February 23, 2015

Troubleshooting tips for a rectractable downdraft vent

By Sears PartsDirect staff
What to check if a retractable downdraft vent isn't working.
What to check if a retractable downdraft vent isn't working.

A retractable downdraft vent is a great space-saving solution in a kitchen where an over-the-range vent hood is not practical. This is especially true for kitchen island installations. The retractable vent sits neatly behind the cooktop, and stays level with the countertop when not in use. Here are the most common problems with retractable downdraft vents and possible solutions.

If the vent isn’t working at all, make sure there’s not a problem with the power cord. Check the house circuit box for any tripped breakers or blown fuses. If the power supply looks okay, the issue may be the control board or power switch.

If the vent comes on but will not raise, lower all the way or lower at all, look for an obstruction in the path of the intake area. Unplug the unit before removing the obstruction. Some retractable vents have a switch that is activated by the filter–the vent will not work if the filter is not installed correctly. If the filter looks okay, there may be a problem with the drive motor or drive arm.

If a spill occurs on the cooking surface and seeps down into the vent system, immediately turn the vent off. Damage could occur if water gets inside the vent while it’s operating. Unplug the vent and let it dry naturally. Do not open the vent system to remove the water. Once the unit is dry, clean the vent’s exposed surfaces following the instructions in your owner's manual.

Symptoms common to all downdraft ventilation systems

Choose a symptom to see related downdraft vent repairs.

Main causes: lack of electrical power, up/down activation switch failure, bad vent gear motor
Main causes: fan control switch failure, bad blower fan motor, broken blower wheel, wiring failure
Main causes: electrical power failure, up/down activation switch problems, vent gear motor failure
Main causes: problems with the vent limit switches, up/down activation switch failure
Main causes: clogged grease filters, air duct problems, fan motor failure, broken blower wheel

Repair guides common to all downdraft ventilation systems

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your downdraft vent.

How to replace a downdraft vent up/down button pad

The up/down button pad located on top of the air vent engages the activating switch when pushed to raise the air vent. Replace the up/down button pad if damaged.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent gear motor

The gear motor raises and lowers the air vent when you push the activating switch. Replace the gear motor if defective.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent blower motor

The blower motor spins the fan blade that removes smoke and steam from the cooktop area. Replace the blower motor if it doesn't run when activated.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all downdraft ventilation systems

Use the advice and tips in these articles to get the most out of your downdraft vent.

April 17, 2019

Downdraft vent common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff

The most commonly asked questions about downdraft vents are answered by our experts.

January 18, 2016

How to use a multimeter to test electrical parts video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working

December 2, 2015

Wiring schematic symbols explained video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn some of the most common symbols found in a wiring diagram and what they mean.