Ceiling fan making noise? Here are the types of noises you’ll hear and their causes

Ceiling fan making noise? Here are the types of noises you’ll hear and their causes

A properly mounted ceiling fan can provide quiet and economical comfort year-round. While a ceiling fan could operate on its own, it can also be a valuable addition to keep a room cooler while saving on your home energy bills. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), running a ceiling fan in conjunction with your home’s AC makes it possible to raise your thermostat four degrees without feeling a difference in room temperature. 

In the right conditions, you may not even notice a fan is running. However, a ceiling fan making noise is a red flag. Noises from the fan can be a major nuisance and get worse over time. 

A noisy ceiling fan may be caused by something as simple as a loose fan blade screw or may be more complicated, requiring help from an electrician or technician. This guide will help you figure out how to stop ceiling fan from making noise so it can operate as efficiently (and quietly) as possible.   


There are several types of ceiling fan noises. Fortunately, most issues can be corrected without having to replace the ceiling fan. Some of the most common noises include:

Ceiling fan making clicking noise

A ceiling fan clicking may be due to one or more of the fan blades being loose. This is typically an easy fix. All you need to do is tighten the screws on the blade, which are often located close to the fan motor. In addition, check the light fixture’s screws and ensure they’re also properly attached. Sometimes, a loose ceiling fan light can cause the clicking sound.

Rattling noise

A rattling ceiling fan can be caused by something loose, such as a screw that has fallen into the wrong place. Check the inside of the light fixture for a loose screw that may have come off and fallen into the glass globe. A rattling noise may also be caused by a loose or improperly installed bracket. It may be necessary to change your ceiling fan brace if this is the case.

Ceiling fan humming

A humming ceiling fan is typically due to frequency or electric issues associated with a ceiling fan remote or the light switch. This happens most often when a ceiling fan is being operated on a dimmer switch. Hire an electrician or HVAC specialist to change the fan to traditional breeze settings.

Ceiling fan making grinding noise

A scraping or grinding noise can sound alarming but may also be a simple fix, depending on the cause. A ceiling fan making grinding noise may be caused by unbalanced blades that cause the fan to wobble. 

Ceiling fan blades can become unbalanced by dust collecting on the blades when the fan isn’t in use. Clean the blades by wiping them down with a damp rag to remove any dust and debris causing them to be unbalanced. Cleaning the blades periodically reduces the chances of your ceiling fan making noise and the amount of dust dispersed into the air.

If cleaning the fan blades did not eliminate the grinding noise, the solution may be more involved. The fan’s motor and/or bearings may need oil. However, WD-40 isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Consulting your user manual is essential to determine what type of lubricant is compatible and the best location to oil the bearings. 

Not all fans require oiling. Some modern fans may have sealed housing that does not allow you to oil the bearings or motorized parts, requiring a technician or electrician to lubricate the dry bearings. Depending on the level of noise, it may be less expensive to replace the fan with a new one. 

How to oil a ceiling fan

If you have the type of fan that needs to be lubricated, look for the oil fill opening, normally located near the downrod. You may be able to insert a small pipe cleaner roughly 1/2” in and remove it to see the fan’s oil level. If the pipe cleaner comes out clean or barely has any oil on it, your fan’s oil is low. 

Use an oil or lubricant approved by the manufacturer to replenish and protect the fan’s motorized parts. You’ll typically need to add as little as a few drops or up to one or two ounces of oil. Once you add the lubricant, clean off any spills and let the oil settle for a few minutes. Run the fan and listen for noises. Hopefully, you’ve solved the grinding sound yourself.

How to stop ceiling fan from making noise

Preventing a noisy ceiling fan is possible with periodic maintenance. Some steps you can take to ensure your fan runs smoothly include:

  • Checking the oil level and adding more (on select fans) 
  • Cleaning the dust off the top and bottom of the blades
  • Making sure all screws are properly tightened
  • Checking to see if the fan wobbles
  • Cleaning the light fixture 
  • Checking and replacing the batteries in the fan remote

A good time of year to perform fan maintenance is right before the warmer spring and summer months begin, when the fan is most likely to get the heaviest use. A regular maintenance routine doesn’t take long and will keep noises at bay so you can enjoy a comfortable room quietly.

Quiet ceiling fan options

At some point, a fan may be too old or worn to run as quietly as you would like. If you perform the maintenance and repair tips provided and still don’t like the sound your fan outputs, you may need to shop around for a different fan. In general, new ceiling fans are likely to be quieter than ones from 10 years ago. 

The need for a quiet ceiling fan is enhanced in spaces like a bedroom, baby nursery, or study. Some manufacturers have placed special emphasis on making ceiling fans that don’t make as much noise as a standard fan. If you’re in search of the quietest fan possible, consider the following three models:

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1. Kathy Ireland HOME Luray Eco 60” Ceiling Fan with Light | $649.99

For rooms that need a ceiling fan with a light, the Luray may be a good, quiet choice. The LED light itself is integrated into the body to reduce the chances of noises caused by a hanging light mechanism. The fan is ENERGY STAR certified and built with an EcoMotor designed to produce less noise while using less energy than an average ceiling fan motor. 

One of the main culprits of a noisy ceiling fan is the speed. The faster the fan runs to achieve a higher wind effect, the more noise it’s likely to make. The Luray Eco has a large 60” diameter and angled blades to create a strong breeze with less mechanical effort. 

2. Minka-Aire Simple 52” Ceiling Fan | $369.99

The Minka-Aire Simple model is advertised for outdoor use, although the design can work well in either indoor or outdoor environments. The damp-rated construction can be mounted nearly anywhere — in a home gym, outdoor area, or room of your choice. 

The understated, three-blade design comes balanced and ready to mount. It can work with nearly any decor style. In addition, the fan is operated by an extremely quiet DC motor, ensuring you’ll forget the fan is running.

3. Monte Carlo Turbine Ultra-Modern 56″ Ceiling Fan | $713.99

If you need maximum air flow for a minimal amount of noise, Monte Carlo’s turbine fan may be the most unique and quiet solution. It comes fitted with a quiet, energy-efficient motor and eight angled fan blades that are perfectly balanced to avoid squeaking, wobbling noises. The number of blades creates a significant breeze, even in the lowest settings. 

Besides the fan’s efficiency and quiet operation, the LED light may be the most unique of the ceiling fans available in the market. It can shine down in the room to provide task lighting, but also has an uplight feature that creates the right, ambient mood.

Perform seasonal upkeep on your ceiling fan to prevent the components from coming loose or aging too quickly. By keeping the screws tightened, the blades clean, and hiring a technician to replace a ceiling fan when it’s time, you’ll enjoy the fan for years to come.

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