Why Is My Ceiling Fan Wobbling?

2015 Dec 01
Posted in: Electrical
Ceiling Fan Wobbling

Uh oh.

Is your ceiling fan looking a bit wobbly up there? Not only is it annoying with all the racket it’s making, but the vibration from the wobbling can damage the fan, shortening its life.

Well, don’t worry. The problems are minor—as are the fixes!

Ceiling fans usually wobble due to one of these two reasons. 

  1. The fan’s not securely attached to the ceiling electrical box
  2. The blades are unbalanced

Let’s explore these issues in more detail.

Potential problem 1: The fan is loose at the electrical box

Your ceiling fan may be loose because the screws that connect the ceiling fan into its electrical box (also called a fan fixture box) are loose. 

You’ll know if loose screws are the problem if, while the fan is off, you can easily move the fan while gently shaking it.  

Fix this problem ASAP, otherwise you risk having the fan plummet into your room.

How to fix the problem

  1. Turn off the fan.
  2. Get up on a step ladder near your fan while someone else on a separate step ladder holds the fan.
  3. Remove the screws from the canopy (the metal bowl at the top of the fan rod) and slide it down.  
  4. Tighten any screws you see at the electrical box. These screws keep the fan attached to the box and tightening them should stop the wobbling.
  5. Screw the canopy back on.
  6. Turn the power back on and check the fan for wobbling.

Potential problem 2: The blades are unbalanced.

Over time, your ceiling fan will wobble because the blades become unbalanced. This just means that too much weight on one blade throws off the fan’s center of gravity when it spins.

Imagine you were spinning in place with a gallon of milk in one of your hands. It would certainly throw you off balance, right? But, for a fan, all it takes is .5 grams to throw a blade off balance. 

How to fix the problem

  1. Clean any dust off the blades. The weight of the dust could be throwing off the fan’s balance. If that does not stop the wobbling, then...
  2. Clip a clothespin on the side of a blade, about halfway from the blade’s end to the fan’s center. 
  3. Turn the fan to a low setting. Is it still wobbling? Try a different blade until the wobbling stops.
  4. Once you’ve found the blade where the wobbling stops, glue some coins to the top of the unbalanced blade until the wobbling stops. Or, alternatively, get a fan blade balancing kit which provides the clips and weights for you. Just follow its directions.

If the wobbling persists we suggest calling an electrician for help

Need an Arizona electrician’s help?

Contact George Brazil for a ceiling fan repair. We’ve been helping Arizona homeowners since 1955.