Balancing a 5 Blade Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans provide an energy-efficient method of cooling, warming and circulating the air in our homes. They add a decorative touch to any room and many models provide overhead lighting as well. When correctly installed and balanced, we’re hardly aware of their presence. However, a wobbling ceiling fan can create apprehension and noise levels that are impossible to ignore. In the majority of cases, an unbalanced fan is the source of these problems. Fortunately, balancing a 5-blade fan is a simple process.

 Turn the fan off and check to see if the mounting is secure and that none of the blades or blade holders (also called blade irons) is loose, warped or otherwise damaged. Fix any loose blades by tightening the screw securing them to their blade irons. Checking and tightening any loose screws is also advisable. One way to check for warped blades or blade irons is to hold a yardstick to the ceiling and then rotate each blade by hand and align each in turn with the yardstick. Measure and note the distance between each blade and the ceiling. If one or more blades is significantly higher or lower than the others, removing and repositioning the blades may be helpful. However, blades or blade irons that are significantly warped may need to be replaced. Turn the fan on and check to see if these maintenance steps have removed the wobble. Check each fan speed and direction and if none causes the fan to wobble you’ve fixed the problem.

 If the wobble persists, your fan is probably unbalanced. Following these few simple steps will balance your 5-blade ceiling fan.

1. Before you begin, you’ll need a balancing kit, clean blades and plenty of patience, as balancing a 5-blade ceiling fan is a process of trial and error. If a balancing kit was not included with your ceiling fan, you can purchase one online or at most home centers and hardware stores for a few dollars. Each kit contains one or more clips and matching weights with double-sided tape on the bottom. An alternative is a do-it-yourself kit consisting of clothespins, tape and washers of varying weights. To avoid confusion, you might want to write the numbers 1 through 5 on separate post-it notes and attach one to each blade.

2. Attach a clip or clothespin to the leading edge of the first blade, halfway down the length of the blade. Turn on the fan and observe whether the wobble has decreased. Turn off the fan and repeat the process with each blade. 

3.  Determine which clipped blade or blades decrease the wobble. If a clipped blade decreases but does not completely eliminate the wobble, try moving the clip closer or further down the length of the blade. Eliminating the wobble may require clips on more than one blade.

4. Once the fan appears balanced,it’s time to affix the weights (or washers) to the top of the appropriate blade(s). Affix the weights, sticky side down, or tape the washers to the middle of one or more blades in the approximate position of the clip.  

Obtaining optimal balance may require multiple weights on one or more blades and significant amounts of time and patience. It's worth the investment because in the end you'll have a fan that is balanced, quiet and unobtrusive.