Downdraft Ventilation System: Won't go down

Lack of electrical power, problems with the up/down activation switch or a failed vent gear motor can prevent the downdraft vent from going down when you press the up/down button.

Follow these downdraft vent troubleshooting steps to find and correct the cause of the problem when the vent won't go down:

  1. Turn on the fan to see if the downdraft vent has power. If the fan doesn't run, check the house circuit breaker. If the breaker tripped, reset it and see if the vent will go up. If the vent doesn't go up, check the electrical outlet to make sure it has power. Plug a small lamp or appliance into the outlet. If the outlet isn't working, have an electrician repair the electrical outlet.

  2. If the fan runs, then you may need to adjust the position of the up/down activation switch. To check the up/down activation switch position, unplug the downdraft vent and remove the switch cover from the right end of the vent. Check the position of the up/down activation switch plunger. If the plunger isn't touching the bottom of the vent's button membrane, loosen the up/down activation switch mounting screws and move the switch up until the vent's button membrane barely touches the plunger. Replace the switch cover and restore electrical power to the downdraft vent.

  3. If the up/down activation switch position is okay, disconnect power to the downdraft blower and check for continuity through the up/down activation switch using a multimeter. If you measure no continuity through the up/down activation switch when you press the button to lower the vent, replace the up/down activation switch.

  4. If the up/down activation switch works and the vent gear motor doesn't run when activated, replace the vent gear motor.

These basic downdraft vent troubleshooting steps work for most Kenmore, Broan, KitchenAid, Frigidaire, Electrolux, GE and Whirlpool vent systems.

downdraft ventilation system

These repairs may help solve your downdraft ventilation system problem

Replace the downdraft vent gear motor

Replace the downdraft vent gear motor

The gear motor raises and lowers the pop- up vent. If the gear motor hums and will not raise or lower the pop-up vent, check the mechanism for binding. If the pop-up vent is not jammed or binding, replace the gear motor.

November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent gear motor

If your cooktop's downdraft vent won't raise or lower, the gear motor might be to blame. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace a downdraft vent gear motor in 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the downdraft up/down switch

Replace the downdraft up/down switch

If the pop-up vent will not raise or lower when the up/down button pad is pressed, the up/down switch may need to be adjusted. If the up/down switch is positioned properly and the button pad is pressing the up/down switch properly, replace the up/down switch.

November 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a downdraft vent up/down switch

When a downdraft vent won't pop up or retract, the up/down switch could be the problem. This step-by-step repair guide and video show how to replace a downdraft vent up/down switch in just 15 minutes or less.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Read more

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: 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
Main causes: electrical power failure, up/down activation switch problems, vent gear motor failure

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
 15 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

February 23, 2015

Troubleshooting tips for a rectractable downdraft vent

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what to check if you are having a problem with a retractable downdraft vent.