.

Over the years, several people have told me how useful they find YouTube for showing them how to repair something. Of course, I would just nod, and then say something about my score of 7 for Mechanical Ability.

But for some reason, this time I decided to take a look on YouTube, and see what I could find.

A quick search led me to the following video:

It seemed almost identical to what my exhaust fan looked like, it was less than five minutes long, and dare I say, it looked easy enough for me to give it a shot. In fact, since I was just replacing the motor, that part of the video was over in the first 70 seconds.

My son Pat helped me take the old motor and fan out (removing the cover was a bit challenging and time-consuming – much longer than the YouTube video made it appear – but nothing that a few silent curse words couldn’t help with.) We then took a few photos of what the motor and fan looked like and headed out to Lowes to get a new set.

Fortunately, Lowes only carried one replacement model; otherwise, I could have been stuck staring at the various options for quite some time. So I assumed it was something fairly universal, and we made our purchase.

We got back home, opened up the box, and it was just two parts, the fan and the motor. All I had to do was attach the motor to the fan (that involved just pressing a hole in the middle of the fan down onto a metal tube that stuck out of the motor), reattach the combined pieces to the metal plate, and pop it back up in the hole. Something that literally should have taken 30 seconds.


I thought I had to take some screws off of the new motor so that I would be able to reattach it to the metal plate. When I took the screws off, a couple of pieces fell to the ground.

So I spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how those two pieces went back on the motor. I thought I finally figured it out, so I attached the motor and fan to the metal plate, shoved the whole thing back up in its hole, and plugged it in to see if it worked.

Voila! It worked. The problem was when I tried to put the cover back on I realized that the motor was now sticking out about four inches below the ceiling. So I had to take it all apart and start from scratch to figure out how those two parts that fell to the floor should go back on the motor. Of course, that was nowhere in the instructions that came with the new motor, because there had been no need to take those two parts off.

I then went through several trials and errors. Each trial took several minutes since I had to remove two bolts each time from the end of the screws, figure out a new configuation, put the bolts back on, and try and put it back in its hole again. I was quite excited when one of my configurations enabled me to fit the new unit back up in its hole, but then the fan did not spin at all.

After about 60 minutes, I finally figured it out. (which means I essentially got the new motor back to the way it was when I first took it out of the box). Of course, when I finally got it correct, I realized that I had forgotten to put those two bolts back on, but it seemed as if the screws were still in there pretty tight without those bolts, so those two bolts ended up in our junk drawer.

It was then time to put the grill cover back on, which was once again a challenge. There are four clips that needed to be connected. After 15 minutes, I got three of the four in, and I thought, that’s good enough.

At this point, nearly two hours had gone by, but when I flipped the switch, the fan came on. What a wonderful feeling.

So how did WordPress help me with this repair?

As I was working on it, and getting quite frustrated, I thought “I could write a blog post about this, but only if I got it working”. So that thought kept me motivated, and here we are. A blog post.

In hindsight, the YouTube video was incredibly helpful, and the repair should have easily taken less than 15 minutes.

Given my experience, I think I will be more willing to try some repairs on my own if there is a YouTube video that makes it look easy.

But I am also really hoping that nothing ever breaks again in my house…

*image from FamilyMinded

95 thoughts on “How I Used WordPress and YouTube to Replace Our Bathroom Exhaust Fan

  1. I totally get every word of this. if I had taken that test I could perhaps be someone who scores in the negative range. this is exactly for every ‘quick and easy fix’ project goes for me. p.s. at least you got a great post out of it, which is my go to, when in a situation that does not go as planned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I probably scored the 7 out of 100 based on some lucky guesses…

      it is amazing how many “how to” videos are available.

      and yes, knowing you have to write a blog post can serve as a good motivator!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I use Youtube for pretty much any repair. The only thing I do differently is I will watch a couple of different videos to see if one mentions something the other doesn’t. Your guy was very interesting and not condescending and appeared to have covered everything though. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve discovered a whole new world ! Keep going. Check out my channel , just for fun. It’s called How To by John and Paula. We aren’t super serious about it.


  3. If you couldn’t fix it, I think you’d have still been inspired to write a post about it.

    When we had no money, I tried to fix everything. That was always a crapshoot. If I managed to fix something, it took three times longer than it should have. Now I’m much more likely to give up and call a repairman. Maybe it doesn’t say much about me, but it does save me a lot of aggravation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this post Jim, I’m a rarity in that I’m a white collar worker who lives in a blue collar town (even my barber used to be a brick layer), so I often feel shamed that I can’t just pick up any problem tinker around and have a fix!

    Your adventures going to the store, using YouTube, and having something not go according to poor instructions, while trying not get so frustrated I want to throw the problem out the window, also where very familiar!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not bad for a 7-out-of-100 level mechanic. I’ll bet if you took that aptitude test today, you’d probably score much higher, after this experience. How much do you charge per hour? And do you fix thing-a-ma-bobs?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Congratulations! Your persistence in getting the material for your blog post is admirable. I once looked at YouTube for videos to help me repair something, I can’t recall what. They were very helpful: they made me realise that my best course of action would be to buy a new one of whatever it was. So I did: problem solved. I just forgot to blog about it afterwards. Bugger!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So the YouTube videos are educational in more ways than one!

