Ceiling Fan Making a Clicking Noise? Here's How To Fix It

When the weather’s getting hot, only relying on air conditioning can really hike up your electricity bill.

A well-working ceiling fan allows you to keep the thermostat up to 4 degrees higher and not lose any comfort, which can save you some money.

Ceiling fans, like most household appliances with moving parts, need maintenance to keep working optimally, but we don’t usually give them attention until there’s a problem.

If your fan is already making a clicking or buzzing noise, there are still ways for you to fix it, often with cheap DIY methods.

ceiling fan clicking noise

But how do you do it?

Here’s how to stop your fan making a clicking noise:

  1. Clean the blades.
  2. Lubricate the fan.
  3. Check the lightbulbs.
  4. Find warped blades.
  5. Tighten blades.
  6. Use a balancing kit.
  7. Hire a professional.

How To Fix a Ceiling Fan Making Clicking Noise

So, let’s get right to our list of ways to fix your clicking ceiling fan. Here are some items you might need:

Safety Is A Priority

Ceiling fans can be dangerous to work on, so make sure you’re prepared. Turn off the fan, and always wait until it stops completely before you attempt any repairs. 

We also recommend turning off the electricity in the room where you’re working to avoid any accidents.

Working with electric appliances always carries a risk, so wear rubber or plastic shoes, and try to find a ladder with rubber caps on the feet. 

Never touch loose, broken, or blackened cords. It’s best to get a professional, licensed electrician to check out your ceiling fan if the cords need repairing. 

1. Clean the Blades

Ceiling fans tend to gather a lot of dust, especially during the colder winter months when they’re not in use.

This dust and dirt can obstruct the free movement of the blades and throw the fan a little off-balance, which can cause clicking.

Often you’ll be able to solve the noise issue just by dusting the blades.

If you want to prevent a noisy ceiling fan in the future, make sure you wipe the blades clean regularly.

This can help prevent dirt from accumulating and getting inside the motor.

Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away the dust. You might need a little extra to get stubborn dirt out, especially with kitchen fans that have grease stuck to them. In this case, use a mild detergent with a cloth to clean the blades. 

Just make sure you keep the cloth relatively dry, so you don’t get water inside the motor. Don’t touch the motor with wet hands or the rag, or you’ll be at risk of electric shock.

2. Add Some Oil

One common issue with noisy ceiling fans is lubrication. Lubricating the fan can help reduce clicking, buzzing, or squeaking noises, but it will also help maximize the life of your ceiling fan.

When you keep the motor and moving parts lubricated, you’ll also avoid rust and friction, which could lead to more wear and tear. 

A lubricating oil with a small applicator will usually be the easiest to apply.

You can also use a common multi-purpose motor oil, depending on your fan. Check out the user manual or refer to the manufacturer’s website to find out exactly what type of oil to use if you’re not sure. 

Different fans have different needs, but here are some general tips for oiling your fan.

Unplug the Fan

If there’s a power cord, unplug it before adding oil. If there’s static electricity running through the motor, it can make the oil and dust inside to gather together and clog the motor. 

Protect Carpets and Furniture

You might need a bucket below the fan to catch any excess oil or dirt that drops on the floor.

Also, take off or protect any carpets below the fan before you start adding oil, and make sure to use clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.

Take Off the Motor Cover

Take out the cover that protects the fan’s motor.

You might need a screwdriver for this. Clean the old layer of oil that’s covering the motor with a damp cloth and light detergent before you add more.

Adding the Oil

If you’ve never oiled your fan before, it can be hard to find the place where to add the oil.

Some fans come with a specific compartment or oil cup, while with others, you can spray it on directly.

If your oil bottle doesn’t come with a spray or applicator, you can carefully rub it on with a paper towel or an old rag.

How Much Oil Should I Use on My Ceiling Fan?

You’ll need to use the right amount of oil to keep your fan in optimal condition.

If you use too much, you might get some oil leakage. It can fall on the floor or spray around the room when the fan is running, ruining your walls and furniture.

If you don’t have a clear indication on the manual, it’s best to start adding oil little by little and testing if the clicking noise goes away.

A thin layer is your best bet, so make sure there’s no oil dripping from the fan when you finish.


Also Read:

10 Quietest Fans
5 Quiet Bathroom Exhaust Fans
5 Quiet Desk Fans
3 Quiet Garage Exhaust Fans


3. Check the Lightbulbs

If your ceiling fan has lightbulbs in the middle, they might become loose over time. This might cause a clicking noise when the fan is running. 

check the lightbulbs

Go through all the bulbs, clean them, and replace any bulbs that aren’t working. Tighten the bulbs to make sure they don’t move when the fan is on.

The lightbulbs may also be covered with a globe, which can get loose or develop cracks over time. If your fan has one, inspect and wipe it clean, and make sure that it’s attached tightly and isn’t damaged.

4. See if There Are Warped Blades

It’s not uncommon for the blades to get warped over time. This will throw off the balance of the fan and might cause parts of the blade to touch the motor, causing friction. 

To see if your blades are warped, you’ll need someone to use a ladder to get up to ceiling level. Ask them to turn the blades slowly while you watch from a little bit of a distance.

All the blades should turn at the same level; none of them should be rotating lower or higher than others. The difference is likely minimal, so you’ll need to have a good eye to notice which one isn’t working correctly. 

If you find a blade that’s warped, you may need to take it off and bend it back to the right shape. Just be careful not to break the blade; a little will go a long way.

5. Tighten and Adjust Blades

The blades are often the part that gets loose the fastest on your ceiling fan, simply because they’re the ones that are moving.

And when the blades aren’t tight enough, it’s easy to get a clicking noise on your fan. 

Go through all the blades and make sure they’re attached correctly.

Depending on your ceiling fan model, you may need a screwdriver to adjust or tighten them.

Sometimes, you may need to carefully apply a little bit of glue at the spot where they attach to the fan.

6. Balance the Blades

Some ceiling fans simply start making noise because they’re not the best quality and the blades go off balance. The blades get wobbly over time and start making a clicking noise.

If you don’t fix it by balancing the blades, you’re putting more strain on the motor. Your fan will likely get worse over time and may end up breaking completely.

You can buy ceiling fan balancing kits online to easily do it at home. They’re essentially small weights you attach to the blades to get them to rotate at the same level. 

The hardest part will be finding the right place to add them, so you’ll need to have some patience when you look for the right one to balance.

However, the best balancing kits for ceiling fans come with clip-on weights that make it easier to diagnose the problem. You can move them around as you’re looking for the place that’s causing the problem.

Then, when you’ve found the correct blade, you can use the adhesive to attach the weights. In some cases, you’ll need more than one weight to balance your fan completely.

7. Contact an Electrician 

If none of the above techniques work, you might need to contact a professional to check out your ceiling fan.

A qualified electrician should be able to spot the problem and fix it, or tell you when it’s time to invest in a new one. 

The Takeaway

Learning how to fix a ceiling fan making clicking noise is often easy, and you can do it with DIY methods.

Often, it’s nothing more than a matter of cleaning up, oiling or balancing the blades. 

Regular dusting and oiling of your ceiling fan keeps the motor running cooler and prevents dirt from clogging it.

Remember, the better you maintain your fan, the longer you’ll keep noises away.

The most important thing is that you always pay attention to safety.

Unplug the fan and cut off the electricity when you’re working, and make sure to never work with electric appliances with wet hands.

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Welcome to Soundproof Panda,

I'm Dan, I live very close to an internationally famous stadium which generates an awful lot of noise that I'd rather block out.

This is my place to document what I've learnt on my soundproofing journey.