Why Is Ceiling Fan Making Noise: Reasons & Fix

When your ceiling fan starts to make strange noises when it is on, you immediately wonder whether it is “normal” wear and tear or whether your fan needs to be replaced. 

Fortunately, the cause of the noises your fan is making is often easy to repair and you usually don’t have to replace your fan. The most common reason why a ceiling fan makes grinding noises is unbalanced blades that cause the fan to wobble.

In this article, we’ll look at a few of the most common reasons for the noises made by your ceiling fan and suggest ways how to fix them.

Common causes of noisy ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are a great asset to any home.  They provide comfort and cool air during the hot summer months and better airflow of warm air during the winter months. Ceiling fans are often used as an addition to homes’ HVAC systems.

Unfortunately, when something goes wrong with a ceiling fan it can create annoying sounds. Apart from keeping you awake if it is your bedroom’s ceiling fan making the noises, it can in severe cases, damage your ceiling.  

Different problems cause different types of noises. This makes it to a certain extent easy to pinpoint the cause of the noise. So, it is important to identify the sound correctly and then try to determine what is causing it. Only after you’ve discovered the cause of the noise, you can start to fix it.

Unbalanced fan blades can cause a noise

It is quite common for a ceiling fan to make grinding noises when its blades are unbalanced. The fan starts to wobble and then produce strange noises. 

How to fix a wobbling fan so that it can run without a noise

  1. Make sure the fan is installed correctly, and the blades are correctly screwed into the blade holder. Then check that the blade holder is firmly screwed into the fan’s flywheel.
  2. Remove any dust or buildup from the fan blades and let it run again.
  3. If the wobble persists, some of the blades may be out of alignment.
  4. Check the blade alignment with a yardstick. Measure the distance from the edge of all the blades to the ceiling – they should all be the same. 
  5. If any blade is out of alignment, bend the blade holder until the blade is in line with the others, and turn the fan on to see if it runs smoothly.
  6. If it still wobbles, get a blade balancing kit from a hardware store and use it in accordance with the procedures given on the kit.

Dimmers can cause the sound

If the noise you hear is a humming noise, you are experiencing the most common type of annoying ceiling fan sound.  The humming might not be noticeable during the daytime, but if it is your bedroom’s fan you will hear it at knight when you go to bed. It can be so annoying that you can’t fall asleep. 

There might be more than one reason why the fan is making this humming noise, but the most common cause is that dimmer controls are being used to control fan speed. 

How to fix a humming noise caused by dimmer switches 

As dimmer switches were never intended to be utilized in ceiling fans to control the fans’ speed the problem is usually solved by replacing the dimmer switches with standard speed controls. 

Remote control’s receiver can cause the noise

If you have a ceiling fan that is controlled by remote control, a bad receiver on the fan might be the cause of the humming sound. When the bad receiver doesn’t get a good and strong signal from the remote it can result in a humming noise. 

How to fix a humming noise caused by remote controls

The solution to this problem is to completely take out the receiver. You can then connect the ceiling fan directly to the power source.   But remember, you’ve stopped the humming sound but you will not be able to control the fan with a remote control anymore.

Capacitors or low voltage can cause the noise

Bad capacitors could also be the cause of the noise your ceiling fan is making.  When the capacitors might be the problem your fan will usually also suffer from a low voltage level, and low voltage levels cause the fan’s motor to struggle. A low voltage can also cause noises. 

How to fix a fan noise caused by bad capacitors or low voltage 

As the low voltage is often caused by too many fans on the same circuit, the solution to the problem is to rewire the fan system in the house so that each fan is on a separate circuit. (Multiple fans on the same circuit are mostly found in older homes.) 

If bad capacitors are the problem, they’ll have to be replaced

Loose screws can cause the noise

Loose screws might be the reason why your ceiling fan is making a rattling sound. It may be blade screws or screws inside the motor of the fan. When you hear a rattling sound when your ceiling fan is on, you have to immediately stop the fan and look for the cause of the sound.  Loose screws in the ceiling fan blades can lead to blades coming loose and this can cause damage to your home or even injure people in your home.

How to fix a fan noise caused by loose screws 

If the screws connecting the ceiling fan blades to the motor are loose, then you have to tighten them up. 

Also, check whether there are loose screws inside the motor housing. All screws should be tight. 

Loose wire connector screws can also cause a rattling sound. Switch off the main power and check to make sure all wire connectors are secure and not causing the rattling. Fasten all the connectors’ screws. 

Incorrect Mounting can cause a noise

Noises can be produced if fans are mounted directly into the ceiling joist.  Regular fan noises will be amplified through the joist, causing a louder noise. 

How to fix a fan noise caused by incorrect mounting

You can minimize this noise, by using approved hangers. An approved ceiling fan hanger mounts between the ceiling joists, and this isolates the fan so that noises do not get amplified. 

Conclusion

When your ceiling fan is making strange noises it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to replace the fan.  If you know where to look for the reason of the sounds, you can fix the problem by yourself in most cases. In severe cases, you might have to call your local electrician to come to your home to find the problem and fix it.

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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