This is a simple DIY project for the weekend. It should take about 10 minutes unless there is something really wrong with your ceiling fan or if the issue is wrong installation.
Difficulty level 2 (from a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 most difficult.)
A wobbling ceiling fan can make all type of sounds like creaking, ticking and grinding noise that can be very annoying. Fixing a wobbling ceiling can be a 10 minute job but it depends on how bad the problem is. Sometime it may need more thorough adjustment or it can’t be fixed at all.
Anyhow, you can give it a try.
Some ceiling fans wobble quite badly especially when the spin up or spin down. However, some of them continue to wobble even when they reach operating speed. If the wobble is quite bad, it can cause wear on the mount or rubber joints.
One possible cause could be the fan blades are not level. If this is the reason, then fixing this is quite easy. Sometimes, the wobble is due to unequal weight of the individual blades but you can try the following method before doing more time consuming adjustments.
This is the first part of how to test and reduce fan wobble.
- Make sure the screws holding the fan blades are tight. If they are loose, a “flapping” blade can cause the fan to wobble. Tighten each screws just to be sure.
- If loose screws are not the problem, then use a ruler or a measuring tape to check if the blades are level. Measure each fan blade to see if they are the same distance from the ceiling. Measure each blade in turn. The easiest way to do this is to hold the measuring tape in one position, slowly turn and measure each blade. Note the distance from the ceiling.
- If one is higher or lower than the rest, you can gently bend the blade back. Don’t over do it and break a blade or the mounting screws. Anyway, the distance should not be that far off that you need massive bending. Perhaps an inch or two at the most. If your fan have plastic or wooden blades, it could be hard to bend them without the risk of them breaking.
- Measure once more all round just to make everything is at the same distance.
- Start the fan and see the amount of wobble
What I have found doing this is the fan wobbles a lot less compared to not adjusting the fan blades. On some fans, there is still a bit but good improvement.
If you have done the above and the wobble is still noticeable, then the reason could be a significant difference of fan blade weight.
Part 2 of fixing a wobbling fan
This can be time consuming and tiresome project so decide before you begin. It may take an hour or so. You have been warned.
If you have a digital kitchen scale, you can remove and weigh each fan blade. To do so you have to first remove all the fan blades and measure them one by one to check for variance in weight. Removing and re-installing the blades is a lot of work climbing up and down a ladder!
Sometimes, when fans are installed, the blades from different fans gets mixed up. This causes a larger variance in weight. You can try to re-position the blades or swap out blades from a same model fan. Make sure it is really the same fan make and model.
If you don’t have a fairly accurate scale, then the only method is by trial and error.
What you need to do is to put some small weight on the fan. Tape some weight to one blade, re-start the fan and observe it. This is really a time consuming exercise unless you get lucky. You have to do this repeatedly until you minimize the wobble.
There are other reasons why the fan wobble or rock back and forth. When the fan wobbles, the center part of the fan is moving in circular motion. If however the fan rocks, then the center part of the fan is moving in a sideways movement.
The reason the fan rocks back and forth could be due to:-
Wrong location of the fan. If a ceiling fan is installed too close to a wall, ceiling or have an unequal height ceiling, what happens is the air flow is disturb. An un-equal air flow then causes the fan to rock. Tall furniture like cupboard or cabinets too close to one side of the fan can also create this. The only way then is to move the furniture or reinstall the fan to a different location.
Problems with a loose mounting point. A loose mounting point it rare but do check it especially if the fan is attached to wooden joist. If the problem is bad, it may be better to have it inspected.
Alternatively, if it is not very bad, just live with it.
Final note – A fan can also wobble due to a bent shaft. This is harder to fix because it is quite hard to bend the shaft back to make sure it is straight.