Can Ceiling Fans Fall? Here Are The Facts!

Admit it, we’ve all thought about this at least once in a while. Can ceiling fans fall from the ceiling? Can they cause serious injuries or even death? If yes, what are the measures that need to be taken to ensure this never happens? You may call it fan-phobia or whatever you’d like, but the point is that it exists and it’s quite common. So, you’re not the only one who thinks about the fan falling on top of you while you sleep. In this read, we’ll be addressing the causes, chances, and damages of ceiling fans falling.

Ceiling fans can fall if they’re installed improperly. One of the most common signs of a fan about to fall is its hanging rod shaking during operation. However, if you comply with the National Electric Code and have your fan installed by a reliable electrician, then the chances of the fan falling are pretty much zero.

What causes a ceiling fan to fall?

Now, coming to the main question, what exactly is the reason behind a ceiling fan falling? To understand this properly, you have to know what parts a ceiling fan has that help it hang up there. The most important part of the fan is its downrod, which is used to hang it on the ceiling hanger. One part of it is attached to the fan’s motor while the other is to the ceiling. If the downrod is connected improperly from either side, the ceiling fan can and will inevitably fall. 

Your ceiling fan is either hung to the ceiling junction or to a mounting bracket. The former is the best option out there, while the latter is although a good option too, it requires proper installation and occasional checking. Since the mounting bracket is an external accessory that needs to be attached to the ceiling as well, it suffices but is not as good of an option as the ceiling junction. In the case of a deteriorating ceiling, there’s some chance that the fan may fall down.

Screws are what hold the fan together, if they are loose, the parts can detach. A ceiling fan’s operation is unlike any other electronic device. It hangs at the top and spins at high speeds to blow air, which is why it must have its screws tight. Moreover, the load on the screws increases during operation because the downward pulling/pushing force is higher. Some parts of the ceiling fan can catch rust with time and fail to hold the fan together. 

To sum it up, the most common causes of a ceiling fan falling are faulty installation, weak ceiling, and lack of maintenance.

Can a falling ceiling fan kill you?

Now we come to the question that keeps most of us up at night. A ceiling fan fall can be lethal if it falls directly upon the head of a person. An average ceiling fan can weigh somewhere around 10 to 50 pounds, varying on the fan’s type and size. The motor is the heaviest part of a ceiling fan. It sits right in the center and is surrounded by lightweight blades. Assuming that the heavy motor drops on a person’s head, it can cause serious injury. However, it is an extremely rare occurrence for a ceiling fan to fall and kill someone.

As far as the blades are concerned, they are neither that sharp nor too strong to tear apart human flesh, but they can still injure you if they make contact with you on the fall down. Moreover, a ceiling fan falls in a straight line down. You’re only in danger if there’s a chance of the fan coming down and you’re directly below it. Otherwise, fatal injuries due to ceiling fans are quite rare, while deaths are almost non-existent. Nonetheless, you still should take proper measures to ensure the unlikely doesn’t occur to you.

Tips to ensure your ceiling fan won’t fall

Proper installation

The first and foremost measure you can take to ensure your fan won’t fall is to never give it a reason to fall in the first place. An improper installation can result in faulty operation and lead to a fall. Make sure you assemble the fan the right way and tightly attach the rod to both sides. If you don’t know how to install a ceiling fan, don’t hesitate in calling out a professional.

Timely maintenance

If your fan has been hanging up there for a long while then it likely won’t bother you unless you fall short in regards to its maintenance. We discussed earlier that the dust can settle into its openings and make the screws get rusty with time. When the screws wear out, the chance of the fan’s components detaching increases and you don’t want that happening.

Look for disbalance

Ceiling fans do shake and vibrate during operation, but only to a certain extent. If your fan is moving in the diameter of an inch, then that’s a solid indicator of a disbalance. Your ceiling fan will wobble if a part has gotten loose or a blade is out of its position. If ignored for too long, a wobbling fan can lead to a fall.

Ensure the ceiling is not damaged

Your ceiling is what holds the fan up there. Homeowners who have non-cemented ceilings should be extra careful about hanging their ceiling fans. Whether you have a mounting bracket or a stud for attachment, make sure there are no chances of the ceiling wearing out otherwise you’ll be paying for both a new ceiling and fan in the future.

Can a ceiling fan fall during an earthquake?

In the case of natural disasters such as an earthquake, your ceiling fan will likely not fall if it is attached tightly to a ceiling stud. However, in extreme situations, it can still come down which is why it is always advised to take cover during natural disasters. Even if the earthquake is not severe, the lights of a ceiling fan are the most inclined to fall down during these times. So, it’s best to stay away from ceiling fans when mother nature strikes.


Ceiling fans are ideal for air circulation when you’re short on space. They are still safer than pedestal fans and just as effective. As far as the question of a ceiling fan dropping on you is concerned, then there are almost no chances of that happening, especially if you give the fan timely maintenance. We hope you sleep well tonight knowing that fan isn’t coming down anytime soon.

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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