Why is My Ceiling Fan Making Noise?

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Updated August 16, 2022

It can be frustrating if you’ve just installed a premium fan only to have it make noise when rotating. A noisy ceiling fan can disrupt sleep or distract you while working from home. Grinding and rattling noises might also indicate a failing or bad ceiling fan motor. Ceiling fan noises occur for a variety of reasons, and you can diagnose the problem without a professional electrician. So if yours has you wondering, “Why is my ceiling fan making noise?” stick around.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Some ceiling fan noises are normal, but humming sounds from the motor indicate a serious internal problem.
  • Loose screws and incorrectly installed mounts can cause clicking noises during operation.
  • Dirty or damaged blades become unbalanced, leading to rattling or clicking noises during rotation.

If you’re here because you’re looking for answers to other questions, such as “Why can’t I feel my fan?” and “Why is my fan blowing hot air?” you may have an undersized unit or motor lubrication issues, or it might be related to the abnormal sounds from your fan.

Insider Tip

Consider shortening or removing your pull chains for a quick solution to your ceiling fan noise issue.

Why a Ceiling Fan Makes Noise

Hearing an electric hum from your ceiling fan is usually a symptom of internal issues, which could leave you with additional problems, such as your fan turning on by itself. In these cases, it might be best to call a professional. The same is true if you have a standing fan making noise because the causes are similar to ceiling fans.

Unbalanced Blades

High amounts of dust and dirt on fan blades can lead to an uneven spin, creating a rattling sound during operation. Additionally, damaged blades will cause a noisy ceiling fan. You can replace the blades, but ensure that they are the specific parts for your ceiling fan model.

For more information on how the blades affect balance and airflow, read our article on why fans have 5 blades.

Loose Screws

Fan blade screws and housing brackets loosen over time, creating a clicking sound as the blades spin. You can hand-tighten screws with basic tools, but you need to disconnect the fan from power before operating on the unit.

Shoddy Ceiling Fan Installation

If you’ve incorrectly mounted your ceiling fan to a ceiling joist, it will amplify normal operational sounds. Ceiling fans require an approved hanger that isolates and limits noises. It’s usually best to contact a professional electrician if you think your ceiling fan needs to be reinstalled.

Warning

Turn off the electric power to your fan before removing the motor housing and inspecting the motor assembly. Electric shocks from your home’s electric system can be fatal.

Faulty Wiring

You may have an electrical issue within the fan or fan motor if you hear an electrical hum. If you smell burning or see sparks, immediately disconnect the fan from power. You may need electrical wiring repair, which requires a master electrician.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 39% of single-family homes use four or more fans. (source)

Why is My Ceiling Fan Making Noise FAQs

When should I contact a professional electrician?

You’ll hear multiple common noises during your fan’s operation, but not all indicate a severe problem. That said, if you hear an electrical humming noise or smell a burning odor from the fan motor, you need a licensed electrician.

When should I clean my ceiling fan?

You should clean your ceiling fan blades weekly with a dusting wand or microfiber cloth. Never spray cleaning solution directly on the dirty blades, but you can use a light application on a damp cloth.

How do I oil ceiling fan ball bearings?

Check your ceiling fan's recommended oil level with the user manual, and power off the fan. There should be an oil hole above the motor housing cover. Add the oil here to treat your fan's dry bearings, but do not overfill the fan.
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