Bathroom Fan Vibration Noise: 6 Fixes

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: May 4, 2022
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All fans, whether they’re in your bedroom or bathroom, are going to create a bit of noise. But, they should never reach the point that you can hear a bathroom fan vibration noise or any other form of noise like rattling or knocking.

Luckily, if you’re hearing a bathroom fan vibration noise, it’s likely to be an easy fix. This article will provide you with 6 simple steps to follow for you to be able to fix your bathroom fan vibration noise.

Table of Contents

Why Is My Bathroom Fan Making Noise?

The first question that will come to mind when you discover your bathroom fan vibration noise is why is this happening? What’s at fault that is causing the fan to make this noise? Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to know how to diagnose them, so that you can apply the appropriate solution.

The most common reasons your bathroom fan is making noise are any of the following:

  • Loose or damaged fan blades
  • Worn-out motor
  • Size of ductwork
  • Duct connection
  • Bad mounting or poor insulation
  • Friction
  • Debris and dirt buildup

6 Main Fixes for Bathroom Fan Vibration Noise

You will be able to fix your noisy bathroom fan by following the tips in this section of the article. If you’re struggling to diagnose the problem with your bathroom fan, I recommend working your way through this list in the order they are presented.

To repair your noisy bathroom fan vibration noise, you may need to:

  1. Clean and lubricate the fan’s motor
  2. Clean and realign the fan’s blades
  3. Insulate the motor with Sorbothane rubber
  4. Tighten loose mounting components
  5. Install a duct adaptor
  6. Replace the existing bathroom fan

Let’s take a look at each of these methods in more detail!

Cleaning and Lubricating the Fan’s Motor

As bathroom fans are used, their motors will age and the lubrication that keeps them in optimum condition may wear off. When your motor isn’t lubricated sufficiently, you may start to hear a bathroom fan vibration noise, squeaking, or even rumbling noise. Therefore, maintaining your motor is absolutely crucial if you intend for the bathroom fan to remain quiet.

All you will need is a rag, a small brush or microfibre cloth, and some lubricant. You can then follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the fan and remove the fan’s grill cover to remove it.
  2. Use a damp cloth to clean off the dust, mildew, and other debris from the grill, fan blades, motor, and other internal components.
  3. Use the brush or microfibre cloth to clean the fine details of the motor, fan blades, and casing.
  4. Apply lubricant to the metal components and joints (fan blades and motor)
  5. Replace the grill cover and turn on your fan to check if it has improved.

In regard to the type of lubricant suitable for the metal components and joints, I recommend something like this WD-40 lubricant spray readily available on Amazon:

If the sound hasn’t improved, it may be likely that the issue is something else. It could be that your motor is ten years old and simply won’t operate as smoothly as it once did.

Tightening Loose Mounting Components

Your bathroom fan vibration noise could be due to loose mounting components. The brackets and clips that secure your fan blades, motor, and other fan components are liable to become loose, and when they do they will vibrate.

Before proceeding to tighten the mounting components, first, check if they’re loose by removing the outer cover and shaking the fan. If you find that there is some jiggling or freedom of movement, then you know you will need to grab your screwdriver and tighten the screws around the motor, fan blades, and anywhere else you see a screw.

You can then replace the grill cover and turn on your fan to check if it has improved. If it doesn’t, the next check is misaligned fan blades.

Cleaning and Realigning the Fan’s Blades

Fan blades naturally accumulate dust, and other debris over time that will cause them to become misaligned. When this happens, the misalignment can cause the bathroom fan vibration noise, sometimes grinding, or even knocking.

The procedure to clean and realign the fan’s blades is simple. All you need is a rag, some white vinegar, or warm water, and to follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the fan and remove the fan’s grill cover to remove it.
  2. Use the rag and some white wine vinegar or warm water to clean the grill cover.
  3. Gently scrub the fan blades and inner panel with the damp rag.
  4. Wipe the axel that connects the fan to the motor as you manually spin the blades.
  5. Inspect the blades for any damage in case they need to be replaced. If the fans are misaligned (crooked or bent), gently push them back into place.
  6. Replace the grill cover and turn on your fan to check if it has improved.

