How to Increase Ceiling Fan Speed

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to cool yourself down on a hot summer day, but your ceiling fan’s speed limits the amount of airflow you get. It’s frustrating because you know your fan can go faster, but, you’re unsure how to increase ceiling fan speed with limited settings.

How to Increase Ceiling Fan Speed

White Ceiling Fan

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to potentially help improve your ceiling fans speed manually.

To increase your ceiling fan speed and ensure it is running at maximum potential, you will need to clean and balance the fan to fix vibrational issues. Other fixes include small maintenance tasks such as lubricating the motor or identifying damaged wires or parts.

Reasons for Ceiling Fan Slow Speed

Ceiling fans can slow down due to several factors. Hence, you’ll need to be able to identify the problem. Here are a few troubleshoots you can perform to ensure your ceiling fan is running optimally:

Lack of Lubrication/Motor Oil

Just like any type of machinery, a ceiling fan needs to have individual components adequately lubricated. After years of use, the lubrication that was applied can start to fade. If the lubrication is low, the fan may exhibit slower fan speeds than before. Read more in our article on do ceiling fans need to be oiled?

Here’s are the steps you’ll need to apply oil:

Step 1: Refer to Instruction Manual for Type of Oil

Depending on what model you have, your fan may or may not need oil. If you have the instruction manual, then you should read through it. It should list the type of oil required and give you detailed instructions on how to replace the oil.

If you don’t know where you placed your usual manual, the manufacturer may have information listed on their site. It’s essential to follow their instructions, as the fan may only need to be cleaned out once or twice a year.

Step 2: Cut the Power

Before you even begin to tinker with the fan, make sure that you cut all power to it. The last thing you want is a hot bulb or the fan to turn on while you’re replacing the oil.

Oiling a ceiling fan

Step 3: Locate the Oil Hole

The oil hole is generally near the download and should be on top of the motor. Each model is built differently, and if you can’t locate an oil hole, then your ceiling fan doesn’t need the oil replaced.

Step 4: Insert Pipe Cleaner

Place a pipe cleaner into the oil hole to test how much oil is inside. If the pipe comes out with oil on it, then you know that there’s another issue at hand.

Step 5: Fill Oil Reservoir

Using your brand’s recommended oil, pour 1-2 ounces of oil into the fan. Don’t use just any old oil. Some motor oils are only used for cleaning, while others are used for operating machinery. Avoid using combustible oils that may cause a fire, 3-in-1 oils, or anything with detergents.

Unbalanced Components & Blades

One common issue with slow fans is that the fan itself isn’t balanced. Over time the fan blades may be slightly tilted, or screws come loose. Luckily, there are a few things you can try to help speed up the fan again:

Step 1: Tighten Loose Screws

Take a toolkit with multiple screwdriver heads and match them up with the correct screw size. Tighten screws around the mounting bracket and outlet box, which is attached to the ceiling. Next, look for screws located at the base of the downrod and tighten them. Lastly, find the fan blade holders and tighten these as well.

Step 2: Measure Blades & Balance

Taking a measuring tape and measuring the distance from the top of the blade to the ceiling can help you tell if the blades are unbalanced. Other common signs are your ceiling fan wobbling or rattling / humming noises when the fan is turned on.

If you’ve replaced the blades on your ceiling fan, make sure you’ve chosen the correct length, as this can cause issues. Read our guide on whether you can change the size of ceiling fan blades.

Step 3: Cleaning Dirty Components

A dirty ceiling fan can also cause the blades to slow down. Over months of use, a ceiling fan can accumulate dust, debris, and dirt. The slight weight change from the buildup can throw off the ceiling fan’s speed. To fix this issue, take a dust attraction cloth and wipe down all areas of the fan.
Read our ultimate guide on how to clean a ceiling fan here.

Defective or Broken Machinery

When other methods fail to fix the problem, then it’s time to check for broken parts. Here are the components that are most likely to break:

1. Ball Bearings

Ball bearings also can slow down over time due to three major issues; dried out components, dirt accumulation, or broken parts.

To identify which of these problems occur, you can manually spin the fan blades using your hand. If the fans stay stagnant, then the ball bearings are broken. To fix broken ball bearings it’s best to contact the manufacturer’s company for a replacement part or get a professional to come to take a look at it.

However, if the fan continues rotating after you take your hands off of it, then you’ll just need to clean or oil around the ball bearings by opening up the bottom compartment of the fan and cleaning it with a towel.

2. Capacitors

A defective capacitor can be identified if the previous solutions haven’t fixed the fan’s speed. Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to improve the motor. If buying a new ceiling fan isn’t an option for you, it can be possible to purchase a replacement motor. Although, you will need to find the same component that the manufacturer used. Otherwise, the unit won’t function properly.

3. Defective Wires

The last and final component to check is the wiring. Over time, wires can tear, especially with frequent use. If the fan’s speed tends to short out or change at random, it could be a problem with the wires. If the light on the ceiling fan has stopped working, it’s likely to issue could be with the blue wire.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to open up the downrod and the central housing unit with the motor and ball bearings. Inspect the wires that flow downwards toward the central housing unit. If there are loose connections, then you may need to secure them with electrical tape.


If the problem persists after you’ve checked everything on this list, then there isn’t much more you can do. Some ceiling fans are set at specific speeds that can’t be optimized. However, you can always upgrade to a model that has multiple fan speeds.