Ceiling fans are a godsend during hot summer nights. But there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to fall asleep and being kept awake by the annoying humming of the ceiling fan. This issue is more common than you would think.
A ceiling fan could be humming because of the wrong speed setting, loose screws, not enough lubrication, issues with the mount, or misaligned blades. You can fix it by tightening the screws and wire connectors, realigning the blades, and lubricating the motor.
In this article we’ll troubleshoot every reason why your ceiling fan hums when turned on. We’ll also show you exactly how to fix it, so you can get a peaceful night’s sleep. So, let’s get started!
Table Of Contents
- 1 Why Does My Ceiling Fan Make A Humming Sound?
- 2 How Do I Stop My Ceiling Fan from Humming?
- 3 Summary
Why Does My Ceiling Fan Make A Humming Sound?
It Has the Wrong Speed Setting
Your ceiling fan might be humming because of an incorrect speed setting.
Sometimes this happens because the speed is being controlled by the dimmer setting, which is designed for the lights. This is dangerous because it can cause the motor to overheat and burst into flames.
It can also cause the humming noise because it is not working correctly with the motor. You should always use speed controls specifically designed for your ceiling fan.
The Screws Are Loose
Sometimes the ceiling fan connection screws become loose. This can happen from incorrect installation or from general wear and tear.
The screws could be loose inside the motor housing, at the wire connection points, at the blade connections, or at the point where the fan mounts to the ceiling.
If the screws inside the motor housing or at the wire connection points are loose, then it will cause a humming noise when the motor vibrates. It can also be dangerous if the fan detaches from the ceiling. Read our article on whether ceiling fans are safe for more information.
There Isn’t Enough Lubrication
Motors need lubricant to work correctly in the long term, and ceiling fans are no different. Oil lubrication is essential for your ceiling fan motor to function correctly. Read more about this in our guide about whether you need to oil your ceiling fan.
Lubrication prevents the bearings from rubbing against and wearing down each other. When there isn’t enough lubrication, the scratching of the bearings can create the humming noise that keeps you awake.
This is a more likely cause of fan humming if you’ve been using it for a long time without regular maintenance.
The Mount is Causing the Sound
Sometimes the mount is the culprit of ceiling fan humming. Small screws or loose pieces from the fan can get stuck inside of the mounting box. When the fan is operating, they can bounce around and cause an annoying sound.
Humming can also happen if your fan was installed incorrectly into the mount. If the fan was installed in a rush into a ceiling joist where no fitting previously existed, it can cause extra amplification of the vibration sound. It’s important that you use an experienced professional to install your ceiling fan to avoid this possibility.
The Blades Need Realigning
If you have wooden fan blades, they can change shape over time. This is more likely to happen if you live in a hot and humid climate. This can also cause your ceiling fan to wobble.
Your ceiling fan blades may also have become bent or broken from contact with other objects. In either case, the lack of symmetry in the balance of the blades causes it to spin incorrectly. This causes a humming sound.
How Do I Stop My Ceiling Fan from Humming?
Tighten the Screws
If loose screws are the culprit of fan humming, then the solution is simple- tighten them!
How to Fix
- Get a battery-powered drill and attach a Phillips head bit.
- Turn off the electricity at the breaker box.
- Pull the fan out from the wall to expose the wires.
- Tighten the screws around the internal mounting bracket.
- Tighten the screws at the top of the fan, where it joins externally to the ceiling.
- Tighten the screws that connect the blades to the base of the fan.
The following video is a great visual guide for how to tighten your ceiling fan screws.
Tighten the Wire Connectors
If the wire connectors are touching the side of the junction box and causing vibrations, you need to isolate them.
How to Fix
- Switch off the power at the circuit breaker.
- Unscrew the junction box so the wires are exposed.
- Pull up wires and keep them secure with electrical tape so they can’t touch the sides of the box.
- Replace the junction box and test run the fan to listen for vibrations.
Realign the Blades
Ceiling fan blade realignment sounds difficult, but it’s simpler than you’d think. It’s an essential job if your fan is humming from unbalanced blades.
How to Fix
- Turn off the electricity.
- Dust the blades and wipe them down with a damp cloth (read our guide on how to clean a ceiling fan).
- Use a tape measure to measure the distance between each blade and from the ceiling.
- Use a pencil or masking tape to mark misaligned blades.
- Use your hands to lightly bend any bent blades straight.
If this doesn’t fix the issue, make a counterweight by taping a small coin on the top of unbalanced blades.
Run several tests and keep adding and removing weights until the fan spins evenly.
Lubricate the Motor
You should aim to lubricate your ceiling fan motor regularly to avoid buildup of dust, dirt, and grime. If you can hear humming, it could be time to do a maintenance session.
How to Fix
- Disconnect the electricity and unscrew the motor housing.
- Remove the motor and put it on a table.
- Use some paper towel or a clean cloth to remove dust and dirt.
- Grab a bottle of motor oil. We recommend the 3-IN-ONE Motor Oil.
- Squeeze oil into the motor spin and bearings.
- Spin it several times to spread the oil through all the bearings.
- Turn the motor over and lubricate the opposite side in the same way.
- Use your finger or paper towel to absorb any excess oil on the outside of the motor.
In summary, your ceiling fan might be humming because of loose parts, a lack of regular maintenance, or misaligned blades.
Thankfully, there’s several tricks you can do to get your ceiling fan back into perfect working order.
You should also do regular maintenance every year to avoid any future humming.