Ceiling Fan Making Noise: How To Fix A Noisy Ceiling Fan (7 Easy Fixes)

The ceiling fan making noise is irritating. All ceiling fans should be very quiet (below 5 sones or about 51.2 dB). If your ceiling fan is making noise, something has to be wrong with it. Luckily, there are several very easy ways how to fix a noisy ceiling fan.

Now, there are many unnecessary sounds a squeaky ceiling fan can make. All of these noisy ceiling fan sounds have a specific origin. We’ll explain what in the fan is causing this noise and how to fix it quickly (often it takes less than 10 minutes to fix a noisy ceiling fan, even without technical skills).

ceiling fan making noise
There are many culprits for a noisy ceiling fan. Loose screws, fan motor issues, or unbalanced blades are just some of them.

Most common ceiling fan noises include:

  • Ceiling fan making a clicking noise. You hear click-click-click sounds; usually caused by fan blades hitting the fan housing. Some might describe it as a ceiling fan making ticking noises. The fan makes noise when rotating.
  • Ceiling fan making a humming noise. Usually caused by motor vibrations.
  • Ceiling fan making a buzzing noise. Blades wobbling is the primary cause of buzzing noises. It might also be an insect captured in the ceiling fan light.
  • Ceiling fan making bearing noise. Bearing ceiling fan noise is almost always caused by the lack of lubrication of the fan motor. This is one of the main causes of a ceiling fan making noise at a low speed.
  • Ceiling fan making scraping noise. Fan blades might be lightly scraping the fan housing. This will in time turn into ceiling fan clicking noises once the blades start hitting the fan housing.
  • Ceiling fan making a grinding noise. Could be unbalanced blades or dry bearing in the motor.
  • Ceiling fan making a rattling noise. This is an indication that something might be loose; blade screws or a ceiling fan light.
  • Ceiling fan light making a buzzing noise. This is a case of a wobbly light.

In order to help you fix a noisy ceiling fan, we describe the 7 most common ways how you can fix any noise coming from a ceiling fan. We also indicate which kind of noise (clicking, humming, buzzing, bearing, scraping, rattling, etc.) originates from which parts of the fan – and explain how to fix it.

The idea here is to check these fixes one by one. When you see a likely culprit, you do that fix. What is warmly recommended, however, is just to check and DIY all the fixes. Checking if screws are tightened or cleaning the blades will help your ceiling fan to run smoothly for years to come.

With that in mind, let’s look at the 10 ways how to fix any ceiling fan noise:

1. Clean The Dust Off The Blades (Reduces Buzzing Ceiling Fan Noise)

In order for any fan to run smoothly, it needs to have balanced blades. A ceiling fan can rotate 2-6 times per second; any imbalance might cause a ceiling fan to generate a buzzing noise.

On top of that, unevenly shaped blades due to dust accumulation can make a fan wobbly. In time, this may lead to scraping or even clicking sounds coming from the ceiling fan.

As you might imagine, the dust or/and grease can accumulate on the blades themselves (primarily dust) and on the blade mounts (primarily grease). When cleaning a ceiling fan to prevent buzzing noise generation, it is important to clean both the blades and the mounts.

Here is an easy way how you can reduce the noise levels of a noisy ceiling fan by cleaning it correctly:

  1. Use a wet rag.
  2. Clean each blade base to the tip. Always swipe outward.
  3. Use a cleaning agent and a wet rag to clean the blade mounts. That grease probably won’t go away with the wet rag alone.
  4. Test the ceiling fan after the cleaning.

Chances are you will find quite a lot of unevenly dispersed dust on the blades. Because the fan is spinning so fast, the accumulated waste can easily generate a buzzing or whistling noise.

Grinding noise can also be generated as a result of unbalanced blades. Cleaning the blades and mounts could help fix the grinding noise as well.

2. Make Sure The Screws Are Tightened (Eliminates Rattling Noise Coming From Ceiling Fan)

Loose screws will always make a sound. This is especially true if you’re dealing with high-frequency things like ceiling fans.

