How to Oil a Ceiling Fan

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Updated July 21, 2022

If you are new to the universe of personal cooling appliances, you may wonder how to oil a ceiling fan. Some of the best fans, after all, are located on the ceiling, and these fans occasionally feature oil holes for lubrication. So why should you oil a ceiling fan, what happens if you don’t do it, and how to complete the procedure? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Some older and heavier fans with electric motors require oiling when the oil level in the reservoir is low, which should be checked once every year.
  • Use non-detergent motor oil or dedicated fan lubricant to complete this process and no other type of oil or pipe cleaner.
  • Make sure the fan is turned off and there is no power coming from the junction box before starting to oil a noisy ceiling fan.

Why Oil a Ceiling Fan?

Not all ceiling fans require lubrication, such as if you are learning how to fix a fan that won’t spin. This process is reserved for a particular ceiling fan design. Oiling this type of fan ensures a smooth operation and minimizes repair issues, so you won’t have to worry about how to test a fan motor.

Insider Tip

While you are up there, take a microfiber cloth and clean the fan blades.

Manufacturers suggest that owners of these types of ceiling fans should oil the units once every year. Don’t worry; the process is rather easy, and you won’t have to learn how to remove a ceiling fan to do it. Of course, if you need some extra cooling power, check into how to make a misting fan.

How to Oil a Fan

This is a relatively simple process that is appropriate for any DIYers out there. In other words, you won’t need to hire a professional to lubricate a ceiling fan.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time required: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Tools: Bottle with Tapered Tip, Ladder, Screwdriver (if necessary)
  • Steps: 3

STEP 1 Grab Your Supplies

  1. The most important thing to remember here is to purchase the right kind of oil. Use non-detergent motor oil or a type of lubrication specifically designed for ceiling fans.
  2. Transfer the oil to a bottle with a tapered tip for easy distribution, though fan-specific lubricants ship in this type of container.
  3. Consider having someone else around to help since you’ll be climbing a ladder to the ceiling.
  4. Also, check the instructions before starting to learn where exactly your fan’s oil hole is located, though it is typically near the motor housing and down rod.

STEP 2 Prepare the Fan

  1. Start by turning off the fan and the breaker that controls the fan. You want the appliance completely cut off from power to minimize hazards.
  2. Locate the lubrication hole or oil hole. In rare cases, it will be screwed shut. If you find this, use a screwdriver to open up the hole.

Warning

Always turn off the power to the fan at the breaker box to avoid serious injury.

STEP 3 Oil the Fan

  1. Climb on the ladder until you reach the oil hole.
  2. Pour oil in the hole until the reservoir is full, which is obvious when oil starts backing out of the opening.
  3. Spin the fan back and forth by hand a few times to manually distribute the oil onto the various bearings.
  4. Power the fan back on.

STAT: The Hunter Original fan launched in 1906, crafted for durability with cast iron materials and a motor that runs on an oil bath lubrication system. (source)

How to Oil a Ceiling Fan FAQs

What type of oil should I use?

Use only non-detergent motor oil or specially designed fan oil. Use damp cloths to clean any excess oil after finishing.

How do I know what kind of fan I have?

Check the instructions as they will give information as to the location of your oil hole and oil reservoir, what to use as a lubricant (even if pipe cleaner), and other data points regarding fan blades and your ceiling fan motor.

Can the ceiling fan be oiled without removing it?

Yes, in the vast majority of cases, you can apply several ounces of oil to the oil hole to fill the oil level without removing the fan.
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