How to Fix a Noisy Ceiling Fan

Stop ceiling fans from making unnecessary noise with these simple repairs

ceiling fan

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins - 1 hr, 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $100

A ceiling fan is an excellent way to increase airflow and promote good air circulation throughout the home. During the winter, a ceiling fan can force warm air that has risen to the ceiling down into the room to help keep you warm, while in the summer the direction of the fan can be reversed so that it helps you stay cool during the warmer months.

However, the ceiling fan can become a nuisance if it begins making rattling sounds or starts wobbling during operation. Common ceiling fan problems can range from dirty fan blades to a bent or broken fan arm. If the issue is left unresolved, it can cause further damage to the fan, including wearing out the motor, tearing out electrical connections, or loosening light fixtures and coverings. Learn how to fix a noisy ceiling fan to stop the sounds and prevent future problems.

Before You Begin

Ceiling fans are made up of a variety of parts that can come loose, warp, break, or burn out. During the troubleshooting process, you may find that there is more than one issue that is causing the fan to rattle, wobble, or otherwise make noise. So even if you resolve the first problem, the fan may continue to make noise unless you fix each current issue.

Basic steps, like tightening the fasteners on the fan, could solve the issue, but there is also a chance that the fasteners came loose due to the rattling and wobbling of the fan, instead of being the root cause. To avoid climbing up and down the ladder too many times, approach this problem in a linear fashion, starting with the least expensive and complex possibilities as you troubleshoot the ceiling fan. Also, if you do need to purchase new fan blades, blade arms, or fasteners, you will need to find parts that match your ceiling fan model.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ladder
  • Duster
  • Microfiber cloth towels
  • Screwdriver set
  • Measuring tape


  • Replacement fan blades
  • Replacement fan arms
  • Ceiling fan balancing kit


How to Fix Dirty Fan Blades

One of the most simple problems that can cause a fan to wobble and rattle is that the fan blades are dirty. Ceiling fan blades need to be properly balanced to ensure that the fan can operate at high speeds without wobbling. However, if the blades are coated with enough dust and dirt to actually affect the weight of each fan blade, then the rotation of the ceiling fan will no longer be balanced.

  1. Dust the Fan Blades

    Wipe down the fan blades with a duster to remove most of the dust, dirt, and debris. If you slide an old pillowcase over each fan blade before cleaning it, the pillowcase will catch most of the dust and dirt, instead of it falling onto the floor.

  2. Wash the Fan Blades

    Use a microfiber cloth towel and warm water to scrub the blades, blade arms, and motor housing. If necessary, you can also use a cotton swab to get into narrow cracks and crevices. Give the fan about 10 to 15 minutes to dry before turning it on to determine if the noise issue is resolved.

dusting the ceiling fan

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Loose Ceiling Fan Mount

The ceiling fan should be securely attached to the fan mount to prevent it from shifting, rattling, or wobbling during use. If the ceiling fan is not properly secured to the mount, then the fan will shift according to the weight, momentum, and movement of the blades, causing the center of the fan to pull away from the mount as the fasteners are gradually stripped.

  1. Inspect the Ceiling Fan Mount

    Inspect the ceiling fan mount and brackets by loosening the bracket housing. During this visual inspection, it's a good idea to check the label on the electrical box to determine if it is rated for ceiling fans.

  2. Tighten the Ceiling Fan Mount

    Use a screwdriver to tighten the fasteners on the wood beams or metal brace, then tighten the bracket housing to secure the fan mount.

    However, if you find that the electrical box is not made to support the weight and movement of a ceiling fan, then hire an electrician to upgrade the electrical box with a suitable replacement.


Click Play to Learn How to Fix a Noisy Fan

Poor Lubrication

Depending on the make and model of the ceiling fan, you may need to regularly apply lubrication to prevent the internal parts of the fan from overheating or sticking during operation.

  1. Inspect the Ceiling Fan

    Inspect the body of the ceiling fan to find the oil hole or check the information provided by the manufacturer to determine if your fan requires regular lubrication or if it can operate without.

  2. Add Oil to Lubricate the Ceiling Fan

    Apply three to four drops of non-detergent electric motor oil to the oil hole to lubricate the ceiling fan. Alternatively, you can use a lubricating spray to lubricate the ceiling fan, just make sure you don't add too much. Let it rest for several minutes before turning the fan on to test.

Motor Cover Obstruction

In some cases, the position of the motor cover can actually obstruct the ceiling fan blades, forcing them to scrape or drag over the motor housing cover. If this issue is not resolved, the fan will continue to make noise and can wear out, or damage the blades.

  1. Inspect the Motor Housing

    Turn the fan off, then use a ladder to get a closer look at the motor housing. If you see signs that indicate the fan blades are hitting or scraping across the housing, it will need to be repositioned.

