How to Fix a Wobbly Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans are a great way of circulating air around a room and cooling you down, especially in rooms with little ventilation. They are available in many different styles from traditional to contemporary and in various material and colours. Most of the time they work tirelessly in the background and you don’t even notice they’re there, but every now and again they get out of balance and start to wobble. The first you’ll know about it is when you notice a whopping or whooshing noise, or you see the blades wobbling. When this happens it’s important to fix the problem as soon as possible as a ceiling fan running at full speed has a lot of inertia and if it wobbles free of its fixing all together has potential to cause serious damage. Fortunately, fixing a wobbly ceiling fan is well within the capability of most people and requires very few tools.

Before you start make sure the fan is switched off and nobody is going to come in to the room and turn it on. A little masking tape placed over the switch will ensure it stays off. You’ll need to be able to reach the ceiling fan comfortably and work on it without overstretching. If the ceiling fan is located over a bed or a table you might be able to utilise these to reach it, if not use a step ladder. Inspect the fan all over to look for any obvious problems. Things to look for are damage to the blades that might cause an imbalance, gaps between the fan and the ceiling where it’s worked loose or any obvious missing bolts or screws. Whilst inspecting the fan check how clean the blades are. A build of grime and dirt on the blades can throw them out of balance and simply cleaning them may stop any wobbling. Once cleaned, try the ceiling fan again to see if the wobble has stopped. If it hasn’t then further investigation is required.

If there are no obvious signs of damage give the fan a good shake to see if there are any loose parts. Remove the canopy cover from the center of the fan, which should reveal the fixing screws. Check the fixing screws are all screwed in tightly. They can often work loose as the fan spins. If they are loose then try tightening them up or better still consider replacing them with bigger screws. Check the blade fixings to make sure the nuts and bolts holding them to the center spindle are secure and also check the spindle itself to ensure the bearings in the motor are in good order. When checking the blades make sure they’re all in line and at the same angle. If there is a problem with the motor or the bearings in the motor, the center spindle will feel loose and move easily from side to side. Whilst problems with the motor are rare, repairing it is the work of an electrician and it may be difficult to order the spare parts. It is often more economical to replace the ceiling fan altogether than start repairing the motor. Again, if you have to tighten any nuts bolts or screws check the ceiling fan after each operation to see if the wobble has disappeared. Always test the ceiling fan by starting on a low setting and increasing the speed steadily.

If all the fixings are secure and there are no obvious signs of any problems it may be that one of the blades has become unbalanced. To check this start the ceiling fan on a low speed and observe how it spins. Look to see if any blade appears to be out of line compared to the rest. Stop the fan and attach a clothes peg to one of the blades about half way along. Start the fan again on a low speed and observe how the fan spins. Repeat this for all the blades making sure you check both sides of the blade and moving the peg up and down until the wobbling stops. If you complete this stage carefully it should be easy to see which blade is unbalanced. Once you’ve identified the unbalanced blade use superglue to attach a small coin to the top of the blade where it cannot be seen. Once dry, try the ceiling fan again and if necessary add a further coin.