6 of 52: My Ceiling Fan Wobbles, Squeaks, Or Might Fly On It’s Own

Every Friday I post an idea or project to enhance your house now with an eye to selling down the road someday. Enjoy those benefits now!

I have a secret fear that the ceiling fan in our bedroom will fly off its base and soar across the room, leaving nothing but debris in its path.  It wobbles a little bit at the highest speed and, at high speed, sounds like a small plane in need of a pilot.

I asked a home inspector about it once, at a house that had the same problem with the wobble-thing, and he told me in no-uncertain-terms that ceiling fans were not supposed to be used at the highest speed.


That seems a little suspect to me. So let’s talk ceiling fans.

So the first thing I found out is that there is more than one reason for the fan to wobble. I always assumed that the fan was installed incorrectly or that it needed to be tightened. But no, it’s more complicated that that – the blade bracket might be bent, or there might be a weight discrepancy. On the weight thing, I had forgotten that my grandfather used to tape pennies to one blade to keep it balanced. Turns out, that’s the trick to try if the blade brackets aren’t bent and the blades themselves aren’t warped. If a blade is warped, replacing it might be the only recourse. My favorite website, This Old House, has an excellent step-by-step for balancing fans with lots of pictures – my kind of site – as well as buying guides and more.

I also found a website called Ceiling Fans N More that has all kinds of useful information:

Welcome to Ceiling-Fans-n-More, the premier site for all ceiling fan information on the web. Here we offer information on a variety of ceiling fan brands, comparisons, and buying guides. We deal with residential ceiling fans, industrial ceiling fans, agricultural ceiling fans, and HVLS ceiling fans. We have technical information, troubleshooting guides, repair information, installation instructions, and parts information.

If you’re at all like me, you like to read instructions on more than one site – it seems that it is a blend of instructions that gives the most complete picture of what needs to be done. This Old House and Ceiling Fans N More seem like they have it covered, but you can’t go wrong at the manufacturers’ websites either.

Tip: download the parts list and instruction manual for your model fan to your computer – makes it very easy to either print out just the one page you need or to search for exact terms.

Then you can run the ceiling fan without fear that it will spin off its mount and fly across the room.

Each Friday I’ll post a new “52 things to do now that will improve your resale value/chances later.” Why do them now? Because you’ll enjoy your house more. Let’s face it – if you don’t do it now, you’ll pay for it later – either because you’ll have to do it as part of your preparing the house for sale, or if you don’t do it at all, you’ll pay for it in your sales price. (Tip: buyers always discount a problem more than it actually costs to fix.) Why not enjoy the benefits of your labor now? What is the second most-common comment I hear when I list properties -after the prep work has been done to put the house on the market? “I wish we’d done this a long time ago -we love it!”

© 2011 Susan Pruden

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1 Response to 6 of 52: My Ceiling Fan Wobbles, Squeaks, Or Might Fly On It’s Own

  1. MDSuburbs says:

    I usually refer to "professional electrician" (secret website) for all installation and repair issues with my ceiling fans. I wish I was more handy but I missed shop class in high school and as far as I can tell there is always one part left over after everything is installed. 🙂

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