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 is 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.

The 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 deters 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 ceiling fan blade arms

So, considering the above discussion, you can replace a ceiling fan’s damaged or rusty blades with new blades of similar specifications. Replacing the blade arms can look intimidating, but it’s not as tricky. For safety reasons, turn off the fan and shut off power from the circuit breaker. Get an appropriate ladder and clean any dust from the blades before proceeding further.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to have your upgraded fan up and running in no time.

Step1: Remove old blades

You’ll need to remove and replace all the blades even if only one blade is broken, as the new blades will not be an exact match if the fan is relatively old. You can get hold of blades from the same brand, but the difference between old and new blades in terms of color and look will be very evident.

Take your time and carefully remove the old blades from the arm. The blades are attached to the motor, usually using two screws. Unscrew and keep the screws safe in case you need them later. 

Step 2: Determine blade size

Once you have removed the old blades, measure the length of the blades. You will want to buy new blades with approximately the same length and proportion so the blades don’t strain the fan motor. If unsure about your ceiling fan’s blade length, use a measuring tape and measure from the tip of one blade to its end.

Step 3: Find replacement blades

When you’re unsure what blades are compatible with your fan, look at the original blade set. Buy a fan blade set that matches the color and position of the screw holes on the old blades. Refer to the above section for selecting the right blade arms for your fan.

Step 4: Install the new blades

Before installing the new blades, ensure you have bought the correct size for your fan. Then attach the blades using old screws if they are in good condition, or use new ones for a matching look. You may need a helper to hold the blade arm while fastening the screws. Once this is done, turn the power back on and enjoy an ungraded fan!

Further reading: How to replace ceiling fan blades

Charles John

Experienced HVAC technician with 8 years of experience in the industry. Capable of handling all sorts of heating and cooling equipment as well as proficient in operational management, construction-related techniques such as preventative maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and AutoCAD

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