Why Is My Ceiling Fan Wobbling?

That annoying wobble your ceiling fan makes can be difficult to troubleshoot because so many different problems can cause it.

For example, a wobbling ceiling fan can be caused by:

  • Being hung on an electrical box that’s not rated for ceiling fans
  • An electrical box not connected to ceiling rafter correctly
  • Ceiling fan not securely attached to the electrical box
  • Downrod not securely fastened to fan body
  • Fan blades not securely attached to mounting brackets
  • Fan blades out of balance 
  • Fan blades warped (cheap blades can warp when moisture gets into them)
  • The fan’s motor itself is unbalanced (this is very rare)

So how can you possibly fix it? Well, we’ll walk you through an easy tutorial that will help you correct 90% of the problems that cause a wobbly ceiling fan.

Step 1: Check the electrical box

Your ceiling fan should be attached to a metal or plastic fan-rated electrical box, which is connected securely to your ceiling rafters or joists. 

Unfortunately, many people in Minnesota add ceiling fans to their homes by attaching them to ceiling boxes that are not rated for fans. Over time, the weight and vibration of the ceiling fan works the box loose from the ceiling, leading to a wobble.

Eventually, if not corrected, the fan can come crashing down on you!

So first things first: make sure the fan is installed on the correct type of electrical box. 

How to tell if the box is rated for a ceiling fan
The easiest way is to look for something on the box that says it can support a ceiling fan.

But that can be difficult to locate. So the next best thing is to look at the electrical box’s “ears”. These are small plastic or metal tabs where the light fixture is attached. 

Non fan-rated boxes only have ears that can support lightweight fixtures, not heavy ceiling fans.

Fan-rated ceiling boxes have these ears so they can be used for small fixtures, but they also have threaded posts for ceiling fans that can support more weight.

If you find your box is not fan rated, you’ll need to replace it with one that is. 

Step 2: Tighten all the screws

Loose screws allow the fan to move (or wobble) while it’s running. 

  • Check for loose screws holding the:
  • Ceiling box to your rafters or joists
  • Mounting bracket to your ceiling box
  • Fan blade brackets to the motor housing
  • Fan blades in the blade brackets

Step 3: Look for warped fan blades

Cheaper fan blades can absorb moisture, which can cause them to warp over time. A warped blade throws off the fan’s balance as it cuts through the air, causing the fan to wobble.

To check for warped blades, measure the distance from the end of each blade to the ceiling. They should all be the same distance. 

Make sure you’re measuring the same side of each blade and at the same spot on the ceiling. A simple way to do this is to get a scrap piece of wood and mark where the first blade is. Then spin the fan so the next blade is in the same spot. Repeat for each blade.

If you find a warped blade, replace it.

Step 4: Balance the blades

The preceding steps will solve most wobbling ceiling fan problems. But sometimes ceiling fans need to be balanced because the weight of one blade is just different enough to throw of the balance of the whole fan.

Balancing the fan involves adding weight to the fan blade that is causing the fan to wobble. You can purchase a fan balancing kit or tape coins to the top of the blades.

Here are some good video tutorials on this process:

Fan still wobbling? Have another ceiling fan problem?

Contact the electricians at Mr. Sparky in Hastings. We can diagnose and fix any ceiling fan problem for you.

Mister Sparky’s electricians serve Hastings, Minnesota and the surrounding areas, including  Apple Valley, Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Woodbury, Lakeville, Rosemount and Stillwater.

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