Rattling noise in a ceiling fan is usually just loose screws bouncing around. Loose screws near the blades mount can also unbalance the blades. This will show primarily as buzzing noise and can lead to scrapping noise or even a ceiling fan making clicking noises.

The great thing about rattling noise is that it’s generally very easy to fix. You just have to mount the screws. Make sure that you mount all the screws with the same force.

The worst thing is not that all screws are loose. It’s that a single screw is loose. This will make a single blade wobble and it will distort the normal rotation of the ceiling fan. That will inevitably make the fan squeak and can lead to serious problems down the road.

3. Also Make Sure The Ceiling Fan Light Doesn’t Produce Noise (Rattling Noise)

Ceiling fans with light are quite popular. The light, however, presents another potential origin for noise production.

As you might imagine, if the light on the ceiling fan is not absolutely fixed, even small vibrations coming from the fan motor might generate a loud rattling noise.

This rattling noise can become increasingly louder when you increase the speed of the fan. Example: At a low-speed setting, you can barely notice the rattling noise. At a high-speed setting, the noise becomes increasingly more irritable.

This is because a loose ceiling fan light will make more noise if there are more vibrations. Inevitably, with higher speed settings, the fan motor has to work harder, and it will generate more vibration. If the light is fixed, it should generate very little noise.

If the ceiling fan light is loose, your ceiling fan will start rattling.

To fix this problem, take the light out of the ceiling fan. Check and tighten every screw, and install the light again. Make sure that it’s stable. Just take the light with a hand and try to shake it. If you still hear rustling noise, try to figure out where the instability is coming from, and fix it accordingly.

4. Check The Shape And Direction Of The Blades (Fix Ceiling Fan Clicking)

Rattling noise is a precursor to the most common ceiling blade noise problem: clicking.

There are many reasons why a ceiling fan might be making clicking noises. One of the most common culprits is a bent blade. Ceiling fan blades are hard to bend. However, if one blade happens to be bent, it might be hitting the ceiling fan housing repeatedly.

Most homeowners don’t notice a bent blade. That’s why it’s important to check it not only visually, but manually – with a hands-on approach.

A good indication that the clicking noise coming from the ceiling fan is due to the bent blade is by troubleshooting the fan at different speeds. At low speeds, you should hear slower clicking (click – – – click – – – click). At higher speeds, however, you should see more rapid clicking (click-click-click). This is because, with the increased frequency, the faulty blade is hitting the housing even faster.

Loose components (like screws or lightbulbs) and loose fan blades can also make clicking ceiling fan noises.

Another less frequent issue is a blade being installed in the opposite direction. If you’ve just finished installing a ceiling fan and start hearing a clicking noise when you turn it on, it might be that one or more blades were installed in the wrong direction (the wrong side of the blade). It’s quite possible that a badly positioned blade could repeatedly hit the housing when spinning.

The best way to fix the newly-installed ceiling fan making a clicking sound is to check if the blades have been adequately installed.

5. Problem With The Moton Fan Lubrication (Fix The Ceiling Fan’s Bearing Noise)

All motors – even ceiling fan motors – have to be lubricated. This is the only way to ensure a smooth operation. If the lubricating oil runs out, you will get a lot of friction in the ceiling fan.

That ‘motor fan not being lubricated’ sound is very specific. We usually hear the ceiling fan making a bearing noise.

Bearing noise of basically how increasing friction sounds like. If you prevent the friction the motor fan is suffering from, you will effectively eliminate the ceiling fan bearing noise.

We all know how to prevent fan friction; you have to add oil to the motor fan. Immediately after the addition of oil, you still might hear a bearing noise or even a buzzing noise. After a few minutes, the oil will start lubricating the motor, and the bearing noise should cease.

If, however, after lubricating the motor the squeaky sound doesn’t go away, there might be a real problem with the motor. This might end up as a ceiling fan motor replacement job. You can quite easily DIY replace the ceiling fan motor if you have some technical skills.

