Wobbly Ceiling Fan

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Old 08-25-12, 02:39 PM
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Wobbly Ceiling Fan

I've got a ceiling fan that squeaks whenever I turn it on (all speeds). I've checked the blade heights and all of them appear to be within a quarter inch of each other, except 1. It was a solid inch lower than the rest. I tried bending the bracket up to get it up the same heights as the others, but I'm afraid I am going to break it if I push any harder.

Anyone have any suggestions on how I go about correcting the problem?
 
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Old 08-25-12, 03:54 PM
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Tracking is important to smooth operation but there is not much you can do with warped blades. Many mounts are cast zinc and can't stand much bending before they break. You can also try shimming where the blade and mount meet.

Have you balanced the blades?
 
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Old 08-25-12, 08:58 PM
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Nope, I haven't balanced the blades yet. That is next to try. With that much misalignment though I wasn't sure if it was worth my time.
 
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Old 08-25-12, 09:57 PM
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If you like the fan, it's a very low-cost effort. Does the fan have four or five blades?
 
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Old 08-25-12, 11:27 PM
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Fan is ok. Don't want to replace it unless I have to. It's a 5 blade fan and quite large.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 06:06 AM
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I get up close to the fan on a ladder with the fan running on low and bring my finger (if the fan is dusty) or with a pencil up just close enough to brush the tip of one blade as it wobbles. Often the blade that is swinging out is the heavy one. Then turn off the fan and look for your mark and try adding some weight to the blade on the opposite side.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 02:07 PM
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The way I balance fans is to remove and separate the blades and irons. I make a homemade balance using three hooks made from coat-hanger wire, some fishing line and a piece of all-thread maybe 18" long. I tie the fishing line for each hook to the hook, take it twice around the all-thread, and tie the other end. I hang this somewhere I have enough room to work, and adjust the all-thread relative to where the three hooks are looped on until it hangs level without any load.

You'll need a bit of masking tape and a marker too. You're going to wind up with the irons tagged "H," "2H," "C," "2L" and "L," for heaviest, 2nd heaviest, center, 2nd lightest and lightest, and the blades tagged the same way. You might want to make the two sets of labels before you start.

Start with the blades or the irons - your choice. Let's say the irons. For a 5-blade fan, start with any two irons. Tag the heavier "H" and the lighter one "L." Set one aside, pick up a third one, and compare it to the one you kept (with the label off for the test). Tag those two and test a fourth one. Keep going, swapping labels as needed, until you have them lined up in order of weight. Do the same for the blades. Then assemble the heaviest blade to the lightest blade iron, the second heaviest blade to the second heaviest iron, and so on.

Then remove all the tags. Keep one set and compare the assembled blades and irons. When you have them in order, attach them to the fan in H, 2L, C, L, 2H order, and see how it runs. My goal is to have the pulls on the ends of the chains hanging dead still while the fan is running, but anything close to that is usually good enough.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 02:37 PM
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Something tells me that Nashkat has experience balancing engines as well. I can see pistons, connecting rods and ceiling fan blades all lined up on a table waiting to be weighed.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 03:38 PM
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The way I balance fans is to remove and separate the blades and irons. I make a homemade balance using three hooks made from coat-hanger wire, some fishing line and a piece of all-thread maybe 18" long. I tie the fishing line for each hook to the hook, take it twice around the all-thread, and tie the other end. I hang this somewhere I have enough room to work, and adjust the all-thread relative to where the three hooks are looped on until it hangs level without any load.

You'll need a bit of masking tape and a marker too. You're going to wind up with the irons tagged "H," "2H," "C," "2L" and "L," for heaviest, 2nd heaviest, center, 2nd lightest and lightest, and the blades tagged the same way. You might want to make the two sets of labels before you start.

Start with the blades or the irons - your choice. Let's say the irons. For a 5-blade fan, start with any two irons. Tag the heavier "H" and the lighter one "L." Set one aside, pick up a third one, and compare it to the one you kept (with the label off for the test). Tag those two and test a fourth one. Keep going, swapping labels as needed, until you have them lined up in order of weight. Do the same for the blades. Then assemble the heaviest blade to the lightest blade iron, the second heaviest blade to the second heaviest iron, and so on.

Then remove all the tags. Keep one set and compare the assembled blades and irons. When you have them in order, attach them to the fan in H, 2L, C, L, 2H order, and see how it runs. My goal is to have the pulls on the ends of the chains hanging dead still while the fan is running, but anything close to that is usually good enough.


Wow, that is really thorough. I've got a kitchen scale my wife uses for weighing out some of her recipes. I could just use that and weigh everything right?
 
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Old 08-26-12, 04:02 PM
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Something tells me that Nashkat has experience balancing engines as well. I can see pistons, connecting rods and ceiling fan blades all lined up on a table waiting to be weighed.
Guilty as charged! Was I that obvious?
 
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Old 08-26-12, 04:11 PM
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I've got a kitchen scale my wife uses for weighing out some of her recipes. I could just use that and weigh everything right?
If you can set one blade on it, and one iron on it, at a time, and if it will report measurements fine enough to tell you the difference between each piece, sure. Is your kitchen scale digital or analog?

The thing is, the balance beam will show finer differences than most scales, and it's the difference that matters, not the actual weight. Remember that the manufacturing process for these parts is designed to produce uniform pieces. The difference across an entire set of 5 may be only a few grams.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 04:16 PM
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Yes you can use a food scale. Digital is better. Unfortunately though Nashkat's method won't work if the irons are bent or the blades are warped.

I know Home Depot sells a set of universal replacement irons for like $20.. Whether they match the mounting points of your blades is another issue.. If it's one of the newer 'idiot-proof, snap together installation' fans, they wont. If your blades have the regular three screw mount, then they should.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 05:57 PM
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Yes you can use a food scale. Digital is better. Unfortunately though Nashkat's method won't work if the irons are bent or the blades are warped.

I know Home Depot sells a set of universal replacement irons for like $20.. Whether they match the mounting points of your blades is another issue.. If it's one of the newer 'idiot-proof, snap together installation' fans, they wont. If your blades have the regular three screw mount, then they should.


It's the three screw variety. I'm concerned the irons are bent and the blades warped too. I guess the best way to tell is take them off and find out.

And yes, the scale is digital :-)
 
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Old 08-26-12, 06:00 PM
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If you can set one blade on it, and one iron on it, at a time, and if it will report measurements fine enough to tell you the difference between each piece, sure. Is your kitchen scale digital or analog?
It's digital, so I'll give it a shot. If not, then I'll try the balance. I'll inspect them for warpage first though. May just need to a new fan, but I'm hoping not.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 06:12 PM
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May just need to a new fan, but I'm hoping not.
I hear you. Hope it works out for you.
 
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Old 08-26-12, 07:55 PM
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This sounds like the low blade is throwing the fan out of balance. I would not mess with trying to bend the blade arm. i would just buy new arms.
 
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