How to Fix a Wobbling Ceiling Fan

by Gil Schauer on October 3, 2012

If you’ve ever experienced a wobbling ceiling fan you know just how irritating it can be. But in addition to being noisy, a wobbling fan is also not performing at optimal levels so airflow is reduced and you even risk damaging the fan if you allow it to go unrepaired for very long.

Wobbling and vibrating place significant stress on many parts of the fan and will ultimately shorten its life. Although a wobbling ceiling fan can sometimes be attributed to a low-quality manufacturer, it can be caused by many other factors as well. In most cases a wobbly fan can be traced to one of these sources: the fan isn’t securely fastened to the ceiling, the blades are unbalanced, the blades are warped, or another part is loose on the motor or pole assemblies.

Before you do anything else, make sure to clean the fan blades and the motor housing with a dry lint cloth. Clean all accessible parts thoroughly—you may be surprised by how dirty a fan can get and how little dirt it takes to make a fan wobble.

Now, check the bolts and screws on the fan blades. Inspect the screws that hold the blade to the arm, the screws that hold the arm to the fan motor, and also the set screw that hold the motor to the downrod. An easy way to determine this is by standing on a stepladder and grasping the fan body while trying to shake it. If it moves easily, tighten all the screws. If you find that it still wobbles after tightening all visible screws, the screws that hold the fan to the junction box may still be loose. Tighten these and then turn on the fan to see if it still wobbles. Make sure to check it at all speeds because some wobbles only occur at certain speeds.

If the bolts and screws don’t seem to be the problem with your wobbling ceiling fan, it’s time to check your fan’s balance. Attach a clothespin to the edge of a blade about halfway from the end. Start the fan on its highest speed blowing down (counter-clockwise) and see if the wobble disappears. If it doesn’t, move the clothespin to another blade and repeat. Continue until you’ve experimented with all of the blades. If the ceiling fan stops wobbling at any point, the last blade you tested is unbalanced. Balance your fan by attaching a ceiling fan blade weight to the middle of the top edge halfway from the end of the blade. Sometimes one weight will be placed on one blade at a certain location and other weights on other blades at different locations (five weights are usually maximum). Weight kits can be purchased from ceiling fan stores locally or online.

If you still have a wobbling ceiling fan, you may have a warped blade problem. To determine if this is the case, remove the blades one at a time using a screwdriver and adjustable pliers if needed to hold any retaining nuts. Lay each blade on a flat surface. If the blade won’t lie flat, it’s warped. You will need to purchase a new set of blades from the manufacturer or through an authorized ceiling fan store.

Now that you’ve fixed your wobbling ceiling fan that’s been keeping you up at night, you can rest easier and share these tips with other homeowners experiencing similar problems. If your ceiling fan continues to wobble even after you’ve taken all of these steps to repair it, call an electrician to check the junction box or contact the ceiling fan experts to get all of your questions answered by visiting or by calling toll-free 877.724.2326.

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