Why does my Ceiling Fan Make Noise?

why does my ceiling fan make noise

It is very possible for you to have been a “victim” of a noisy ceiling fan. Know how frustrating that sound is? Just makes you want to tear your hair and scream “why does my ceiling fan make noise?!” right?

You might have thought the fan was bad and you went ahead to replace it or you might have even hired an expert to help you fix it without actually knowing what the cause is. 

In order to save yourself money and the stress of hiring an expert for your fan, it is better to understand how your ceiling fan works and why it makes those sounds sometimes so you can fix it yourself. This article is going to help you know the cause of your ceiling fan’s noise and the steps you should take to fix it. 

Why Does My Ceiling Fan Make Noise?

There are different kinds of noises your fan can make and each of them will be for one reason or other. Below are the common kinds of noises your fan can make:

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1. Humming Noise

This noise is the most common that many fans make. This sound mostly comes from the fan motor but it can also be in a newly installed fan because of a mechanical design fault. When your fan makes a humming noise, it can be due to one or more of the following reasons:

Lack Of Lubrication

Your fan is a machine that works with blades and continuous working of blades will, sometimes, require lubricants. Therefore, you can just solve this problem by lubricating the worn-out parts of your fan motor, especially in an old fan. Solve this issue yourself to prevent experts or repairers charge you exorbitant amounts. 

Vibrations From The Motor

Vibrations in the fan motor can be as a result of uneven winding or mechanical contact inside the fan. When any of these two happen, you have the option of replacing the winding or if the wear is in an irreparable state, you might want to change the entire unit. 

Tuning Of The Motor

In a newly bought fan, humming can occur because of the mechanical tuning of the motor. If the vibrations are not properly tuned, it will cause those noises. This is, however, a problem from the manufacturers.

The configuration by the manufacturers also has a lot to say about the sound in a new fan. 


These are one of the most common causes of the humming noise. It happens when dimmer controls are being used to control the fan speed. However, let us conclude that where dimmer controls are being used, they were never really intended. It is not the appropriate way to control the fan speed because it will inevitably result in a humming noise. Therefore, to save yourself those annoying sounds, just replace them with standard speed controls.


If your fan uses a remote that has bad receivers, there is every possibility it makes humming sounds. This is due to the fact that bad receivers don’t receive good signals from the remote and it will allow for the noise. When this happens, simply disconnect the receiver and connect the fan to the main power source. Once the humming stops, you can tell where the problem initially sprang up from.

The Capacitors

In case you have removed the remote receivers and the humming sounds still persist, then the problem might be bad capacitors. To solve this, you can try changing the capacitors. Normally, if the capacitor is the source of the problem, evidence is the low voltage level. This can, in turn, affect the operation of the fan motors. Now, if the voltage is below 105 volts A/C, fan noises can occur. Also, if there are several fans on a circuit, it can also result in the noise. 

2. Clicking Noise

This noise is usually from the fan blades and it might be as a result of the following problems:

Incompatible Or Imbalanced Blades

When replacing a fan blade, one of the instructions is always to ascertain that the size of the blades is the same with the ones to be replaced to avoid imbalance. So if noise comes from your fan blades, then maybe the blade or blades you replaced are that of a different fan and it will be incompatible. So, you can fix this by fixing a blade that is suitable for your brand of fan.

Manufacturing Defect

The click sound may arise from a defect in the manufacturing especially when the blades are not properly connected or where the fastening bolts and nuts are not appropriate for it.

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3. Grinding Noise

This can be caused when any of the following happens:

  1. If the canopy (the cover on top of your fan) is coming in contact with the motor, there is a high probability that it gives a screeching or grinding noise. 
  2. Wear and tear of the bearings after a long period of time can also cause a grinding noise. 

4. Rattling Noise

This can occur when any of the following happens:

  1. The fittings of the screws are loose and it may, in turn, affect the rubber. If the fittings of the screws are loose, simply, tighten them up.
  2. The blade fittings are loose. If this happens, it can pose a danger to the household because it has the potential to drop on someone’s head. You can just tighten the bolts again.
  3. Loose screws in the motor housing might also be the cause of a rattling sound. So, be patient enough to inspect every part and ensure that all loose screws have been properly fitted. 
  4. Wire connectors: It can also cause a rattling noise from the fan. So, you must ensure that all the wire connectors are secure and are not moving against each other or against the inside of the switch housing. 
  5. Mount: if your fan has been mounted directly to the ceiling joist, it can result in noises. Normally, a fan should not be hung on a ceiling joist; there should be fan hangers. So, to solve this problem, make sure you get approved ceiling fan hangers that should be fixed between the ceiling joists. This will prevent the noises. 