      Glad you got your fan fixed, Jim, can’t wait to see how you score now on the Armed Forces Aptitude test for General Mechanical Ability, and welcome back to WordPress, you were missed πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m sure over hte years my mechanical ability has declined. this repair may have brought it back to where it was. and thanks; it’s good to be back…


  7. Or as one of my colleagues once told me: “I’ve learned that everything takes forever.”
    Congrats on persisting!
    Home maintenance is SO stressful if you don’t know a good handyman to call.
    I finally donated my Reader’s Digest Guide to Home Repairs … youtube videos or googling How To articles seems quicker/more accurate in 2022.
    That doesn’t mean I do it!
    I have ceiling light fixtures that I can’t /haven’t changed the bulb in in YEARS because I can’t figure out how to get into them without making some kinda huge mess I can’t fix.
    But you’ve inspired me.
    I will report back. (It may still be a while πŸ™‚ but when/if I do suceed, you will be the first to know.

    Missed your blogs, so glad you’re back at it! (I was going to suggest is daily is too much you could set a goal of weekly … 52 blogs a year is still a great accomplishment.
    I tried for 1 a month… only 12 a year, but fell way short… being so busy with home repairs and such πŸ™‚


    1. thanks, Susan! It’s good to hear from you. I would get someone else to change a high light fixture, especially if it involves standing on a ladder.

      It’s ncie to be back to blogging; the plan is to try Monday through Friday, but hopefully I won’t become obsessed about it again
      and yes, those home repairs can take a lot of time πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So completely relatable!!! I, too, β€œfeel your pain”, as whenever my husband and I attempt a DIY project, it is nothing short of disastrous! We almost went into divorce court, over trying to hang a painting with a molly!! Kudos to you for your courage and tenacity; you give hope to all!!! πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Too funny!!! It’s one of those plastic casings (over a screw you put into a beam in wall). Don’t be fooled! I know β€œwhat it is, not β€œhow” to use it!!! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  9. πŸ˜πŸ™Œ You did it!!! Good job ! You’re officially a handyman! YouTube is the greatest invention since books . My husband uses it almost daily . He’s a mechanic and very handy , but he still learns things .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. LOL!! Glad you got it fixed, in spite of you making it harder than it should have been. I am good that and I am sure that my score would have been even lower on the mechanical test, like in the negative numbers. My husband has used YouTube before to fix things and had good results. It can come in handy!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Now all you have to do is go out and buy yourself a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40 and you can open your very own handyman business! Glad you were able to fix the problem and get a post out of it at the same time! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I couldn’t follow after Lowes. So used to an other taking over and giving me respite from everyday home issues. May you come out of the bathroom and crawl space unscathed.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great job! I like tinkering with things, mechanical or otherwise. I often do the maintenance work to fans, but I have not worked on exhaust fans before. If it stops working or the fan speed starts slowing down, it may need some lubrication. The worst thing that can happen is a burnt out motor, which may lead to a fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. For financial reasons, I force myself to fix anything I reasonably can. I pretty much hate it. The last time I replaced an exhaust fan, I needed to make a bunch of modifications to the existing hole. I’d much rather be blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hahaha, I share the same thought when going through unique experiences (mostly bad). I’ll tell myself that at least I’ll have something to blog about, and that helps me get through whatever I need to.

    But the internet is a marvel, isn’t it? I’m very unhandy too, but just last month our downlights broke, and it requires actual rewiring, so I looked up so tutorials on YouTube and now I know how to change them should I need to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it is strange how bloging can be a motivator to get things done!
      and youa re brave taking on a wiring project – I wouldn’t even watch a video for something like that πŸ™‚


      1. My fave was a friend who once had me drive 25 miles to connect his vcr cause he couldn’t figure it out. It was 1 wrong connection – took about 5 seconds.

        He’d also been driving for months with no stereo or interior lights. It suddenly dawned on me to check the fuses… found the bad one and everything worked.

        3rd time, he and an equally helpless friend were in my car when I suddenly remembered my brake lights were out, pulled into a PepBoys, bought the bulbs and replaced them… about $4. He didn’t know you could do it yourself and had recently paid $60 to replace ONE!

        I thank gobs I was born with a strong “male side”, handy dad, and power of observation!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I did watch a youtube video on how to replace a fuse in my car (the hardest part was just reaching the fuse box). as it turned out, it wasn’t the fuse, it was the phone adapter I was using. so there had been no point in changing the fuse…

      other than that, I have no interest in learning how to fix anything in my car…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amazing! YouTube comes through in the clutch . . . even better than Joe Montana running the two-minute drill in a Super Bowl. Jim, your story reminds me of the time I replaced the kitchen sink rinsing hose. Let’s just say I didn’t have a YouTube video to bail me out back in the pre-Internet days.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. haha you sound like my husband! Before we moved into our home, he was the most unhandy man there ever was lol he did not know how to do anything but since buying our own home, he has either taught himself through YouTube or we’ve hired professionals to help install something and he’s watched over them (like their shadow) in order to learn how to do it in future! πŸ™‚ Good for you though! I wish I was handier!

    Liked by 1 person

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