Three Common Ceiling Fan Problems And Their Solutions

You could spend days looking at thousands of different ceiling fan designs and still not see all the different varieties there are on the market.  But when all is said and done, no matter how different they are, a ceiling fan is basically just a motor and a set of blades.  If there’s a problem, that’s where you need to start looking.

The Ceiling Fan Just Doesn’t Work

Check the fuse box or circuit breaker first:  It might seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people forget this one simple step.

Check that the power is going to the fan circuit:  Unscrew the screws to the electrical switch and use a voltage tester to see if power is going to the switch.  Hold the tester to the screw terminals.  If they’re not charged then turn the circuit off and pull the switch out of the box.

Unscrew the wires from the terminals and straighten the ends with a pair of pliers.  Twist the two ends together and cover with a wire nut.  Now, turn the circuit on.  If the fan works then the switch is bad and you’ll need to replace it.  If the fan doesn’t work, then you have a problem with your wiring and you may need to consult an electrician.

The Ceiling Fan Is Humming

Some fans are just better built than others.  A cheaply made motor will have a tendency to start humming and sometimes you can control it by changing the speed.  Obviously, that’s not the best solution but it might help until you have time to really tackle the problem.

There are anti-hum fan controls available at your local home improvement store that are very easy to install.  Check first to make sure your fan is compatible.

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These controls are installed at the switch.  Turn the switch off and remove the faceplate.  Use a voltage tester to make sure there’s no current running through the wires and disconnect them from the switch.  Install the anti-hum fan control as directed on the package, making sure to use the wire nuts for protection, and then replace the faceplate and turn the power back on.

The Ceiling Fan Wobbles

Ceiling fans should be installed into an electric box specifically designed for ceiling fans.  A regular light fixture ceiling box isn’t designed to support the weight of a fan.  Over time, the motion of the fan will start causing structural damage which leads to wobbling and more structural damage.  Eventually, it’s all going to come crashing down.

To check the electric box, unscrew the housing from the ceiling and lower it just enough to see the box.  Look for a label that says it’s rated for ceiling fan use.  If it’s not, you’re going to need to replace that box, and possibly a bracket or brace.  This may be a job for a professional.

If it’s the right type of box, it might be that some of the screws are loose.  Before you replace the housing, hand-tighten all visible screws and then make sure the screws on the housing are tight when you put it back into place

If your ceiling fan is still wobbling it may be a problem with warped blades.  Use a yardstick or tape measure to measure the distance between each blade and the ceiling.  Even a small difference in measurement can cause your fan to wobble.  You can try gently nudging the blade back into position but if that doesn’t help, contact the manufacturer for replacement blades or check you local home improvement store.

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I hope this ceiling fan trouble shooting guide helps. Please feel free to look around the rest of the web site and the blog as we have shared lots more useful information to save you time, stress and money! (I don’t know how you feel but one thing I always love is when  can save some of my hard earned cash!)

15 thoughts on “Three Common Ceiling Fan Problems And Their Solutions

  1. One day for no reason I can think of the both ceiling fans in the car port stopped working. I have checked the breaker, the wiring,the reverse switch . Lights work on both fans but fans don’t. What do you think?

  2. The ceiling fan is blowing down. But, there no air flow. It’ a flush mount fan. one side is pretty close about two inches from the ceiling the other side is about six inches from the ceiling. Is this imbalance causing the problem of airflow through the fan? Should I drop it 3 inches?


  3. I have a ceiling fan that everything works except the light. I bought a light kit and it does the same thing. It is a hunter fan, Has 2 capacitors, pull chain switch (tested and is good) reverse switch. Any idea on problem. Thanks Al

  4. when i turn on my ceiling fan i have to nudge one of the blades to get it going. after I do that it works perfectly. can this be a sign of future trouble.

    thank you for your advice

    • When I turn on my ceiling fan I have to nudge one of the blades to get it going. Then it works perfectly until the next startup.
      Will oiling the shaft solve this or is it a sign of motor failure……..?

  5. I have a ceiling fan and light combination operated with two switches in the same unit: an off/on switch that controls the light and a switch above that with three positions which sets the fan at slow, medium and fast. . The light works well. The fan works only on the middle setting and it turns the fan very slowly. Should I replace the combination unit with both switches or is something else wrong?

  6. I have lived in my house for 4 yrs. the 1st years no problem with our ceiling fan.
    But for the last year when we turn on wall switch both the light or fan would go on.

    I call a electrician and he took the cover off and saw that there electric power was ok. When he tried the switch again both the fan and the light worked.

    Two weeks later the same problem happen again. When he came over he put in a new wall switch. That seem to work but a month later we made the same problem again.

    Should I replace the whole fan? Any suggestion what to check. I,m living in a development and it worked over 3 year, so I don,t think it,s the wiring.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  7. The reverse button on my Hunter celeing fan remote doesn’t seem to have an effect on the fan. My celeing fan is spinning the wrong way. Do you have a fix for this?

  8. My wife and I just moved into our house. When we do our final walk through all of the ceiling fans worked perfectly but the first night we spent in the new house we could not get the fan started for anything. When we turn it on it will hum like it’s trying to work and when we change speeds it will even jolt forward a little bit I think we just need to replace it because I think the motor is bad. Advise?

  9. When I turn on my ceiling fan I have to nudge one of the blades to get it going. Then it works perfectly until the next startup.

    What could be wrong and is it cost effective to have it repaired?

  10. From the last one month I am facing some strange incidents in my house. Once I was sitting in my bedroom watching t.v suddenly my fan started moving slowly. But I ignored it. After few day I was busy in my household chores then what I noticed my drawing room’s fan was moving slowly again. Pls. Help me this out . I don’t know what’s happening with me. Is their any electrical problem or something else.

  11. I installed a new ceiling fan in one of my rooms. The switch does nothing but when I pull on the cords the light works and when I pull on the fan cord works also. Did replaces the switch but same problem.

  12. on october 2nd 2011 i purchased a hunter ceiling fan from lowes last week i went to pull the chain to adjust the speed and it broke it happened last should i replace the fan ? i went on the home depot site i found a hampton bay 52 inch ceiling fan with remote for $99.97 i called hunter fan customer support they told me the model number was on the motor housing or down rod i will never buy another product again should i replace it any advice? thanks

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