Man fixing a ceiling fan

A wobbly overhead fan isn’t just distracting, it can also cause the parts to wear out faster than they should. In extreme cases it can be a warning that the fan is in danger of falling from the ceiling.

Any judder should be fixed promptly but before you tackle it, you should first make sure your fan is mounted correctly to the ceiling.

The fan should feel solid when you pull down on the pipe that supports it. Check under the slide-down cover plate to make sure the mounting is stable.

If the fan is loose, remount it correctly. Once the fan is secure, turn it back on. If there is still a residual wobble, some further investigation is needed.

Follow these steps to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.

Tightening the blades

If your fan has operated smoothly in the past and has gradually developed the shakes, loose screws are likely to be the cause.

Turn off the power supply to the fan. Hold the motor body and gently wiggle the blades to make sure they’re all firmly fastened. If any feel loose, tighten the screws that secure the blades to the blade holder.

If that doesn’t fix it, tighten the screws that fasten the blade holders to the fan’s flywheel. You may have to remove the cover plate or light fixture under the fan to access them.

Once all the screws are tight, reconnect the power supply, turn the fan on and check for balance. If the wobble still persists, it could be a problem with the blade alignment.

Aligning the blades

Blade holders are usually made from soft metal that can easily bend if you carry something tall through the room and accidentally bump the fan. To check the alignment, measure the distance from the ceiling to each blade.

Hold your tape measure in one spot and slowly rotate the blades manually, measuring each blade in exactly the same position.

If you find a blade that’s more than 5mm higher or lower than the others, gently bend the blade holder up or down until it is set in the correct position. If it’s still wobbling, try balancing the blades.

Aligning the blades of a ceiling fan

To check the alignment of a fan, measure from the ceiling to each blade.

Balancing the blades

Checking the blades requires 20c coins, Blu Tack, a tube of superglue and a little patience. This trial-and-error process can take some time.

Turn on the fan and find the speed that creates the worst judder.

Stop the fan and use Blu Tack to stick a coin on the top of the lower edge of a blade. Turn the fan on to see if the wobble is better or worse.

Repeat with each blade until you find the culprit, then move the coin in and out until you find the spot that best improves stability.

Squeeze a dab of superglue onto the coin and stick it on the spot on top of the blade. Add more coins if needed.