Are Ceiling Fan Blade Arms Universal?

Ceiling fans were first designed as far back as the 1870s and have since been in use for more than a century. Although people love using ceiling fans, they don’t bother about the blade arms until it is time for a replacement. When trying to cut costs, you may be pushed to ask; are ceiling fan blade arms universal?

Ceiling fan blade arms are not universal. This is because each set of blade arms are made to fit only a particular fan model. As a result, they differ in many aspects, including blade span, weight, blade pitch, UL rating, etc. So, you cannot simply buy any blade arms to replace your old fan blades.

So, if you are about to change your fan blades, it is preferable to just buy the new blades from the same manufacturer as your ceiling fan. Different brands have different designs of blades and hole patterns. Changing the blade of your ceiling fan is not a one size fits all kind of situation, so you should consider whether your company sells replacement parts even before buying your ceiling fan. If not, you may have to buy an entirely new ceiling fan.

Because you are curious about whether your ceiling fan blades are universal, you may also have a bunch of other questions you want to be answered. So keep reading to find out more about ceiling fans.

A person replacing ceiling fan blades

Main Reasons Why Ceiling Fan Blades Are Not Always Interchangeable

The reasons why ceiling fan blades are not interchangeable are explained below in depth;

Mismatch in blade span:

Blade span is the full diameter of a ceiling fan from the tip of one blade to the tip of the other one. Blade spans can be as small as 14” or as wide as 72”. Changing to blades that would reduce or increase your blade span will affect the amount of air the fan produces. Therefore, you cannot replace fan blades with those of a different blade span.

Differences in blade weight, shape, or pitch:

The shape, weight, and blade pitch were considered when the manufacturers picked the ceiling fan motor. The load on the motor changes with a change in any of these parameters. Some tropical fan blades are shaped like leaves, and it is hard to guess the weight of such fans. Using a heavier blade with a different shape and pitch than what was intended will definitely affect the performance of your fan. It may become slower or burn out the motor.

Inaccurate hole position:

Every ceiling fan has attachment holes where the blades are screwed onto. These holes are not usually the same for every ceiling fan. The number of holes varies from 3-5 per blade, and so are their positions. Even if you find what seems like an exact match, the difference in models may still cause the fan to wobble.

Difference in UL rating of the blades:

You can install ceiling fans in different locations, which exposes them to different weather conditions. Each fan comes with a UL rating to indicate where it can be installed. There are 3 UL ratings: dry, damp, and wet. The replacement blades of the ceiling fan should carry the same UL rating as the original blades. If not, the blades can get damaged depending on where the fan is installed. This is another reason why you can’t change to any blade.

Blade material:

Blades can be made with timber, plastic, metal, et cetera. Some materials are heftier than others. Even if you are buying replacement blades from the same company, if you have the ceiling fan motor for the wooden model, you cannot switch to the metal blades of that same model because they have different weights.

How To Find The Right Ceiling Fan Model To Replace My Blades

Some ceiling fans offer a multi-pack where you can buy additional blades with the full set. However, because most people intend to use ceiling fans for many years, the stress of keeping extra blades for possible replacement deter people from buying the multi-packs. 

The best way to find replacement blades is to go back to the manufacturing company, check their official website or Amazon. While doing this, make sure you know the model number of your ceiling fan and the size of your blades.

Protip: if you don’t know the size of your ceiling fan blade: first remove the screws attaching the blades to the arms. Please keep the screws safe; you will need them again. Next, you can measure the full length of the blades in inches. Finally, reattach the blades using the screws.

Some ceiling fan companies may not produce replacement blades for the older models. In that case, go to a home improvement store to buy the same size blades with similar hole patterns or check if other companies sell replacement parts for your brand.

How To Replace or Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades

There are several reasons for someone to replace their ceiling fan blades. You may be tired of the current look of your fan, or it could be broken. Either way, an upgrade is a perfect solution for this situation. Some ceiling fans come with reversible blades with a different color or finish on each side so that you can switch things up a bit. 

The process for replacing and reversing ceiling fan blades is quite similar. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Buy the correct replacement blades from the manufacturer’s website.
  2. Obviously, turn off your ceiling fan at the wall switch. This is a no-brainer for any electrical repairs if you don’t want to get electrocuted.
  3. On top of the blades, you will find screws attaching them to the blade arms.
  4. Remove the screws for all of the blades. This may take some time if you have more blades than usual.
  5. For a reversal, clean the blades, turn them over to the other side and screw them back on. 
  6. To attach new blades, line up the holes with the holes on the blade with holes on the blade arms and fasten the screws. 
  7. For both procedures, you’ve got to really tighten the screws to make sure the blades are secure. 
  8. Turn on the fan to make sure everything is working fine.

Can You Drill New Holes on The Blades for Installation?

Yes, you can drill new holes on ceiling fan blades for installation. However, this is not an ideal practice. If you did not find replacement blades from the manufacturing company and settle for blades that did not come with pre-drilled holes or the hole does not match, what do you do? You drill new holes, of course! 

Steps to drill new holes on ceiling fan blades

  1. Use a template to mark the position of the screws for blades on the ceiling fan. 
  2. Carefully measure the diameter for each hole and make sure they are all the same.
  3. To drill the holes, your blades should be lined in a stack for better accuracy.
  4. You should also find out the carrying weight of your ceiling fan’s motor because using heavier blades also have its consequences.

This method of blade replacement is not exactly foolproof, and the slightest mistake may cause your fan to wobble or make lots of noise; that is why it is not recommended. It seems easy, but imbalance may even render the new blades useless. Worst case scenario, it works, but the motor eventually gives out, and you have to buy a new ceiling fan anyway.

Can You Put Longer Blades on A Ceiling Fan?

Some people believe that replacing fan blades with longer ones will improve the airflow in a room. While this is true, it is not a good idea to do this. As I said earlier, every ceiling fan motor is created to work with a certain weight. Longer blades will not just add more inches, and you’re adding more weight too.

There are a lot of reasons why professionals advise people not to replace blades with longer ones. Click here to read the full article on this topic.

Can You Put Shorter Blades On A Ceiling Fan?  

When it comes to switching fan blades, it is always best to stick to the intended length. Yes, You can fix shorter blades on your ceiling fan, but you have to ask yourself why you want to do this. Is it because you think shorter blades will run faster and create more airflow? Or do you think shorter blades look cooler? 

A ceiling fan will serve a room that is 3 times wider than the blade span. Shortening your blades will reduce the fan’s capacity, so it is not really a good idea if you have a large room. Because you are replacing with blades much lighter than the weight the ceiling fan motor was built for, the shorter blades would run faster than longer ones. You may experience more noise if this is successful. It seems like a win-win situation, but your fan’s motor is doing more work than it was made for, and this will eventually affect it.

The worst way to achieve shorter blades is to shorten the longer blades of the ceiling fan. This is a no-go area, and one should never attempt it. Even if one does manage to cut the same length for all the blades, hacking off too many inches may disorient the ceiling fan and cause accidents. To stay on the safe side, stick to the proper blades for your ceiling fan,

Charles John

A novice DIYer who learns about home ventilation. I am a mechanical engineer and have a basic knowledge of HVAC systems but I learn continuously to make myself the best blogger in that space.

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