  2. Detach and Reposition the Motor Housing

    To fix this problem, you can use a screwdriver to detach and reposition the motor housing cover so that it no longer obstructs the movement of the fan blades. Secure any screws around the motor housing cover, and check to make sure the fan blades and fan arms are properly tightened.

Loose Fasteners

Various parts of a ceiling fan are vulnerable to loosening over time due to the rotational force created by the fan, so it isn't uncommon to find that a screw or fastener needs to be tightened to prevent the fan from wobbling or rattling.

  1. Inspect the Ceiling Fan

    Take some time to carefully inspect each part of the fan to determine if any brackets, blades, fan arms, light fixtures, or fasteners need to be tightened.

  2. Secure the Fasteners

    Loose fasteners and other fan parts can cause ongoing noise issues and premature wear. Use a screwdriver to tighten any loose parts that you find while thoroughly inspecting the entire unit.

  3. Test the Ceiling Fan

    Turn the fan on to test if this fixed the wobble. However, keep in mind that fasteners may become loose due to the wobbling movement of an unbalanced fan, so loose fasteners may just be a symptom of a different problem.


Some blade screws might be sized for a #3 Phillips screwdriver tip. The standard size is #2. You can identify #3 screws by a squarish space at the center of the screw head. A #3 bit (which is commonly included in screwdriver sets) has a corresponding flat area. If you use a #2 screwdriver with #3 screws, you're likely to strip them.

tightening screws

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Incorrect Fan Blade Position

Ceiling fans operate smoothly when the fan blades are completely even and balanced, so if the fan is rattling or wobbling, then the issue may be that the fan blades are in the incorrect position.

  1. Measure the Blade Position

    Measure the vertical distance from the tip of each fan blade to the ceiling. The measurements should be equal; if not, the fan will not rotate evenly.

  2. Tighten the Mounting Screws

    Use a screwdriver to tighten the mounting screws on the motor housing.

  3. Bend the Fan Arms

    Gently bend the fan arms to adjust the height of each fan blade until they sit evenly. Just be careful when you are working with the fan arms to avoid breaking them.

Broken, Bent, or Warped Blades or Arms

During your inspection of the ceiling fan mount, fasteners, or the fan blade position you may have noticed that one or more of the blades or arms is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.

  1. Find Compatible Replacement Parts

    Compatible fan blades, fan arms, and other parts can generally be found by searching the manufacturer's website or by contacting the company directly.


    In most cases, it would be easier and much more timely to purchase a new fan and replace the entire fan than try to get replacement blades or arms.

  2. Turn Off the Fan

    Turn the fan off and remove any bulbs or light covers, if applicable. Set the bulbs and light covers aside until you are wrapping up the repair.

  3. Replace the Fan Blade or Arm

    Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the damaged blade or blade arm, then put the replacement blade or arm in position. Tighten the fasteners to secure the new fan blade or arm, then replace any bulbs or light covers. If more than one fan blade or arm is damaged, repeat the process until all damaged parts have been replaced with new parts.

replacing the canopy cover

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Unbalanced Fan Blades

Sometimes, even when the ceiling fan is clean, properly installed, and all parts are securely fastened, the unit can still make noise during operation. This can occur if the blades are unbalanced, causing the fan to wobble as it rotates. The repair for this problem is relatively simple, but you will need a ceiling fan balancing kit, containing a plastic clip, multiple small weights, and adhesive backing.

  1. Locate the Unbalanced Fan Blade

    Be prepared to spend some time determining which blade is causing the imbalance. Attach the plastic clip from the kit about halfway up the length of one blade, then turn on the fan to check if the wobbling is better or worse. Repeat this step until you find the problem blade.

  2. Determine the Position for the Balance Weight

    Try to correct the issue by gradually sliding the clip along the length of the blade to the tip, about an inch at a time. Check the movement of the fan after each adjustment to find out the best position to help stabilize the rotation of the fan.

  3. Secure the Weight to Correct the Imbalance

    Add a balance weight at this position by either using the adhesive backing or glue to secure the weight in the center of the fan blade. After the weight is in place, remove the clip and test the fan. If it is still wobbling, you may have more than one blade that is unbalanced.

    Repeat this process to identify and correct unbalanced blades using the additional weights in the kit until the fan can rotate without rattling or wobbling.

When to Call a Professional

Most DIYers can take on straightforward issues, like fixing a broken fan blade or installing a balancing kit to correct the rotation of the ceiling fan, but there are some jobs that are best left to a professional. Ceiling fans need to be connected to the home electrical system through the electrical box in order for the fan to operate, but if the wrong type of electrical box was used or the electrical box wasn't mounted properly, then it may cause the ceiling fan to rattle, wobble, and potentially tear free from the mount.

Avoid using the ceiling fan until a professional electrician can come in to repair or reinstall the electrical box properly.