Fixing Dangerous Ceiling Fan Movement

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A ceiling fan with a wobble in it is not only annoying but can actually be dangerous as well. If the sound it makes as it vibrates back and forth is not enough of an inconvenience, imagine the unpleasant surprise you will get if it were to break loose and fall during a deep slumber. It is for reasons such as this that a ceiling fan that moves or vibrates excessively should be dealt with in a timely manner. Before you begin your diagnosis, be sure the power is off to the breaker so you are not injured in the process.

Photo: Home Guides

There are many reasons a ceiling fan may not exhibit the fluid movement we desire. Some come with age, installation, or defect, but all of them need to be addressed. A good place to start when assessing ceiling fans is with that which you can see, that being the blades. At a glance you may be able to tell if your fan blades are the problem or might be contributing to it. Blades need to be properly placed and balanced in order for a fan to run smoothly. Are your blades an equal distance apart? Are they all the same distance from the ceiling, making them level and balanced? Do they all face the same direction? Do any of the blades appear warped? Blades should be equally spaced, located the same distance from the ceiling, face the same direction, and should not be warped, so if your fan blades do not fit such criteria, that is a problem you will need to fix. Tightening the screws attaching your blades to mounts and then in turn tightening those that attach your mounts to the motor of the fan itself may be necessary. If you have a blade that sits higher than the others, a gentle downward bending motion may be all it takes to return it to proper alignment, or rebalancing may be necessary.

If your blades are in good shape, move on to addressing the connection of the fan to your ceiling. Check the bond between your fan and the ceiling; if it seems loose, chances are the screws holding your fan need to be tightened. However, the problem could also be that the box itself is failing. The electrical ceiling box will need to be well seated in order to support a ceiling fan and it may be necessary to check the joists, blocking, and/or hanger in order to determine if the support system currently in place is adequate. Depending on the location of the fan, it may be necessary to temporarily remove it to check the electrical box. While doing this can be a bit of a chore, it is useful in that it basically leaves no stone unturned as you will have had a chance to touch and examine every component in an up close and personal manner.

Photo: Pearls, Paisleys, and Petticoats

Once you have ensured that the electrical box is properly installed and affixed securely, move on to placing the fan itself back into position. As you go, double check each screw and bracket to ensure they are all as they should be. When the fan is again installed, return to the breaker and turn it back on, then turn the fan itself on. If you still notice a wobble, chances are there is a warp in the fan blades that is not clearly visible to the naked eye, or there could be a lack of balance that is also tough to spot. Warped blades will need to be replaced but in the case of a balance issue, a do-it-yourself kit can be purchased to aid in rectifying this problem so you will again be able to have a smoothly running fan free of annoying or even dangerous wobbles and vibrations.

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