Ceiling Fan Repair

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Ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool, but there's nothing more annoying than a fan that wobbles, makes a lot of noise, or just doesn't turn on anymore. Fortunately, these problems usually have pretty simple fixes.

A Fan That Won't Turn On

Before you take the fan apart, check to make sure the problem doesn't lie elsewhere. The usual suspect is a blown fuse. If the fuse is fine, check the wall switch next.
  • Make sure the power to the room is shut off at the circuit breaker.

  • Remove the switch cover, and unscrew the switch from the electrical box.

  • There are screw terminals on either side of the switch. Use a voltage tester to make sure there's no voltage passing through them.

  • Unscrew the wires from the terminals, and use a pair of needle nose pliers to straighten out their ends.

  • Twist the two wires together and screw a wire nut over them.

  • Turn the circuit back on. If the fan comes on, the problem lies in the switch and it needs to be replaced.
If it doesn't, the problem is either in the fan itself or in the wiring between the switch and fan. You can try taking the fan apart (after shutting off the power) and making sure all the wire connections from the fan to the junction box are good. Reconnect any loose wires. If this doesn't work, there's a more serious wiring problem and you'll need to call an electrician.

A Noisy Fan

The first way to avoid this problem is to buy higher-quality fans. The motors in cheap fans tend to be noisier, and there's not much you can do to fix them. However, sometimes the problem isn't in the motor--something may be loose.
  • Tighten the blade screws. If the fan blades are loose, they're going to make noise.

  • If that doesn't work, take the fan down (after shutting off power) and make sure that all the connections inside are secure.

  • Make sure it's mounted securely. A wobbling fan can be another cause of noise.

A Fan That Wobbles

One (or both) of the following two methods should fix a wobbling fan:
  • Fix bent fan blades: If one or more of the fan blades is bent, it can throw the fan off balance, causing the wobble. Measure the distance of each fan blade from the ceiling. When you locate the one that's different, gently bend it back into place.

  • Rebalance the blades: The fastest and easiest way to do this is to buy a balancing kit from a hardware store. Set the fan on the speed that creates the most wobble and, attach the weighted clip from the kit onto one of the fan blades. Turn the fan on, and see if it still wobbles. If it does, put the weight on the next blade. Once you figure out which blade is causing the wobble, stick one or more of the provided adhesive weights (as necessary) to the top of the fan blade.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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