How to Fix a Shaky Ceiling Fan

If your ceiling fan wobbles, shakes, or makes an incessant ticking sound, you’re probably ready to either replace it or throw it out the window. Before you do anything drastic, take a moment to consider repairing the one you have. You may be surprised at how little effort it will require, and you’ll save a substantial amount of money, too. The good news is you don’t need any electrical skills to fix a shaky ceiling fan.

Keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to see slight movement in a ceiling fan that is operating on ‘high’. However, it is not normal to see a fan wobble from side to side, bounce up and down, or make a ticking sound. Not only are these actions extremely annoying, they can also be potentially dangerous. A shaky ceiling fan may result in loose housing, falling parts, a thrown blade, or even electrical shortage.

How to fix a shaky ceiling fan

Before you try any of the tricks below, give the fan a thorough cleaning. Remove all dust, dirt, cobwebs, and so on. If you’ve never cleaned the fan before, you will be shocked to see how much debris builds up on the fan blades and housing. Believe it or not, in extreme cases, a build-up of dust can be enough to cause a shaky ceiling fan.

Is your fan off balance?

More often than not, the cause of a wobbly fan is that it is off balance. There are balancing kits you can buy at the local home improvement store, but there’s no need to run out and purchase one right away. Instead, try taping a penny to the top of one blade. The penny acts as a weight, altering the balance of the fan blades. Step back and see if the penny improves the operation of the fan. If not, try taping it to a different blade. You may need to tape and re-tape the penny to several blades, or even to more than one blade to rebalance them.

Are the screws loose?

A very common cause of a shaky ceiling fan is loose screws. Grab a screwdriver and a step stool and tighten every screw on the fan blades and mounting brackets. Be sure to check the screws that attach the rod to the housing, too. In many cases, this will solve the problem.

Are the fan blades aligned?

Take a yardstick and measure from the outer tip of each blade to the ceiling. All of the blades should be the same height from the ceiling. If not, it can be causing the imbalance in the fan itself. If you do find a fan blade that measures differently than the others, adjust it by pushing (gently) up or down on the bracket.

Do the blades need replaced?

If you have any fan blades that appear warped, bent, or chipped, they can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of new ceiling fan. If your fan is under warranty, the replacement may even be free of charge!

If your fan is still shaking……

If you’ve tried everything above and the fan is still wobbling, it may be time to consider how the fan was installed. If the fan is not being properly supported, all of the above tricks won’t be enough to fix a shaky ceiling fan. To see the mounting process for yourself, you’ll have to enter the attic to view the supports. If you find that the fan is supported only by drywall, or that brackets have pulled away from the supports, you’ll want to remove the fan completely or contact a professional that can do it for you.

More from Jennifer Wagner:

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Your complete ceiling fan shopping guide


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