How to Fix a Slow Ceiling Fan

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Updated July 21, 2022

If you are an amateur in the world of cooling appliances, you may wonder how to fix a slow ceiling fan. Many of the best fans, after all, are mounted on ceilings, though they are susceptible to maintenance issues over time. So, what troubleshooting steps should you take to get your fan spinning at a normal speed? Keep reading to find out.


  • There are many possible reasons that ceiling-mounted fans exhibit a slow speed over time, including an incorrect installation.
  • To start the troubleshooting process, clean the ceiling fan blades, tighten the screws, tighten any wire nut, and secure the upper canopy.
  • If these steps don’t work, purchase a replacement capacitor to control the fan motor and hire a pro to install it and remove the faulty capacitor.

How to Repair a Slow Ceiling Fan

There are many fan designs out there, each with unique quirks. In other words, there is no universal solution here, just as when learning how to fix a squeaky ceiling fan. There are, however, several tried-and-true troubleshooting tips that will speed up the fan and improve overall efficiency if you are learning how to fix a noisy ceiling fan and solve other issues.

Insider Tip

Make a habit out of cleaning your fans every one to three months.

Here are some useful steps to take here to solve the problem of a slow fan, though you won’t learn how to change a fan direction here. Also, a correctly-installed fan requires less maintenance, so learn how to properly install a ceiling fan for future reference.

Clean the Blades

Any fan that is out of balance can start to run slowly over time, in addition to developing frustrating squeaky noises during use. Your first, and simplest, troubleshooting step is to give the blades and related components a thorough cleaning. Go in with a microfiber cloth or two and your preferred cleaning solution. As a general rule of thumb, clean your fan blades every one to three months, depending on how much you use the fan.

Tighten All Screws and Fasteners

Next, go in with a screwdriver and related tools to tighten any applicable screws and fasteners. Start with the blades, securing the screws that attach them to the housing. Next, go to the lighting fixture and tighten those fasteners. Finally, secure the upper canopy in place, ensuring it is mounted correctly and not loose or shaky. These simple maintenance tasks add up, resulting in a fan that spins at the proper speed.

Replace the Capacitor

If those simple troubleshooting steps don’t work, look into replacing the fan’s capacitor. The capacitor is responsible for delivering the correct amount of power to the motor. If there is one faulty component that causes slow spinning speeds, it is this capacitor. Look into a suitable replacement model and hire a pro to complete the installation.

STAT: For optimum performance, ceiling fan blades should be at least 2.4 m from the floor but no higher than 2.8 m in order to best cool a room. (source)

How to Fix a Slow Ceiling Fan FAQs

What can cause a ceiling fan capacitor to fail?

These components degrade over time, though loose screws and a malfunctioning remote control don't help.

Can a ceiling fan run without a capacitor?

No ceiling fans need one to operate the motor, which is why a bad capacitor is such a big deal, as they essentially regulate the fan speed. Other important components include light switches, wire connections, ball bearings, switch housing, and more.

How long do ceiling fans last?

Most fans last seven to 10 years, though fan speed may be impacted over time. Make sure to properly maintain the fan housing and regularly replace any affiliated light bulb.
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