Ceiling Fan Repair Troubleshooting: 5 Tips for Identifying the Problem

If there's one commonality about homeowners and home renters, it is that they seem to have the same relaxed attitude about ceiling fans and ceiling fan repair: as long as the fans go around, it doesn't matter that they make noises or that they wobble as they turn. Those who would never allow wheels on their cars to wobble seem to feel undisturbed by ceiling fans that wobble, even though the temperature in the room may be at 110 degrees. That the wobbly fan might break down and cease to work tomorrow, if it works today, that is all we can worry about. But for those of you who worry about the wobbly, noise-making fan and want to do something about it, here are 5 tips for identifying potential ceiling fan problems.

Loose Screw, Nuts, and Bolts

Often, ceiling fans fail to work right because of a simple, easy-to-fix problem: the screws, nut, and bolts that hold the fan blades in place are loose. Often they become loose simply from the turning and vibration of the fan. In these situations, you may not know which of these screws or bolts have become loose. The longer the fan continues to operate with the vibration or noise, the looser the bolts and nut are likely to become. All it would take, typically, is to check each screw and nut, then tighten those that are loose.

Dry Bearings

The things on ceiling fans that make them grind, hum, squeak, or make other noises, is often dry ball bearings or their mounting points that pivot, or turn. When these noises first begin, it may be an indication that the fan bearings or pivot points are simply dry and need lubricating. Just a simple drop or 2 of oil can often make these noises go away until the bearings are dry again.

Uneven Fan Blades

Ceiling fan blades that are not level will often vibrate or make noises. Sometimes, you can detect these uneven blades simply by watching them turn when the fan motor is on. Sometimes you can see this unevenness by looking at the blades when they are standing still. At times like these, a little adjustment is all that is needed.

Fan Motor Humming

When the fan refuses to turn, you can't always assume it is caused by a defective fan motor. It may, in fact, be that there is a different remedy, other than replacing the fan motor. The real problem can easily be one of those dry ball bearings that has become stuck and won't roll anymore. It could be worn bushings. It is often easy to tell which of the problems is keeping the fan blades from turning. All you need do is turn the fan on and listen for a hum that comes from the fan motor. This hum tells you the fan motor is on and is trying to turn. Something is blocking it from turning.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

As a last resort, when none of the above indications are present and the fan simply will not turn, it may be that a tripped circuit breaker is causing the problem—possibly the easiest of all problems to remedy.