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What Causes Ceiling Fans to Wobble?

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If your ceiling fan starts wobbling, it’s a sign there’s something wrong with it. You’ll want to fix it as soon as possible because that wobbling motion can cause further damage to your fan. And, if it breaks, it might even damage your ceiling.

The good news is that fixing your ceiling fan’s wobbling problem won’t require a pricy service call. Even the most casual DIY enthusiast can do most repairs on their own.

We put together this guide to tell you why your ceiling fan might be wobbling and what you can do about it.

Reasons your ceiling fan can start to wobble and how to fix it

Ceiling Fan

Usually, an issue with the blades causes the fan to wobble. So, you should start with those. They’re also the easiest issue to fix because it’s often as simple as replacing the blade.

Let’s take a look at some causes of fan wobble.

Dirty fan blades. A lot of people don’t clean their fan blades. Overlooking this task could cause an uneven accumulation of dust particles that causes wobble. Cleaning off the fan blades is the easiest way to correct wobble caused by this issue.

In addition, if you clean the blades off, you might need to use a rebalancing kit to correct a weight imbalance.

Warped or broken fan blades. While cleaning the blades off, you should inspect them. You might discover a crack or even a fracture that’s causing one of your blades to jiggle as it spins. Humidity might also cause your blades to warp.

While you’re inspecting your blades, check the screws that are holding them in. Loosened screws could also cause a blade to spin below the other blades, which will cause the entire fan to wobble. Tightening the screws could solve the issue.

If you find any blades that are warped or broken, replace them. You might need to use a rebalancing kit if you replace a blade and the fan still wobbles.

Motor problems. If the blades are in good shape, clean, and screwed in well, inspect the fan unit itself. Dust and dirt buildup can cause the motor to operate improperly. Try cleaning it out. If the motor appears to be beyond repair, especially if it’s old, you might need to replace the entire fan.

While you are inside the fan unit, check the screws to make sure they’re tightened. A loose screw holding the fan to the ceiling can cause it to wobble.

Weight imbalance. Sometimes fans start to wobble because of a very small weight imbalance over a long period of time. In this case, you’ll need to correct the imbalance.

The easiest way is with a rebalancing kit. They are usually included with your purchase when you buy a fan. However, if you’ve lost yours, you can also find them pretty cheap either online or at a big box hardware store.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying one, you can measure the amount of space between your ceiling and the tip of each blade. Then, you can help balance it by taping a washer or a nickel on top of the blade closest to the ceiling.

Are ceiling fans supposed to wobble?

It’s normal for ceiling fans to have a little wobble. After all, it’s a set of spinning blades attached to a rod, so it’s bound to move.

A wobble of up to an eighth of an inch is pretty normal, and it might wobble a little more at higher speeds. However, if you can tell the fan is wobbling as it spins, you’ll want to check to see if something is wrong.

There are two reasons to check it out. The first is that it is that it doesn’t look right. Fans are designed to have a uniform appearance when spinning. If you can tell it’s out of balance, it takes away from its appearance.

It’s also a sign that there’s probably something wrong with the fan. Not only should you repair the problem promptly to avoid any further damage to your fan, but you should also keep in mind that allowing it to continue wobbling could damage other components. For example, it might even damage the ceiling.

Can a wobbling ceiling fan fall?

Ceiling Fan

No matter how badly a ceiling fan is wobbling, it probably won’t fall. But, we say probably because it’s not entirely out of the question.

Ceiling fans are secured to studs in your ceiling with heavy-duty screws. They are designed to hold the weight of the fan and, while excess wobble puts extra strain on them, it isn’t enough to pull the screws out of the studs.

If your ceiling fan is improperly installed, however, there’s no telling what might happen. So, you want to ensure that you’re properly installing your ceiling fan.

Can you balance a wobbling ceiling fan without a balancing kit?

One of the primary reasons that ceiling fans wobble is that the weight of the fan is unbalanced. However, once you even out the weight, the wobble should stop.

These days, most ceiling fans come with a balancing kit, which consists of a plastic clip and some weights to place on top of the fan blades. They are also available in most big box hardware stores for a decent price.

But, you might not need a balancing kit. Often, you can re-balance the weight of your fans with some simple cleaning and maintenance.

Before you start adding weight to your fan blades, you should clean them first. This task is easy to overlook during your routine cleaning and dust might buildup unevenly across the blades. So, cleaning them off might stop the wobbling.

The next step is to go through and tighten all the screws in your fan unit. Start with those connecting the fan blades themselves. Then, work your way into the unit. It’s also probably a good idea to tighten all the screws at once so you don’t miss any.

If the screws are tight and you still don’t feel like buying a balancing kit, you can measure each blade from the tip to the ceiling. Tape a washer or a coin to the top of the blade that is closest to the ceiling to even them out. You might need to tape two.


Ceiling Fan

The longer you own a ceiling fan, the greater the odds that it will start to wobble. You’ll want to address it quickly because wobbling not only hurts the appearance of a working fan, but it can also damage other parts of the fan.

But don’t panic. Most causes of ceiling fan wobble are simple enough for you to address yourself. There’s no need to make a service call. It might even be as easy as cleaning off the blades or tightening a few screws.

We hope you found this guide for ceiling fan wobble helpful. If you did, please leave a comment down below letting us know. You can also share it on your social media.

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