How to Fix a Wobbly Ceiling Fan
Let me start off by saying a small amount of wobble is fine and most fans will show some signs of a wobble. However more pronounced wobble can appear to be a nuisance or something may be wrong with the fan.
Here are a couple of reasons why a ceiling fan may wobble or vibrate;
• Ceiling fan fixing screws are loose or wrong type
• Incorrect mounting of ceiling fan or lack of fixing to structural member
• Poor quality ceiling fan
• Loose screws fixing blades to fan body
• Warped or damaged blades
• Blades out of alignment
• Blades out of balance
The most common issues are; blades which have been damaged or hit and cause the fan to become out of balance, poorly aligned blades or blades out of balance from new. Luckily there are a couple of checks and repairs you can attempt yourself.
A note on checking loose fixings to ceiling. I noticed there’s a couple of informative articles that tell home owners to check the tightness of the ceiling fixing screws. While this is a relatively simple task it does involve removing the top bell cover which exposes the supply cable(s) and electrical terminations. Even as an electrician, when performing this task I would be isolating at the switch board and testing that the circuit is not live. Using tools and having body parts within touch reach of electrical supply is not a safe practice. Also keep in mind that even though the fan is not ‘on’ there can be live looped cables present.
Check Blade Alignment
Do not turn the fan on during this process. Using a long ruler, piece of timber, measuring tape or even a stick measure the distance from the ceiling to the fan blade. Rotate the fan by hand and check that each of the blades measure about the same distance from the ceiling. If one of the blades is higher or lower you should be able to bend the blade of the fan up or down to compensate. Do this gently to avoid permanent damage to the blade. It won’t need much force to make a difference to the height of the blade. Hopefully you should see some improvement, if not follow the next procedure.
Check Fan and Blade Balance
Fan balance kits sometimes come packaged with a ceiling fan and are also available from fan retailers. These kits are cheap and will come with an instruction manual to follow. However you are still able to determine if this is in fact your problem without purchasing a balance kit.
Ensure that test weights are stuck down well and remember it is only to be used as a test method and not a repair. This brings me to another one of those supposed ‘fixes’ I have read online. You can be assured this is not permanent and you will end up with a 10 cent coin flying across the room at some stage!
A 10 cent piece is a good testing weight. Choose a fan blade and tape the weight with 2 pieces of tape to form an X about half way up the blade. Turn the fan onto the speed that wobbles the most and assess whether this has improved the wobble or not. Remove the weight and perform the same test with each of the blades. When one of the blades shows a change that improves the wobble you can now purchase a ‘fan wobble kit’ to repair the issue. This will involve testing at which point along the blade the weight is to be placed and how much weight.
If there is still no improvement and the wobble is of worry, feel free to give me a call at Adelaide Electric and I can either assess the fan or suggest a replacement option. We are experienced electricians installing ceiling fans in Adelaide and perform our installations to a high quality and with your safety in mind.