How to Fix & Balance a Wobbly Ceiling Fan?

The wobbly ceiling fan is like a symptom that indicates its intrinsic problems. If we observe any abnormality when using the ceiling fan, we should inspect it as soon as possible to prevent the subsequent accidents.

What is a wobbly (rocking) ceiling fan?

A wobbly ceiling fan means rocking or swinging in whole or in part. Imbalanced ceiling fan blades often produce noise and asymmetric shadows. The main reason for ceiling fan wobble is improper installation, such as loose blades or screws. If you observe the fan vibrates, swings or becomes unstable when running at low or high speed, we should shut off the ceiling fan immediately and check it.

Although small degree of rocking is normal and acceptable for ceiling fan, the significant wobble may cause the serious consequence such as falling off or detachment of blades. It is recommended to consult the professional electricians if you have no ideas on how to fix it.

Why do we need to fix wobbly ceiling fan?

1. Noise of ceiling fan

Wobbly ceiling fans produce annoying noise. We would rather tolerate the heat than the disturbing noise when sleeping, reading or studying. The mechanical noise coming out from the rocking ceiling fan and affect our daily lives. In the extreme case, the noise of the rocking fan is even louder than the TV sound.

In addition, the noise produced by the wobbly fan blades can disturb the conversion, which will upset your guests or friends. At night, the persistent rumble of the bedroom ceiling fan may affect the sleep quality as the noise would prevent you from falling asleep.

2. Risk of ceiling fan falling off

Since loose screw or blade is one of the common reasons of rocking ceiling fan, chances are that it may fall off if we don’t fix it in time. The noise or shaking blade arm or housing may indicate the improper installation.

Imagine we put the ceiling fan in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, the fast-rotating ceiling fan is just above your head. The fall off is quite dangerous even if the ceiling fan is not turned on. Remember, falling off of ceiling fan causes loss of life and property. That’s the ample reason why should we fix the ceiling fan with shaky blades.

3. Unbalanced airflow

If the ceiling fan blades are wobbly, the wind flow would become unstable and cause turbulence. It would dramatically reduce the cooling effect of the ceiling fan. If we don’t troubleshoot this issue, the ceiling fan would become solely decorative.

4. Increased power consumption

The imbalanced ceiling fan will increase the power consumption because it is necessary for the motor to provide an extra torque to rotate the asymmetric blades. According to the ceiling fan expert, the energy consumption is increased by 5 to 15% if the ceiling fan shakes. This would increase the loading of the fan motor to some extent.

Why does ceiling fan wobble? How to fix?

There are so many reasons why ceiling fan rocks. Before fixing them, we should understand the causes so as to find the best way to solve the issue, instead of just treat the symptom.

1. Imbalanced ceiling fan blades

Wobbly ceiling fan can be caused by improper alignment of the blade. If the blades are not rotational symmetric, they will shake because of the shift of center of gravity.

Diagnosis

To check the rotational symmetry of the ceiling fan, we can observe how the blades rotate under the ceiling fan. If the blades are too fast to observe, we can make use of the slow-motion camera of the smart phones. The recent iPhones have the 120 fps camera, while some Android devices have 120 to 960 fps. By looking at the slow-motion footage, we can see if the blades are rotating in a perfect circle. We can spot out the misaligned blades and re-balance it.

How to balance the ceiling fan blade

If you want to balance the wobbly ceiling fan without removing it, we need to use the trial and error method. We need to slightly adjust the misaligned ceiling fan blade(s), and then take the slow-motion video again to see if the rotational symmetry and the wobble problem is improved. If not, we will need to repeat the step. In this method, we don’t need to remove the entire ceiling fan which saves time and effort. However, before balancing the blades, we should cut off all power supply in advance to prevent electric shock.

If we want to fix it effectively, we may need to take the ceiling fan off and place it on a large piece of paper, or whatever material that allow you to write on it. The size of the paper should exceed the area of the ceiling fan. After putting the ceiling fan on the paper, we can draw a large circle that enclose the tips of the ceiling fan blades. For instance, if you ceiling fan is 48″, we should draw a perfect circle with the diameter of 48″. Thus, we can easily observe which blade lays outside the circle. We can adjust the clamping position of the fan blade and then rotating the ceiling fan manually again to see if the wobbly problem is improved.

To ensure the perfect alignment of the ceiling fan blade, we can measure the distance between each blade.

2. Dust

Dust will be accumulated on the ceiling fan blade. The weight or dust can increase the loading of the motor. If some of the blades are dustier, the center of gravity will be shifted. In addition, the dust particles may clog the motor, so the energy efficiency is lowered.

How to fix

Before cleaning the ceiling fan blade and motor, we must switch off the power supply to prevent electric shock, or someone turn the fan on accidentally.

Then, we can put a ladder so that we can reach the ceiling fan blades. If the ceiling height is above 15 to 20ft, we shouldn’t clean the fan blades by ourselves because it is too dangerous for the untrained people to climb to such a great height. Instead, we should hire the professional.

We can gently remove the dust on both sides of the ceiling fan blade. When wiping the dust, we should hold the blade to avoid applying too much pressure on the fan blades. Some contemporary ceiling fan has the very delicate ceiling fan blades. In addition, we shouldn’t use the strong detergent to clean the ceiling fan because it may be harmful to the brushed nickel or wooden surface. To clean the stubborn dirt, we can wipe the surface by cool or warm water. Afterward, we should use a clean, microfiber cloth to dry it.

Finally, we can turn on the ceiling fan again to see if the ceiling fan still wobbles.

3. Loose blade

The ceiling fan blade screws may be loosened, so they can’t rotate in a perfect circle. If we don’t fix it in time, the blade may fall off because of the centripetal force.

How to troubleshoot

The best way to troubleshoot loosen screw is to reach the fan to see if the blades a stably screwed. We can touch and feel each blade, and tighten the loosen blades.

Another common way is to measure the distance between the blade and the ceiling. If the ceiling fan is properly installed, the distance between the ceiling fan each blade should be the same. If one of the blades has a longer distance, this may indicate that blade is loosely held.

We can also use the slow-motion camera to inspect. We can put the smart phone on the selfie stick, and record the slow-motion video at the parallel level of the ceiling fan. Therefore, we can inspect if all ceiling fan blades are rotating in the same horizontal level. This method is suitable for preliminary diagnosis of a wobbly ceiling fan.

4. Broken fan blades

The weight imbalance can be caused by broken blades. Similarly, the center of weight will shift to the opposite direction of the broken blade.

How to troubleshoot

We can easily observe the cracked ceiling fan blade. However, if the blades are damaged by worms, it is not so easy to detect. Instead, we will need to remove all the fan blades and weight them on the scale. If we find that some of the blade is lighter than others, we can consider adding the balance weight on these blades.

How to use ceiling fan weight balance kit

The fan balancing kit is constituent of the self-adhering small weight & U-shaped clip. The purpose of the kit is to balance the weight of each ceiling fan blade. We can preliminarily estimate the position of the weight by using the clip. It is like a trial and error test – we can slowing slide the clip along the long edge of the blade, to determine which position is best for reducing the wobble. Afterwards, we can stick the weight near the clip and remove the clip. To have a better appearance, we can put the weight on the upper surface of the blade, so no one can see the weight under the ceiling fan.