Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Stop Wobble and Vibration in a Paddle Ceiling Fan

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My ceiling fan vibrates and wobbles when turned on high speed. How can I fix it?
-Bill

Hi Bill,

There are several possible problems that could cause your paddle fan to wobble or vibrate, some of which could pose serious safety concerns if not fixed. Potential problems include:

  • Loose screws where the fan attaches to the electrical box at the ceiling.
  • Electrical ceiling box isn’t properly secured and reinforced.
  • Screws holding blades to mounting brackets are loose.
  • Screws holding mounting brackets to fan motor need tightening.
  • Fan blades are out of alignment.
  • Fan blades are warped.
  • Fan blades are out of balance.

Start by turning the fan off at the breaker and checking to see if it’s securely attached to the ceiling. If the fan feels loose, tighten the screws at the ceiling that support it, and see if the ceiling box itself is securely attached or needs reinforcement.

Next, make sure the screws that attach the blades to the blade mounts and the mounts to the fan motor are tight. If the fan still wobbles, check the blade alignment by holding a tape measure or yardstick against the ceiling even with the end of the blade, and rotating the fan by hand to see if each blade measures the same. If one of the blades is off, you may be able to slightly bend the metal blade mount to align it, but don’t apply too much pressure or the metal can crack or break.

If the fan still doesn’t run smoothly, the blades are either warped and need to be replaced, or they are out of balance. To balance the blades, attach a small weight—such as a coin or washer—to the top of a blade with tape, then turn the fan on to see if it reduces the wobble. If not, take the weight off, move it to another blade, and try again.

Fine-tuning can be accomplished by varying the weight, or by moving the weight in or out on the blade. For the less adventurous do-it-yourselfer, balancing kits—which include weights, a test clip, and detailed instructions—are available at home centers.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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One Comment on “How to Stop Wobble and Vibration in a Paddle Ceiling Fan”

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  1. Charmaine Mansour Says:
    November 2nd, 2009 at 4:59 am

    The maintenance man at my senior community apartment fixed my increasingly noise ceiling fan. The fan had regular 40 watt bulbs in it that were shaking and touching the glass lamp shades with each turn. He replaced the bulbs with “Christmas tree” shaped bulbs. No more noise.
    Charmaine Mansour
    Braesridge Apartments

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