When Has Your Ceiling Fan’s Noise Gone Beyond You?

1. Sizzling Sounds

When your fan makes a sizzling fan coupled with a strange smell from the ceiling fan, then it is due to a bad drive capacitor. This should be replaced by a professional immediately you discover it.

2. Sparks

This could be very dangerous. If there are sparks from your fan motor coupled with very strange noises then, you should immediately stop using the fan until it is repaired. If you do not stop using it, it can result in a fire hazard. Because the wires are connected to the ceiling, sparks could start a fire in the ceiling that might not be easily noticeable. 

What Should I Do When My Fan Makes Noise? 

It is not impossible that you might immediately know the cause of the noises from your ceiling fan because you’re not an expert. Therefore, there are some steps you should take first before considering those factors or calling in a professional to help you out. 

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1. Clean The Blades

Ceiling fans are usually hosts of dust and all sorts of dirt. A noisy ceiling fan might simply be a result of accumulated dirt on the fan especially when you have not been using it for a long period of time. The first thing you should do is clean the blades with a clean cloth and a little soapy water. Make sure you turn off the fan before doing this.

Wipe down each blade carefully and use one hand to hold the blades in place when cleaning. Go ahead to clean the blade mounts too. After you are done cleaning, test the blades by turning on the fan to see if it would make any difference. In case it does not, look through other steps. 

2. Tighten The Blade Screws

Yes! Tighten the blade screws. Remember how dangerous loose blade screws can be. Check the mount on the assembly, that’s where the blades are connected to. Examine the screws and tighten where necessary. 

3. Check The Light Fixtures

For ceiling fans that come with light fixtures, check the globe or cover on the fixture in case it is loose. Check the fasteners. But before you fasten it back, remove the cover and clean it too. Check the bulbs attached to the fan to in case it needs replacement. Reattach the cover and fasten the tighteners.

4. Examine The Blades

We have already established that one of the causes of noise is an imbalanced or incompatible blade. Carefully check if all the blades on your ceiling fan have the same shape and orientation. No blades should look higher or lower than the other ones. If there are any, bend them into shape if the condition is not so bad or replace the blades if necessary for balance.

5. Check The Upper Canopy

Look carefully, you’ll see an upper canopy covering the transition point to the ceiling. The canopy can also loosen sometimes. Simply screw the canopy back in place.

6. Lubricate The Fan Motor

Use lubricants on the fan motor to reduce the friction during operations. Lack of lubricants make the fan buzz. So, be patient and check if the fan motor has enough lubricant to keep it going. If not, add drops of whatever oil you use into the motor. Check the manual too for guidance on how to go about this. If the noise, however, continues after lubrication, then you might need to have a professional check it out. 

7. Balance The Blades

This is needed if blades have been poorly constructed. A balancing kit is what is required to make this work. Just follow the instructions on using a balancing kit to add more weight to some blades where necessary. 

If you need help with getting this done, we discussed balancing a ceiling fan previously on Ceiling Fans Plus. Click here to read How Do You Balance A Ceiling Fan?

8. Examine The Pull Chain 

Just In case your own ceiling fan did not come with a remote control but uses a pull chain, then, you need to check it out. A pull chain can also cause the fan to make noise. Now, turn on your fan to a high speed to observe the movement of the pull chain. After that, you should shorten the chain to be just long enough for you to pull. 

9. Check The Motor’s Cover

Motor covers that are directly over the moving blades may come loose. Noise can ensue when the motor’s cover scrapes against the moving blades. When this happens, turn off the fan and examine the motor cover’s fasteners. Tighten them if loose to lift the lids away from the blades. Set the fan at low speed and it should be quiet.

10. Secure The Junction Box 

Noise can be caused by items in the fan that are invisible. Every fan has a junction box inside its ceiling. It is the pillar of the fan that holds the wires in place and connects the fan properly. To check the junction box, you must remove the top mount of the fan. After that, confirm that the box is not loose from the ceiling and tighten the connections. Tighten the fasteners and reattach the mount. 

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If you have tried all these methods to stop the noise from your ceiling fan and it still persists then you might need to call in a professional to have it checked. From there, you would know if it needs a repair or replacement. 

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