Ceiling Fan Turns ON by Itself: 3 Main Reasons & Fix 

Is your fan acting up again? Does your fan turn on by itself like it’s haunted? Any electrical appliance turning on or off by itself is alarming. There could be various reasons as to why that’s happening.

A ceiling fan turning on by itself could be due to loose and faulty wiring, issues in the circuit breaker, or damage to the fan remote. This can be fixed by checking and fixing any loose wirings

So, if your fan seems to be creeping you out by turning on itself, then keep reading to find out what problems there may be that are causing this to happen. Once you’re able to identify that, then you can also learn how to fix those problems so you can have your fan cool you peacefully.

Picture of a ceiling fan that is going to turn on by itself
A ceiling fan that is going to turn on by itself 🙂

1. Loose and Faulty Wiring

Bad wiring is one of the most common reasons why fans face this issue. When wiring in the fan is loose, it may cause the fan to act up and create a cycle of its own where it turns on by itself. With faulty wiring, the current doesn’t deliver properly to the fan in one go; therefore, the voltage keeps fluctuating.  Oftentimes, pests cause a fan’s wiring to wear out, which ultimately leads to this outcome. 

To identify this problem, you can check the wiring connection that leads to your fan. Looking closely at the wires that enter and exit the circuit breaker will also help you find out whether the problem is in the connection. 

Loose and faulty wiring is, unfortunately, a more delicate problem than you will be able to handle. To repair, it requires you to change the damaged wiring altogether. The worst-case scenario is that faulty wiring can lead to a fire outbreak. As loose wiring is dangerous, to repair it, it’s best if you reach out to an electrician as soon as possible to fix your fan. 

2. Issues in the Circuit Breaker

A damaged circuit breaker is another possible reason why your fan may be turning on by itself. If there are problems with your circuit breaker, then it’s difficult identifying that not being an expert. In most instances, it’s the wiring in the circuit breaker that’s damaged. Nonetheless, to find out if the problem is in the circuit breaker, you can follow its checklist and get to the bottom of it.

Once you’ve identified what the problem is, then you can see what its best respective solution is. If it is a basic and simple problem, then you can probably manage it yourself. However, if it’s a complicated task, then it’s recommended to call a professional to get the job done.  

If the problem is as straightforward as a short circuit, then all you have to do is turn it off and then on for it to work properly. Nevertheless, the problem can still be because of a faulty wiring connection in the circuit breaker that then hinders the normal power supply. If you discover that this, in fact, is the issue, then immediately call your electrician and ask them to work on the loose wiring connection. 

3. Damaged Fan Remote 

At times, the problem doesn’t lie in the insides of the fan, rather it’s as simple as the fan’s broken remote. However, this may be a potential cause of only those fans that are relatively modern and are operated using remote controls. Remotes of ceiling fans have the same frequency as their respective fans; hence, naturally, when the remote has any problems, it affects the way that fans work. 

In terms of remotes having a problem, the most common reason for that is ‘frequency.’ A fan’s remote uses radio frequencies to work; therefore, on some days, radio frequencies are not set well or have weak signals. When such happens, then that results in the fan’s remote not picking up on its job efficiently. Moreover, it may also be that somebody close by, in a different room, or your neighbor, uses a fan of the same frequency, and whenever they use their remote, it causes your fan to turn on by itself. 

To solve this problem, you can reset your remote’s frequencies by following the instructions in the user manual. Doing this will ensure that you don’t share the same frequencies as somebody else’s ceiling fan. 

Or, you can find the DIP switches on the surface of your retriever and make sure to turn off the power. Once that’s done, unscrew the mounting bracket’s cover and adjust the DIP switch frequency. You can do this by using an appropriately sized screwdriver or any other similar tool to slide the buttons. This will result in a new combination of frequencies and hopefully adjust frequencies well enough for your fan to not turn on by itself. 

Fans are tricky to deal with. They present numerous different kinds of issues. Some are easy to deal with, and some aren’t. If you’ve had a faulty fan in the past, then you’ve probably asked the following questions. Lucky for you, we’ll give you the answers to them as well.

People Also Ask

What if the ceiling fan is vibrating?

The first thing that may come to your mind when your fan starts to vibrate is that the wheel is unbalanced. However, there are several reasons why your fan may be vibrating, and you should explore all of them. It may be as simple as a rag, or a foreign object is stuck in the wheel, or perhaps, that not all the grease was removed from the wheel resulting in it being out of balance. As far as mechanics are concerned, it may be the motor, belt, bearings, or wheel causing these problems. 

To identify if it’s the motor that’s causing the vibration, then remove the belt and run only the motor to check if it vibrates. If it does, then it’s time for you to replace your motor. To pinpoint that it’s the belt, then have a look at it. If it visibly looks like it’s in a poor condition, then replaces it as soon as possible. 

Other than that, ensure that there is alignment between your fan’s motor pulley and the blower pulley. It’s important to check for bearings as well to make sure that they’re not worn out or damaged. A simple solution to all your problems may just be lubricating the bearings and parts. You can also try securing your fan with an extra screw because that one screw can lower the noise of a fan. 

What if the ceiling fan is not performing well?

Many people complain that their ceiling fan is not working as well as it used to. This performance may be an outcome of a run-down or loose belt. You can also check your fan’s filters as their clogging with grease and dirt may be a cause of this too. 

How to make a slow fan spin faster

What if the fan’s motor shuts off and then starts again after a few minutes? 

The first identifiable trigger of this happening is the motor having thermal overload. An overheated motor can turn off and restart whenever it’s cool, resulting in the thermal overloading to reset and the fan’s motor shutting off and then starting again. However, this only happens in motors that are single-phased. If it’s not this, then your motor may be defective. 

What if the fan is stuck on one speed? 

A lot of fans get stuck on one speed, and neither do they speed up nor slow down. This is most likely to happen when the ball bearings of ceiling fans haven’t been cleaned or lubricated in quite some time. Another plausible reason is a defective fan. On another spectrum, other reasons could also range from an overheated motor or a broken capacitor – these two can cause a fan to function only at one speed.

How to oil a ceiling fan


Ceiling fans seldom give you a hard time, but it’s difficult, as amateurs, to pinpoint what’s causing the problem and how to fix it. The bigger dilemma is trying to figure out whether the problem is worth calling a professional or not. On top of that, calling a professional means spending a lot of money. Naturally, the dilemma boils down to the question, “is it really worth it?” To help you figure that out, we’ve given you possible reasons, as well as methods to fix and repair your ceiling fan when it turns on and off by itself. First, figure out what the problem is, then wait to see if you want to call a professional. Trying your best first is what’s going to take you to places! 

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

Latest Posts