It’s possible to use a toothbrush to scrub the fan blades if you have one to spare.

Insulating the Motor with Sorbothane Rubber

Sorbothane rubber is a fantastic material for absorbing the vibrations and noise that is created by a bathroom fan. This Sorbothane rubber will provide your motor with a bumper that absorbs shock, keeping the fan’s natural vibration from clanging against other noisy materials.

This material is one of the best soundproofing materials available in the market, allowing you to not only make your bathroom fan quiet but it can be used for almost any soundproofing application. Here’s an example of a Sorbothane sheet readily available on Amazon:

After acquiring your Sorbothane rubber, you can use it to absorb the fan’s motor vibrations by following these steps:

  1. Turn off the fan and remove the fan’s grill cover to remove it.
  2. Use a damp rag to ensure the adhesive will stick by wiping the fan down.
  3. Cut the Sorbothane rubber into small strips (say 1″ x 1″).
  4. Stick the strips to the vent around the motor, being careful to not block the blade’s paths. Manually rotate the blades to check if there is any disruption.
  5. Replace the grill cover and turn on your fan to check if it has improved.

Installing a Duct Adapter

It’s possible that the bathroom fan vibration noise is coming from the fan’s air ducts being too narrow. This may also result in whooshing, banging, or buzzing noises.

To be able to enlarge your air duct to fix this issue, you will need to purchase a duct adapter. They are easy to install and will allow you to increase the size of your duct, making your fan significantly quieter.

Here’s an example of a suitable duct adapter readily available on Amazon:

Of course, duct adapters are available in a whole variety of shapes and sizes. Once you have acquired the duct adapter that satisfies your requirements, you can follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your fan.
  2. Go to your attic or wherever you can access your bathroom ceiling’s ductwork and unplug the duct tubing from your exhaust fan.
  3. Plug the smaller end of the adapter into your fan’s duct outlet and then plug the duct tubing onto the larger end of the adapter.

This method is only possible if you can access your bathroom fan’s ductwork. If you can, you should use duct tape to seal the tubing for optimum results.

Replacing the Existing Bathroom Fan

If none of the above methods work out for you, I’m afraid it’s time to replace your bathroom fan. Modern bathroom fans are built to be ultra-quiet and exchange the air in your bathroom very quickly. A replacement may be exactly what you need.

Here’s an example of an excellent bathroom fan readily available on Amazon, a best seller in its category:

After selecting the right bathroom fan for you, you can follow these steps to install it:

  1. Disconnect the power to your existing fan to avoid any accidental electric shock.
  2. Remove the screws that mount your fan to the joists. These will hopefully be underneath, but they may be up above the ceiling, in which case you’ll need to get access from the attic.
  3. After removing the old fan, check your new fan for sizing as you may need to enlarge your existing hole to be able to install your new fan.
  4. Set the fan in place and screw it into the joists according to the instructions provided by your fan manufacturer, in the owner’s manual. Some units will screw in from the bottom. Others will mount above the drywall by attaching to hangers that screw into the joists.
  5. After mounting your fan, you’ll need to hook up the duct by sliding the duct over the outlet on your fan. Secure the duct with duct tape so that no air will escape.
  6. Hook up your electricity by matching the correct wire colors together. If you are uncomfortable with this step, you can call an electrician to help you.
  7. Finally, turn on the power and make sure your fan is operating correctly.

If you’re unable to install the bathroom fan yourself, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Visit our How To Replace A Bathroom Fan guide for more detailed information!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why is my bathroom fan buzzing?

The main reason your bathroom fan is making noises most of the time is because of the vent housing being full of dirt and dust. The dirt and dust accumulate over time and can cause the vent to make loud or vibrating noises. Other common possible reasons could be your mounting being loose or misaligned fan blades.

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