Instructables

how do I level a ceiling fan?

OK, I've played with those @%!%^ weights till I'm dizzzy - how do I level this dumb fan??

solserenade2 years ago
I had an enlightening experience with a very wobbly ceiling fan - had about given up; For *months* I've fiddled with weights (big paper clips, sticky stuff, coins, magnets, lol).

At about my giving-up point (since it is difficult for me to work over my head while standing on a bed), I decided ONE MORE TRY (like Gregg Allman ;-)). Took all blades off (4), washed them, got the goo and tape off, etc.

WELL .. ! HERE'S THE KEY ! This gave me a chance to see the **Angle** of the blade "hangers" (soft metal that screws wooden blade to motor rotor). A couple were angled noticeably "flat" while a couple were highly angled relatively speaking!!

I had hit the fan with a ladder several times over the years (with fan running), the blades have some nicks, but I NEVER THOUGHT to look at THE ANGLE !

Just think "Airplane" or "helicopter". So my theory is, or suggestion anyway, do consider the BLADE ANGLE -- as a couple people have pointed out other ways to get a sense of if the blades are all level (equal distance from the floor - I say floor because my ceiling is angled!). VERY important aerodynamically if you will, as opposed to specifically a weight issue.

Food for thought ..... good luck!
caarntedd3 years ago
The most common cause I have encountered is having the top cowling (the one that covers the electrical terminals) pushed hard up against the ceiling. Leave at least a quarter inch gap. I have installed over 100 fans (industrial and commercial) and have never had to balance one .
Interesting tip. I need to think about that...

One of the two I put in is mounted on the descender arm, the other has the body mounted flush against the ceiling (due to different ceiling heights). The latter is the one which had greater vibration issues. Inadequate sample size...
orksecurity3 years ago
Having installed two last year... This is from memory, so don't take it as gospel.

Start by watching it wobble and trying to figure out which blade is going high. Using masking tape to put a differently-colored mark on the end of each blade may help you figure that out.

If that doesn't help, you'll just have to try each blade in turn.

One of the weights should be a clip-on variety; if not, masking tape can help there too. Start with the weight about halfway out on the suspect blade. If it makes the vibration worse, try a different blade. Keep trying until you find the blade where this makes the greatest improvement -- there may be two, often next to each other.

Then try adjusting the weight inward/outward until the vibration is reduced as much as possible. This may require some compromises for different fan speeds. When you find the best location, replace the clip-on/taped-on weight with a permanent one

If it still vibrates unacceptably, repeat the process with a second weight. That will probably do the job, or do well enough.


Note: A _small_ amount of wobbling at one or more speeds (enough to rattle the pull chains) may be unavoidable, or may simply take more time and effort to eliminate than it's worth right now. Get it installed and "good enough", then come back and fine tune some time later.
Re-design3 years ago
Turn the fan slowly by hand. Does one of the blades come up higher or lower than the other three? If so then it's going to be almost impossilbe to get it ballanced. You have a warped blade. Either get all the blades tracking the same by using spacers or getting new blades. That may be all you need.
frollard3 years ago
The fan will have an obvious wobbble. Work at the slowest possible speed.

It may help to affix a post-it note or coloured piece of tape to a blade to get visual reference.
There are 2 trains of thought:
1) the heavier side will swing further out, because its heavier.
2) the heavier side will swing closer in, because it resists the rotation more.

I believe number 2 to be more likely:
Turn on the fan, and watch for which direction the whole assembly moves as it rotates. Consider an unbalanced blade to be more massive, and more resistive to the rotational moment. The fan will try to rotate about its true centre of gravity, which isn't over the middle axis of rotation. We need to move that centre of gravity over the axle so that it spins more freely. It's counter intuitive, but try putting the weights on the blade of the fan that is swinging OUTWARD the most. Attach them closer to the axle first, and see if you get a minor improvement. Then, if it is the correct blade, start moving them outward until it works.
Depending on what type of ceiling fan it is you may also need to check the blade are all at the same level.
If you have one with a metal fixing for the blade you will almost certainly find that they are not all the same.
I have fitted more than my share of these in the past & have fount the easiest way is to measure from a fixed point on the ceiling.
To do this put a post it on the ceiling above the end of any of the blades, measure from there straight down to the end of the blade this will be blade 1 so put a small piece of post it on this blade to mark it, make a note of he measurement to the ceiling & rotate the fan to the next blade, measure again & repeat for each blade.
I usually take the middle distance as my target, starting from blade 1 gently bend the metal fixing up or down a little spin the blades to level the post & check the height, once you are happy with it move on to each blade in turn, you are aiming to have each blade at the same height to within a couple of millimetres.
It can take a while to do this & be more than a little frustrating but it usually only needs doing once & it is worth it in the long run, we have ceiling fans all round the house & ours all run with no wobble or noise at all.
Hope this helps, good luck with it.
lemonie3 years ago

Are you trying to balance a fan here?

L
caarntedd3 years ago
I've put up a lot of fans. Can you explain the problem a little better? What exactly is the fan doing?