How To Oil A Ceiling Fan: And Things You Must Know

Oiling a ceiling fan helps it to run smoothly. This reduces any noise coming from the fan and also helps to increase its longevity. Given below are simple steps to oiling a ceiling fan.

How to lubricate a ceiling fan: Step by step guide

Oiling your ceiling fan is not complicated. Follow these steps to get the job done as fast as possible and with no hassle at all. 

Step 1: Turn off your fan 

You will most likely need a ladder in order to reach your ceiling fan properly. Turn the fan off and give it a few seconds until it stops spinning completely. It is important while you are doing this to check the fan and make sure that you can reach it. If you can’t get to it, adjust the position of the ladder accordingly. 

Step 2: Locate the oil hole 

All ceiling fans have an oil hole designated especially for lubricating them. Usually, this hole is placed in the upper part of the fan. It should come easy to reach it while you are underneath the motor. 

Step 3: Add oil into the fan

Now that you found the oil hole of your fan’s motor, all you have left to do is add some oil. The manufacturer of the product will specify what type of oil to use. If you don’t have access to this information, you can use motor oil with no detergent. As far as the quantity goes, one or two ounces of oil should be enough. 

Make sure you have a cloth handy as you do that. You will need it so you can wipe the extra oil that you might get on the fan. 

Step 4: Turn the fan back on 

Now you can turn the fan on and see if it runs smoothly. If you lubricated it right, your fan should make no noise, and it should spin as if it was brand new. 

Oiling a ceiling fan

Do all ceiling fans need to be oiled

One of the most common concerns when it comes to a ceiling fan is whether or not you should oil it. While the answer to this question varies according to the model of the fan, most of them do need some lubrication.

All ceiling fans need to be oiled at some point in time. Some ceiling fans come with an oil hole in their motor housing; they need to be oiled yearly. Other ceiling fans come with double sealed ball bearings which are self-lubricating; they need to be oiled if they start running slower or making noises.

If your ceiling fan requires manual lubrication, you will find specific indications regarding this aspect in the instructions. It is essential to respect the instructions of your product on top of any other information. Keep in mind that each motor is different, and so is the maintenance process you need to respect to make the most out of it. 

If your ceiling fan comes with sealed bearings, you will not need to lubricate it regularly. These fans are made to self-lubricate as they have a maintenance-free system. Self-lubrication implies the presence of a lubricant that can be solid or oily on the sliding layer of each bearing. As the motor runs, this lubricant will be gradually released on the surface of the bearings as needed to avoid squeaky sounds or malfunctions. The lubricant added by the manufacturer should be enough to cover the estimated lifespan of the product. 

However, if your fan doesn’t work as smoothly as it did when you first bought it, you might want to consider lubricating it. The sealed motor will make this procedure more difficult, though. 

Oiling a sealed ceiling fan that doesn’t have an oil hole

If the fan is sealed, you will have to take the fan apart completely to oil it. You need to remove the blades one by one and keep all the parts that come out so you can reassemble your fan back with no struggle. Each sealed ceiling fan is different, so you never know what you will find once you take the motor apart. 

Once you took the fan apart, you will need to identify the bearings and lubricate them with a proper oil. Since the manufacturer sealed the ceiling fan, you will not have clear instructions on lubricating it and what type of oil to use. In this case, you should go for a motor oil that is safe for electric motors. Keep in mind that the oil should only get to the bearings and not the motor. Oil the bearings and assemble the fan back together. 

Video showing oiling a sealed ceiling fan

If you can’t do this at home due to a lack of tools or instructions, your best option is to take the fan to a repair service station. Contact the manufacturer to let them know about your issues with the product as they might offer you some valuable guidance. 

What type of lubricant should you use?

When it comes to the type of oil you need to add to your ceiling fan, it depends significantly on the model that you have. Not all ceiling fans are the same, and they don’t work with the same type of oil. So, checking the manufacturer’s instructions is your best option if you want to know exactly what type of oil to use. 

