How to Balance a Ceiling Fan

Fixing Ceiling Fan

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Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to $20

A finely tuned, well-balanced ceiling fan will rotate overhead and keep you cool for many hours—quietly and efficiently. Using a ceiling fan is among the most economical ways to cool your home. They can even be used in the winter to better distribute heated air.

But if the ceiling fan is wobbly and out of balance, it announces itself with every turn of the blade. Even if you have learned to live with the noise, a ceiling fan that is out of balance no longer moves air with the same efficiency as before. Even more critical, an imbalanced ceiling fan can break loose and damage itself or injure people below. Learning how to balance a ceiling fan is easy and very inexpensive.

Basics of Fixing an Imbalanced Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans can be very close to balanced, but no ceiling fan is perfectly balanced. Because your ceiling fan rotates from a central axis, this rotation helps to correct a certain amount of imbalance in a fan. Some degree of wobble is considered to be normal and is not necessarily a defect. When the fan's imbalance exceeds the tolerance level, the fan will wobble more than is necessary and will make noise.

Though most ceiling fan imbalance issues can be traced to the fan blades, you should first check the fan as a whole. The fan body and housing must be tight and in good condition. The blade brackets should be firmly attached to the fan body.

Fan blades should be checked to ensure that they are not cracked or delaminating. You should also make sure that each blade is firmly attached to its bracket.

Most ceiling fan imbalance problems result from incorrect and inconsistent blade levels. The bracket that attaches the fan blade to the fan-motor assembly may need to be bent back to its original position.

Some imbalance problems also result when the entire fan-motor assembly (the unit below the droprod) is off-balance. The fix is to attach metal adhesive or clip-on weights from a ceiling fan balancing kit to the top of the fan blades. This kit is sometimes included with the ceiling fan or is available from the manufacturer or from a home center.

Safety Considerations

Always turn off the power to the fan before working on it. It is always safest to turn off power to the fan with its circuit breaker, at the service panel. Do not attempt to bend the blade brackets to an irregular position.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Step ladder
  • Straight edge or tape measure
  • Vacuum with a soft brush attachment
  • Laser level
  • Screwdriver
  • Allen wrench set

Materials

  • Ceiling fan balancing kit

Instructions

  1. Clean the Fan Blades

    From the ladder, check the tops of the fan blades. Over time, the blades will collect dust and other airborne debris. Gently clean off the dust, taking care not to disturb the bend the blades, brackets, or fan body. Any debris that is inconsistently dispersed between all of the blades will cause the blades to wobble. An example of this would be a large clump of cobweb found only on one blade.

  2. Check the Fan Body and Housing

    Make sure that the ceiling fan power is turned off at the circuit breaker. Manually test the connection to the ceiling to ensure that the fan is not loose against the ceiling. Test only the section above the droprod, not the lower section with the motor and fan blades. This upper section should be snug and tight against the ceiling.

  3. Check and Correct Fan Blade Height

    Stand on the step ladder to the side of the ceiling fan. With the straight edge or the tape measure, measure the distance from the end of a blade to the ceiling, directly above. Because fan blades are angled, choose one point on the blade and be consistent as you move through all of the blades. The blades' distance from the ceiling should not deviate more than 1/8-inch from each other.

  4. Check the Fan Blade Connection

    Make sure that the screws that attach the fan blades to the brackets and the brackets to the motor hub are tight. Tighten these blades as needed with an Allen wrench or a screwdriver.

  5. Check and Correct the Fan's Overall Balance

    The ceiling fan's hanger ball is designed to maintain the motor hub's overall balance. Run a laser line from a laser level across all of the fan blades. Turn the fan on and off to rotate the blades and check the level again. If the unit is off-balance, use the weights from the balancing kit to add weight to individual fan blades with the aim of balancing out the unit. Turn the blades by hand several times to verify that the unit is in balance.