Project Guide

How to Fix a Noisy Ceiling Fan

1
Clean Your Ceiling Fan
Someone dusting a ceiling fan

Dirty blades can become unbalanced, making them noisy over time. Here’s how to quickly clean your fan blades and housing:


  • Step 1: Use a step stool or ladder to access the highest point of your ceiling fan.
  • Step 2: With a lightly damp rag, clean dirt and debris off the ceiling fan housing and canopy, starting at the highest point.
  • Step 3: Clean your ceiling fan blades, removing dirt and grime. If you haven’t done this for a few months or longer, you may need to use several damp cloths. Clean any exposed part of your fan beneath the blades as well.
  • Step 4: Test your ceiling fan for noise. In some cases, a thorough cleaning is all that’s required to fix a noisy a ceiling fan.


Tip: While cleaning your ceiling fan, you may notice that a few of your blades are damaged or warped. This can happen over time with regular use of your fan. Follow our guide on how to replace ceiling fan blades to help reduce noise.

2
Tighten the Fan Blade Screws
A person adjusting a ceiling fan

A ceiling fan making clicking noise may be caused by blades that aren’t firmly attached to the fan assembly. This problem is easy to correct and generally only requires a set of screwdrivers. Here’s how you tighten fan blade screws:


  • Step 1: Position a ladder or step stool so you have access to one or two fan blades. You’ll need to move it as you go to access the others.
  • Step 2: Locate the screws that attach your fan blades to the fan housing. These are located on the end of each blade, closest to the fan assembly.
  • Step 3: Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws. Avoid tightening screws too much, as this may cause damage. 
  • Step 4: Repeat this procedure on the remaining fan blades, moving your ladder or step stool so you’re in a safe position. Test your fan for noise after tightening these screws.
3
Check Attached Lighting for Loose Screws
Two hands attaching the light on a ceiling fan

Many ceiling fans come with lighting kits. These are attached to your fan housing, and over time, they can become loose. Follow these steps to reduce noise from a light kit:


  • Step 1: Access the light kit using a ladder or step stool. Locate the screws or fasteners that are used to attach the light kit to the fan housing.
  • Step 2: Remove the globe or covering. This is an ideal time to clean your light kit housing and replace dead bulbs, if needed.
  • Step 3: Secure the light kit globe or covering back in place. Tighten the fasteners or screws that hold the light kit in place. Make sure you check around all sides of the fan to locate all fasteners.
  • Step 4: Test the fan after tightening your light kit fasteners.
4
Examine the Fan Canopy
A man adjusting the canopy of a ceiling fan

The fan canopy can also cause noise during operation. It’s located at the very top of your fan, against the ceiling. Here’s how you address a noisy fan canopy:


  • Step 1: Using a step stool or ladder, check the fan canopy by trying to wiggle it with your hand. If there’s any movement, it may need to be tightened.
  • Step 2: Look for fasteners around the fan canopy. If fasteners hold the canopy in place, use a screwdriver or the correct tool to tighten them.
  • Step 3: Tighten the fan canopy by hand. In some cases, the canopy is threaded on the inside, allowing it to be tightened by hand.
  • Step 4: Check your fan by turning it on after tightening the canopy.
5
Add Oil to Your Fan
A man adjusting a ceiling fan while standing on a ladder

Learning how to fix a noisy ceiling fan is often a process of trial and error. So far, we’ve covered common fixes that can make a big difference. If they didn’t reduce the noise coming from your ceiling fan, you may need to add oil and lubricate the interior ceiling fan parts


  • Step 1: Locate the oil hole on your fan. This is typically located near the downrod. You’ll need a ladder or step stool to access these bearings.
  • Step 2: Check the oil level in your fan. Insert the end of a pipe cleaner about 1/2-inch into the oil hole. If it comes out dry, your fan needs oil now. Some fans require you do this yearly.
  • Step 3: Add oil to your fan using the oil hole. Many fans take different types and quantities of oil, so it’s best to consult your owner’s manual. All-purpose fan oils are available, and most fans require 1- to 2-ounces of oil. Avoid using common penetrating oils such as WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil.
  • Step 4: Clean the oil hole and fan housing if any oil has spilled. This is also a good time to wipe down your fan’s motor.
  • Step 5: Test the fan on a low speed after adding oil.


Tip: This is the most common method for adding oil and troubleshooting ceiling fan motor noise. However, all ceiling fans are different. When possible, check the owner's manual exact instructions.

Learning how to fix a loud ceiling fan is easy enough and most people can do it with a little patience. You only need the right fan hardware and accessories. See our ceiling fans buying guide for more info on how to choose the best ceiling fan for your needs.