However, the most common type of oil used to lubricate ceiling fans is motor oil with no detergent added to it. Choosing an oil with detergent can deteriorate the fan and give its motor a sound that might be disturbing. Also, oil with detergent as well as 3 in 1 oil can be combustible and create a fire hazard. 

Where does a lubricant get into? How does it lubricate the fan

The oil you add into the oil hole of your ceiling fan will reach the bearings of the device. You want the oil to get to all the bearings areas so that all the extra noise disappears. 

If the oil you add to the fan motor doesn’t reach the bearings, the lubrication procedure will be a failure. This is why it is important to spin the fan a few seconds to make sure you lubricate the bearings properly. 

Can you use WD-40 on a ceiling fan

WD-40 is a great lubricant. However, it shouldn’t be used to lubricate a ceiling fan. This is because WD-40 is not an oil-based lubricant. It is a water-displacing type of lubricant, and it can actually damage your fan more than fix it. 

This type of lubricant comes in a spray form, making it complicated to add into the oil hole anyway. This is the first aspect that makes users question its efficiency in lubricating ceiling fans. 

Can i use cooking oil to lubricate fan

Another common question that many users have in mind is if they can choose cooking oil when they need to lubricate their ceiling fans. The short answer is no. But I need to elaborate on this matter as well. 

One shouldn’t use cooking oil to lubricate a ceiling fan. This is because they are not meant to be used in machines. They will gum up the fan’s bearings and slow down the fan instead of loosening it. Cooking oil also poses a fire hazard. You might be able to use cooking oils such as olive oil or sunflower oil if you need to lubricate the external areas of the fan.

Can I use baby oil to lubricate fan

If you have babies, you might have baby oil handy and consider using that to lubricate your ceiling fan. The good news is that baby oil is not conductive; therefore, it is safe to use it on your ceiling fan. Since we are at it, we will mention that you can use baby oil as well as any other non-conductive oil to lubricate any type of device. 

It is important to mention though, that this should not be your first option. Even if it can get the job done, baby oil is not the best lubricant for motors. So, you might need to oil your ceiling fan more often if you compromise on this type of solution. 

Can I use motor oil to lubricate fan

Motor oil is a good choice for lubricating a ceiling fan if it is the kind of oil intended for electric motors.  It is also important to avoid oils with detergent or 3 in 1 oils as they can damage the motor and even create combustion. 

When you choose the motor oil for your ceiling fan, make sure you go for an oil that is safe for electric motors. This is a crucial aspect to consider in order to stay on the safe side. Each motor is different, and it is projected with specific needs to function perfectly. However, most electric motors will work with lubricants designs for this wide category. If you don’t have access to the product’s instructions to see what the manufacturer recommends for your ceiling fan, choosing a motor oil is one of the best solutions. 

What happens if I don’t oil my ceiling fan?

Ceiling fans that require regular lubrication will not run properly without this maintenance. If you are not oiling your fan yearly or as often as the manufacturer recommends you to, you will notice that the device makes bothering sounds. A well-oiled ceiling fan will be silent in such a way that you don’t hear it when it is on. 

Another issue with fans that lack proper lubrication is that they get slower than their regular speed. As a result, you will notice that the blades of your fan spin at a slower rate, and the device is not as efficient as it used to be. 

Rust is another problem that is common among ceiling fans that are not correctly lubricated. This can shorten the life of your ceiling fan and gather dust as well as other bacteria inside of it as a side effect of poor functioning.

Final thoughts

As you can see, oiling your ceiling fan doesn’t need to be a struggle. However, it is essential for your safety to have the right information on the matter. Use this guide to choose the type of oil you can use and to know how to lubricate your ceiling fan by yourself. If all goes right, you will have a ceiling fan that works like new in just a few minutes! We strongly recommend, though, to check with the product manufacturer before deciding on the type of oil you use on your fan. They will give you specific guidance regarding the needs of your ceiling fan and how you can maintain it the best! 

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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