6. Fix The Ceiling Fan Canopy (Prevent Clicking And Scrapping Noise)

Ceiling fan blades are first attached to the fan housing (which includes the fan motor) and are suspended in the air on a downrod. That downrod is fixed on the ceiling by a fan canopy.

The vibrations of the ceiling fan motor are transmitted to the fan canopy via the downrod. If the fan canopy is adequately fixed in place, it won’t generate noise. If, however, the fan canopy is not fixed properly, the vibrations will make the canopy hit the ceiling repeatedly. That will generate a clicking or scraping noise.

That’s why you should always make sure that the fan canopy is adequately fixed. The best way to diagnose if the sound is coming from the canopy hitting the ceiling is by locating where the noise is coming from.

In most cases, the noise will come from the blades or the motor fan. If, however, you can hear that the ceiling fan clicking noise originates from the ceiling, it’s probably the case of a fan canopy hitting the ceiling.

To fix it, you will probably need a high-enough chair or even a ladder. When reaching the fan canopy, shake it to see if it moves easily. If so, tighten the band around the canopy or screw the screws (not all fan canopies are made in the same way; you will have to be a bit creative when fixing it).

7. Make Sure There Are No Loose Parts In The Motor Cover (Ceiling Fan Humming Noise)

The motor fan is the primary source of vibrations. Even the quietest ceiling fans with silent motors will generate vibrations. This is normal. What is not normal is the loud humming noise coming from the motor fan.

This noise is generally generated by some loose part in the motor cover. Motor cover is the closest part to the motor; that’s where the vibrations are the strongest. Any loose screw or plastic there will increase the decibels levels of a ceiling fan through the roof.

To fix this humming noise coming from the ceiling fan, inspect the motor cover (fan housing/casing) closely. You might notice a loose screw or two parts of the plastic casing clashing together very rapidly.

Due to very high vibration frequency, you don’t hear a clicking noise in this case. The clicks are so rapid that our ears recognize it as a humming noise in the ceiling fan.

If you notice a loose part, shut the ceiling fan off, and disassemble the motor cover. Reassemble it by making sure every screw holds tight and that all the plastic covers are fixed. You might want to go screw by screw but in our experience, if one screw is loose, so are the others. It’s just a natural consequence of the screws that are so close to the motor fan; the source of vibrations.

These are the main causes of a ceiling fan making noise. Hopefully, now you’re equipped with enough insight to fix a noisy ceiling fan yourself.

You can also check how to correctly size a ceiling fan for any room here or what length should the downrod for a ceiling fan be here.

6 thoughts on “Ceiling Fan Making Noise: How To Fix A Noisy Ceiling Fan (7 Easy Fixes)”

    • Hi Michael, tightening the screws might help. At low speeds, the screws hold alright, but at high speed, they might produce noise because due to different rotation frequencies. Hope this helps.

  1. I had a ceiling fan (no light kit) in a bathroom that started a scraping noise as the fans built up speed, after 17 years of no issues. Tightened the blade screws a bit but no help. I found the blade bracket on 2 of the 6 fans would lift up and the others would not. I took the whole fan down, but all I really had to do was remove the light kit cover with 3 screws on the side and the center screw. Then I found one screw inside the cover that completely fell out from one bracket. I turned the fan blades and as I did so, the screws that held the fan brackets to the housing were then visible, 2 or 3 at a time. I replaced the missing screw, and tightened 3 more that were pretty loose, then put it back together. It works fine now.

    • Hi Mark, thanks for sharing this. After 17 years of use, it’s quite natural for some screws to fall out, become a bit unstable, and start a scraping noise. Now everybody can see that just tightening the screws can stop a lot of ceiling fan noises, thank you.

  2. Hello. We have a fan that makes a humming noise. When I touch the fan or slightly move/hold it up into the ceiling, the humming stops. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Maria, tighten the screws. That’s the most likely culprit here. The fan has to have a solid structure. If a screw is loose, it will start making vibrations and humming noise. When you touch the fan, you stabilise it (we now have a solid structure), and the humming noise ceases. Hope this helps.


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