How Do You Fix A Wobbly Fan?

how do you fix a wobbly fan

If you’ve noticed you have a wobbly fan, there are a lot of reasons that could be causing the problem. These issues range from loose screws or improper support of the mounting bracket to the manufacturer not weighing each blade in a set to match. All these reasons can cause a fan to wobble. 

As you can see, there are a bunch of other factors that can cause a fan to wobble. In this article, we will be pointing out some of the most common causes. We will also give some tips to fix any issues you might have with your wobbly fan. 

It’s important you fix a wobbly fan as soon as possible and ensure the space the fan is installed in is safety-compliant. The last thing you want is a fan being a source of harm to you and your family and friends.

So, to answer the question “how do you fix a wobbly fan?” There are two recommended methods to fix a wobbly fan: 

  1. Cleaning and tightening all the screws on the fan. 
  2. Using a fan balancing kit.  

How Do You Fix A Wobbly Fan? 

First, you need to ensure dirt has not accumulated on the fan and is now causing things to loosen and start to shake. So, in essence, if your fan is dirty, you’ll need to clean it. 

You also need to check the fan blades to make sure none of them are warped or uneven. If your blades have started to get warped you will need to replace them. Ensure the new blades are made by the same manufacturer as your fan. It is recommended that all fan blades are at the same height from the ceiling. A single uneven blade could lead to your fan being unbalanced which could eventually cause it to get damaged. 

Here are some materials you’ll be needing for the task ahead:

  1. Step Ladder.
  2. Tape Measure. 
  3. Screwdriver.

Method 1: Cleaning And Tightening All The Screws On The Fan (In 6 Easy Steps)

Step 1: Loosen the screws on the canopy cover then slide it (the canopy) down to reveal the mounting bracket. 

Step 2: Tighten the screws on the outlet box and the mounting bracket.

Step 3: Tighten the screws on the down rod and ensure all the pins are properly and firmly in place. 

Step 4: Secure the blades of the fan to blade holders. Secure the blade holders to the motor housing then adjust the blade holders by gently pressing down or up on the bracket. 

Step 5: Measure the distance from the ceiling to the tip of each blade. From the ceiling, all the blades should have the same vertical distance. Adjust any of the bent blade holders until all the blades are at an equivalent distance from the ceiling. 

Step 6: Turn on the fan and check to see if the wobbling has stopped. 

Method 2: Using A Fan Balancing Kit 

Before you bring out your fan balance kit, ensure you’ve solved the problem which has led to your fan blades becoming unbalanced. 

Use the checklist below before you continue: 

  • You’ve cleaned your fan and you’ve ruled out dirt as the cause for the fan to wobble. 
  • You’ve tightened and secured all the screws on the motor of your fan and blades.
  • You’ve checked and ensured that none of the fan blades are tarnished or warped. 

If you’ve checked off all the three items above, then you’re ready to get started with your balancing kit. This is used to restore the stability of your fan. 

A blade balancing kit is made up of three balancing weights and a plastic clip. A lot of new fans include a balancing kit however if you don’t have one, you can buy one for a relatively low price. 

Steps To Use A Fan Balancing Kit 

Step 1: Identify the speed at which the fan wobbles the most. Usually, the highest speed setting causes the instability. Turn off the fan and wait for the blades to stop rotating. 

Step 2: Place the plastic clip on the edge of the blade, halfway between the blade tip and the blade holder. Turn the fan on and check to see if it’s improved.

Step 3: If you don’t see any improvement, turn the fan off again. Slide the clip along the length of the blade to find the source of the instability. Repeat this step for all the fan blades. 

Step 4: Once you’ve been able to determine the faulty blade(s), press a balancing weight on the centerline. The weight should be equivalent to the clip. 

If the fan balancing kit does not solve the fan from wobbling, check that the outlet box used to install the ceiling fan is rated for only fans. Also check to make sure the outlet box has the ability to withstand the weight of the fan.

Also, you need to make sure the outlet box is attached firmly to the ceiling joists. You can reach out to a licensed electrician to review the installation. 

If all of these options fail, then you may need to purchase a new ceiling fan. 

Check out how to use a fan balancing kit in the video below:

Common Reasons Your Fan May Be Wobbly 

1. The Ball Socket May Not Be Seated Properly In The Hanging Bracket 

If your fan has a down rod, it almost always has a ball socket at the top of the down rod. You will notice a groove cut vertically on one of the side of the ball socket. If you look closely where the ball socket is set into the hanging bracket of the fan, you will notice a little notch on one side of that hanging bracket. If the ball socket groove is not seated into the notch of the hanging bracket, then your fan is very likely to wobble. 

Most times, the wobble will be present on all speed settings and no matter how much you try to balance the fan, nothing will work. You will need to make sure these two parts are properly seated and aligned. 

2. Screws Are Not Tight 

Loose screws on a fan can also cause it to wobble. Screws that hold the blades to the motor can be one of the causes but less likely than a few other screws which are a part of the fan installation. There is a safety pin that stops the down rod from ever becoming detached from the fan. However, the set screws are there to keep it securely locked. 

Sometimes, during the installation process, things may have been done in a rush and a few screws may not have been tightened properly. Check behind the fan and make sure they are screwed on as tight as possible. 

You will also find a set of screws located at the top of the down rod where the half ball socket is attached to it. In order to ensure this set of screws is tight, you’ll have to lower the canopy away from the ceiling. 

 Once you have access to these screws, it’s very important that you tighten them very securely. Any looseness in any of the screws can be the main cause of the fan being wobbly. This is especially true with the set of screws securing the down rod to the fan. Checking all of these and making sure they are tightened may solve the issue of the fan wobbling. A fan which does not wobble is much more enjoyable! 

3. The Blade Irons May Be Bent 

Traditionally, fans used blade irons or blade arms to attach the fan blades to the motor. A lot of newer and contemporary designed fans have blades that are connected directly to the motor so they don’t need to use blade irons. On the other hand, there are some new fans which still use blade irons. 

Whether a fan uses blade irons or not has nothing to do with its quality but it is only determined by the design the fan designer is trying to achieve. 

Now that we’ve established that, if your fan uses blade irons, the installation instructions will usually state to install the motor to the ceiling first. Then attach the blades to the irons at the level of the floor then attach the irons to the motor of the fan. This is after it has already been attached to the ceiling and wired. This is because each blade iron is pitched to a specific degree from the manufacturer. 

If you’re assembling the entire fan at the floor level and trying to attach it to the ceiling, there’s a fair chance the blade iron may become slightly bent. This would make the fan to wobble. 

To check to see if this is the reason your fan is wobbling, you will need to do what it referred to as blade tracking. To track the blades, simply pick one part of the ceiling to measure down to a blade. Leave the tape measure at a particular spot and then carefully and slowly spin each blade in the direction of the tape measure. 

Measure the low side and the high side of each of the blade’s tilt or pitch. If you notice a few of the blades measure different from the others, it’s likely that those blade irons were bent while they were installed. 

You can also attempt to apply pressure to bend them back so they align with the others. Please note it may be a bit hard to get them to be exact. If they are bent severely, they may break. 

Your best bet to fixing a wobbly fan caused by bent blade arms is to order a matching replacement set of irons. 

Sometimes it may be caused by a warped blade however in a high-end fan this is usually not the problem. With cheaper fans on the other hand especially those with pressboard blades then this could be the cause of the problem. 

4. The Fan Support May Not Be Sufficient 

It can be a bit frustrating when you install a fan from an excellent name brand yet you still have a wobbly fan. Typically high-end brands don’t tend to wobble so if this is the case, the wobble may be caused before the fan was ever installed. This is because adequate bracing for high-performance fans which have a lot of torque was not provided. 

You will need to ensure you don’t use anything apart from a metal ceiling fan rated electrical box. Note that even though some of the carbon composite electrical boxes claim to be rated for fans, they are not as sturdy as the metal boxes. The metal boxes are not that much more expensive so it’s advisable to spend a bit more money to make sure you don’t run into this problem. 

To see a visual description of how to fix a wobbly fan, watch the video below:

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